At Homeland Security, the systems add up

The Homeland Security Department so far has identified 2,500 mission-critical systems as part of an IT inventory it expects to complete by June, CIO Steve Cooper said today.

Cooper described the complexities of the job the department faces in sorting out its enterprise architecture and settling on the systems interfaces it will need to establish. He spoke at the Secure E-Biz conference sponsored by the Interoperability Clearing House of Alexandria, Va.,

So far, the department's systems inventory is 40 percent complete, Cooper said.

He added that his staff has counted 50,000 items in its IT infrastructure, which comprises the assets of 22 agencies. 'An 'item' is bigger than a breadbox, and it costs money,' Cooper quipped.

He said the department's IT team is struggling with two parallel initiatives: bringing an operational capability up to speed and working on a long-range architecture.

'We accept that some [systems] will have to be re-architected or replaced' once the enterprise architecture is final, Cooper said. The department's not creating a perfect architecture, he said, merely one good enough to guide decisions on systems to support its agencies' missions.

To ensure development of creative security ideas, Cooper added, separate staffs are working on security for the department's network infrastructure and applications.

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