DHS, DOD focusing on information sharing

Agencies are focusing this year and next year on ways to extract and share data through modernizing and consolidating infrastructure, as well as making better use of the information that is collected through business processes.

The Homeland Security Department must still link its agencies into a common infrastructure, including consolidating its data centers and wide area networks, according to DHS CIO Scott Charbo. Consolidating multiple WANs will make data sharing more effective, he added.

"Right now, there are a lot of manual firewalls. The people [who] manage those firewalls have to check with their policy areas. It makes it difficult and it takes a lot of time," said Charbo today at an industry event about the budget sponsored by the Bethesda chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association in North Bethesda, Md.

DHS recently implemented a core network and security operations center, which is managed for the department by its Customs and Border Protection agency. Over the next year, DHS will migrate WANs to the center, with a large portion of that completed by the end of this fiscal year, Charbo said.

"Now we can start putting in better policies, authentication and procedures for the information-sharing that we need to have," he said.

He also wants more data collected from the portfolio management process, such as evaluating how investments align to business cases and to security under the Federal Information Security Management Act, to help agencies make better business decisions.

Information-sharing is the goal of network-centric operations at the Defense Department as well. The steps to do that are common across government?making data visible, usable, accessible and secure, said Margaret Myers, principal director of the DOD's deputy CIO's office.

"If we can solve the data problems and data assurance problems, we will have perhaps [gone] a long way toward the foundation," she said.

DOD also is organizing data around communities of interest and working out common data schemas. For example, DOD and the Veterans Affairs Department are sharing some categories of health data through their Bi-Directional Health Information Exchange.

Enterprise architecture also supports information-sharing by reducing stovepiped applications and integrating data, Myers said.

Mary Mosquera is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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