IG report: DHS continues to face major management challenges

IG report: DHS continues to face major management challenges

The Homeland Security Department continues to struggle in coordinating all of its agencies into a cohesive organization. It still does not have enough staff to manage its $6.8 billion in procurements from 2003. And the CIO does not have the authority to strategically manage departmentwide technology assets and programs.

Those are just a few of the conclusions reached by DHS inspector general Clark Kent Ervin in the department's annual performance and accountability report, released publicly on Dec. 8.

'Despite federal laws and requirements, the CIO is not a member of the senior management team,' the report stated. 'No formal reporting relationship is in place between the DHS CIO and the CIOs of major component organizations, which hinders departmentwide support for his central IT direction.'

Similarly, DHS has not yet brought its component agencies' information security policies in line with the department's overall policies, procedures and practices. Wireless networks represent one risk area, the report concluded; the threat of cyberterrorism is another. 'While a number of major initiatives have been undertaken, DHS still faces many challenges to address long-term cyber threats and vulnerabilities to the nation's critical infrastructure,' the IG wrote in the report.

In 1999, Congress passed legislation requiring the integration of the two separate fingerprint databases developed and maintained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the FBI. This report found that unresolved issues between DHS and the Justice Department, among others, have prevented the completion of the project.

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