Homeland Security auditors to probe IT projects

The inspector general of the Homeland Security Department will review several large DHS systems projects this year.

The U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Tracking system for building an entry exit system is the most prominent program set for review. The IG's auditors will check whether the U.S. Visit program management office is meeting milestones, controlling costs, and minimizing the risk of waste, fraud and abuse, according to the performance plan.

The auditors also will review the Transportation Security Administration's oversight of its IT outsourcing contract with Unisys Corp.

The IG's IT office also plans to study:

  • Logical and physical controls over data, programs and financial systems equipment

  • Effectiveness of intergovernmental communication about critical infrastructure failures, in light of the August 2003 Northeast power blackout

  • DHS wireless security policies and practices

  • Effectiveness of the CIO's governance structure, including reporting of relationships

  • Evaluation of the department's enterprise architecture project and whether DHS agencies have aligned their plans

  • Risk assessment of DHS mainframe computer operations

  • Effectiveness of the department's control over classified data and systems made available to contractors

  • Timeliness of LAN updates, service packs and hot fixes

  • Effectiveness of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate's use of IT to respond to threats, a study requested by Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas)

  • Updates to the department's database management systems

  • Progress in consolidating the government's terrorist watch lists

  • Programs to secure cyberspace

  • Effectiveness of DHS plans to consolidate its telecommunications

  • Whether DHS' intelligence systems are secure.

In addition, the IG's Inspection, Evaluation and Special Review Office will study the Homeland Security Operation Center, an intensively computerized site for collection and analysis of threat information.

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