DHS studies options for enterprise financials

The Homeland Security Department will decide in the next few months whether it will use existing legacy systems to establish an enterprisewide financial management system, a DHS procurement official said Thursday.

'We've paused and are looking at internal systems'legacy systems'that could be used, and in the next couple of months, a decision will be made about what to do,' said Elaine Duke, DHS' chief procurement officer. She spoke at Federal Sources Inc.'s 21st Annual Federal Outlook Conference in McLean, Va.

The initiative would replace the department's Electronically Managing Enterprise Resources for Government Efficiency and Effectiveness program, known as eMerge2. DHS canceled eMerge2 last December after deeming it too risky and unfeasible.

DHS originally awarded a blanket purchase agreement worth up to $229 million to BearingPoint Inc. in September 2004 to acquire and implement the eMerge2 system that would combine all its disparate financial systems into one departmentwide financial management system. By the time it stopped the project, DHS had spent $18.3 million, including $9.4 million for eMerge2's initial phase and $8.9 million under a task order that originally was worth $20 million.

On March 29, a joint hearing of subcommittees from the House Government Reform and Homeland Security Committees examined possible reasons that eMerge2 failed and discussed the steps DHS would take to consolidate its financial systems.

DHS has about $48.4 million available for the program this fiscal year. DHS officials have asked for another $18 million in the fiscal 2007 budget to use for their substitute plan, if it receives internal approval.

Roseanne Gerin is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication, Washington Technology.

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