New contracts inject buzz into DHS infrastructure

Scott Charbo, Homeland Security Department chief information officer

The Homeland Security Department is shaking up its IT infrastructure with a sweeping new program.

Known as the Infrastructure Transformation Program, it wields the acquisition muscle of DHS' two new omnibus procurements: the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge (Eagle) solutions and FirstSource.

DHS is consolidating and centralizing control of its data centers, e-mail systems and help-desk services, and sensitive but unclassified video communication networks under three directorates.

Scott Charbo, department chief information officer, described the infrastructure program to hundreds of vendors gathered at the Ronald Reagan Center in downtown Washington Aug. 9.

DHS will use Eagle for agencywide IT support services and FirstSource for acquiring IT commodities. The department re-leased a draft request for proposals for Eagle and First-Source earlier this month and plans to issue the final RFP in September.

Charbo cited five goals for the infrastructure makeover program:

  • Improve performance in terms of IT projects

  • Energize information sharing

  • Focus on information assurance and security

  • Focus on projects on the ground rather than on planning projects

  • Move forward with shared services and infrastructure.

Charbo said that he and Rear Adm. Ron Hewitt, deputy CIO, had been briefing Office of Management and Budget and legislative leaders over the past six weeks about the infrastructure reform program. Hewitt, the Coast Guard CIO on detail as DHS deputy CIO, is returning to the Coast Guard, Charbo said.

The Infrastructure Transformation Program calls for the department to consolidate its sensitive but unclassified networks, Charbo said. It also will complete construction of a common e-mail system for the department and consolidate DHS' several data centers at two sites.

Right now, about six e-mail systems support the common e-mail address www.dhs. gov. Officials would not confirm the precise number of data centers the department uses.

The infrastructure program follows successive projects aimed at bringing order to the department's IT infrastructure. This planning has been reflected in the enterprise architecture development process over the past two years.

DHS is building a major data center to consolidate some of its data functions and to move away from its reliance on Justice Department data center services, according to DHS and Justice officials.

Chief Procurement Officer Greg Rothwell said the Eagle and FirstSource procurements will operate via a new Enterprise Solutions Office in the Information Technology Acquisition Center at the headquarters procurement shop.

Rothwell said the department plans to move ahead quickly on its pending procurement plans. "We are assuming these two [procurement] programs will be done in nine months on the outside," Rothwell said.

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