DHS, Justice plan to integrate case management systems

While the Homeland Security Department works to coordinate its IT assets, it is taking steps to make its case management systems interoperable with those at other agencies.

DHS has more than 40 case management systems, and the Justice Department more than 70.
Justice and DHS are forging plans to bring order to federal case management under one of the Office of Management and Budget's Lines of Business projects.

The Federal Investigative Case Management System project is a 15-year effort under the interagency Consolidated Enforcement Environment project, said Steven W. Cooper, the project manager in DHS' Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

'We are trying to come up with an architecture and design concept for all of the federal government,' Cooper said recently. 'Are we going to [immediately] get to one system? The answer is no. Are our early efforts targeted to get down to about six systems? Yes.'

The project's initial aim is to share information across case management systems, then to modernize the systems and finally to consolidate them.

Cooper said consolidating case management systems across the government would require cultural change.

'No enforcement agency is going to let you touch their data right away,' Cooper said. 'You have to establish your project's value. Then they will allow you to touch their data. Subsequently they will allow you to change their data. It will be a transition process to establish that trust and comfort.'

Justice has the lead on data standardization and taxonomy for the effort, Cooper said. Over time, other consolidation projects will mature in fields such as attorney support, intelligence processing and lead management, he said.

'We are looking at an integrated solution platform to give the government the best value,' Cooper said. 'The government historically has not been the best driver in pulling the pieces together.'

Justice operates case management systems for three purposes: investigations, litigation and administration.

The department is developing a target architecture for an investigative case management system, Justice CIO Vance Hitch said at a meeting last week sponsored by Input of Reston, Va.
Justice plans to develop its litigation requirements early next year and issue a request for proposals next summer, he said.

'Right now, not only do the case management systems not talk to one another, but the different agencies even define a case differently,' Hitch said.

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