Jadacki: DHS needs uniform approach to acquisition

Although information technology-savvy acquisition personnel at the Homeland Security Department have developed customized applications to help them perform their jobs, their efforts have created uneven, disjointed levels of service, according to a deputy inspector general at the department.

This situation has forced each DHS head of contracting activity to develop an IT standard that applies at each respective organization, Matt Jadacki, deputy inspector general, told the House Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness and Response. "This allows for discretion, which can be an empowering force yet, at times, can be contrary to overall departmentwide mission and goals," he said.

The problems also affect acquisition at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which suffers from "outdated and non-existent" IT tools and lacks an overall IT strategy, Jadacki said.

"FEMA does not have an IT strategy that addresses the needs of the agency ? particularly with regard to workflow routing, financial management and document management," he said.

Faced with numerous challenges, FEMA has accomplished mostly short-term goals, such as planning for hurricane seasons, Jadacki said. In the IT arena, while FEMA has made some progress in increasing capacity and access and strengthening registration data in the National Emergency Management Information System, there is no long-term strategic direction for IT investments.

"FEMA has focused its efforts on short term fixes, e.g., preparing for hurricane season, and has made little progress in addressing long-term needs, such as updating strategic plans, defining cross-cutting requirements and evaluating systems alternatives," Jadacki said.

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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