Sidebar | DHS hoping the past is not prologue

While pursuing successful projects, the Homeland Security Department is aware of the risks, as its history is littered with projects that have failed or struggled mightily. Among them:


AMERICA'S SHIELD INITIATIVE

PURPOSE: The Border Patrol's plan to field technology along the borders echoed earlier projects that sank amid charges of sloppy technology and improper
contracting.

COST: ASI was estimated at $2.5 billion or more.

RED FLAG: DHS review teams rejected the ASI technology plan.

CRASH: Secretary Michael Chertoff cancelled ASI last summer.

PICKING UP THE PIECES: Chertoff framed a larger plan known as the Secure Border Initiative.net, now out for bid.


EMERGE2

PURPOSE: The Department sought to consolidate its hodgepodge of financial systems in a single enterprise resource planning project.

COST: DHS chose BearingPoint of McLean, Va., to integrate the ERP software at a planned cost of $229 million. DHS later said it had spent $18.3 million on Emerge2.

RED FLAG: Officials noted that Emerge2 was missing deadlines in early 2005.

CRASH: DHS finally abandoned the Emerge2 plan last December.

PICKING UP THE PIECES: DHS opted to farm out its ERP work to several internal and external sharedservices centers.


NATIONAL DISTRESS AND RESPONSE SYSTEM

(THE COAST GUARD'S RESCUE 21, ALSO REFERRED
TO AS MARITIME 911)

PURPOSE: Upgraded radio system for coastal areas

COST: The guard hired General Dynamics Decision Systems to build the planned $611 million system in September 2002.

RED FLAG: By mid-2004, Rescue 21 was months behind schedule.

CRASH: The GAO said program delays stemmed largely from software integration foul-ups.

PICKING UP THE PIECES: The guard commissioned the Rescue 21 system in December 2005, more than two years after its original September 2003 launch target. GAO forecast costs of $600 million through 2007.


TRANSPORTATION WORKER ID CREDENTIAL

PURPOSE: The TWIC program aims to conduct background checks on 850,000 transportation workers and issue biometric credentials.

TECHNOLOGY, CONTRACTOR AND COST: TWIC is pegged at $1.2 billion, to be paid by user fees. DHS issued a initial contract to a BearingPoint team in
August 2004. Costs ballooned from $12 million to $24.5 million by May 2005.

RED FLAG: TWIC managers struggled with delays and cost overruns.

CRASH: Rapid turnover in the TWIC program leadership delayed the project.

PICKING UP THE PIECES: DHS has put TWIC on a fast track, recently issuing draft regulations and launching a procurement.

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