Report: DHS reorganization might mean bucks for integrators

IT integration is one of the major underpinnings of the Homeland Security Department reorganization plan recently announced by Secretary Michael Chertoff, according to a new report from Civitas Group LLC., a strategic advisory and investment services firm.

The trend will benefit systems integrators, who are likely to be implementing more standardized and larger systems throughout the department under Chertoff's leadership, according to the report, titled "Homeland Security's Second Stage Review: Key Implications for the Private Sector."

"The fundamental theme underlying the restructuring of the department is integration of policy and operations across the spectrum of DHS' mission," the Civitas report said. "The practical result will likely be an increasing interoperability between related programs."

For example, Chertoff's proposed creation of a new director of operations position will lead to a "centralization of control" that will result in larger, more standardized IT contracts that affect more branches of the department, the report said.

"The reduced factionalism among [DHS] agencies will likely result in future contracts that have more of a 'winner-take-all' character to them," the report said.

The department's Science & Technology Directorate will have heavy influence, which will help DHS adopt common fundamental technologies more broadly. "While vendors will benefit from having to influence fewer stakeholders, the stakes will be higher to become the winning technology platform," the report said.

Specific areas in which Civitas forecasts greater IT integration opportunities include explosives detection and baggage screening systems, as well as remote video surveillance equipment.

While Chertoff did not specifically focus on explosives detection devices in his review, which he announced July 13, the department's new management structure is likely to create opportunities for systems integrators in this area, the report said.

"The potentially improved structure of the department divisions which will procure and employ explosive detection systems and (baggage) screening technologies should bode well for large integrators that implement the systems, as well as smaller technology firms that develop and subcontract related technologies," the report said.

Video surveillance should get a boost from being part of a proposed new Preparedness Directorate, Civitas said. "This centralization into one division will likely accelerate a battle for sophisticated sensor platforms, related 'intelligent video' systems and their IT infrastructure," the report said.

There also are substantial opportunities for integration and standardization in "border security, identification and credentialing," particularly for biometric technologies, the report said.

Overall, the proposed changes from Chertoff's Second Stage Review are "generally positive for the private sector," the report concluded.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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