Skinner: DHS disaster recovery ability lacking

The Homeland Security Department's ability to adequately recover its information systems in the wake of a disaster is a "major concern," the department's inspector general said yesterday.

Richard Skinner said DHS' information technology infrastructure has disparate legacy networks, systems and data centers and some elements of the department's IT backbone could not be relocated in the wake of a disaster.

He told a subcommittee of the House Appropriations' Committee that a disruption to these IT systems could negatively affect passenger screening, grants processing and controlling the flow of goods. Overall, consolidating the department's multiple systems into one IT infrastructure remains a major challenge, Skinner added.

The department also faces challenges with information sharing, securing its information systems and managing various IT components, Skinner said.

He also told lawmakers they should focus their oversight this year on:
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency preparedness.
  • Taking a close look at the Secure Border Initiative along with the various DHS components involved in it.
  • The Coast Guard's Deepwater program.

The backlog of applications at the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Ben Bain writes for Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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