DHS systems come under fire

The Department of Homeland Security has come under fire for its lack of a strategic blueprint in managing its IT systems.

In a new report from the General Accounting Office, which audits government spending, the DHS is strongly criticized for failing to plan its systems strategy, a failure that could jeopardize its ability to manage information vital for national security.

The report says much of the blame lies in a failure to integrate systems after the merger of different departments to create the DHS in the wake of 9/11. It describes systems as ""largely the products of combining the existing architectures of several of the department's predecessor agencies, along with their respective portfolios of system investment projects".

Ironically, the report cites a lack of security rules and business processes as particular weaknesses. The department's IT plans fail to cover important areas such as business processes and security rules, says the report.

"It is missing, either in part or in total, all of the key elements expected to be found in a well-defined architecture, such as descriptions of business processes, information flows among these processes, and security rules associated with these information flows, to name just a few," it says.


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