DHS set for failing FISMA grade again

DHS set for failing FISMA grade again

The Homeland Security Department likely will earn its third "F" in a row this fiscal year for compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act, outgoing CIO Steven I. Cooper said today.

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Integration and Oversight, Cooper predicted that in 2006, DHS' FISMA grade would finally improve to a B.

"We might sneak in at a D- [this year]," Cooper said. "We are moving up in every category."

He ascribed DHS' low performance this year to two factors. First, the department is not likely to complete its systems inventory until early next year. Second, DHS officials cannot justify the cost of applying required configuration management methods to systems they plan to shut down.

"We have taken a risk-based approach" to certifying and accrediting systems, Cooper said. For example, DHS officials have moved quickly to secure systems that relay threat information to outside agencies. He cited the Homeland Security Information Network as one such secured system.

Subcommittee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said, "The department needs to do much more to improve its grade from an F."

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