Homeland department sets an enterprise architecture timetable

Steve Cooper

Henrik G. DeGyor

The Homeland Security Department must build a systems infrastructure from the network backbones as well as bits and pieces of IT in use at its 22 component agencies.

Before the department opened officially in January, a team of IT advisers working for the White House's homeland security transition office developed an interim enterprise architecture. That plan has been in use since late January.

Now the department has begun work on an official enterprise architecture. CIO Steve Cooper said the first version of the systems plan will be ready in September.

The initial blueprint 'allowed us to move ahead with a more comprehensive plan and to identify standards that the department could use to develop a formal comprehensive plan,' Homeland Security spokeswoman Rachel Sunbarger said.

But rather than have just one deadline, Cooper recently issued a schedule for the department's directorates to create enterprise architectures for their operations, which will then be pieced together to form the departmentwide blueprint.

By June, Cooper wants the directorate teams to document the current state of IT in the department's agencies. This task is about half done, he said.

By August, the teams must describe Homeland Security's desired enterprise architecture. This milestone will be the most difficult, Cooper said, because 'it doesn't exist and depends on people to create what they want to see. By September, we want the first release of a road map.'

Cooper cautioned that the first version of the enterprise architecture might be only 80 percent complete. 'If we have a map by September, we'll be able to say, 'Here is the road map. Where are the gaps?' '

Cooper and other department managers also are working to consolidate overlapping enterprise licenses. So far, the IT chiefs have identified about 45 licenses that will form the foundation of the department's systems structure, sources said.

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