The Department of Homeland Security still has significant work to be done before a single infrastructure for effective communication and information sharing is functional, said the latest DHS Inspector General (IG) report, released on Wednesday.
The report states that DHS CIO Scott Charbo is not well positioned for information technology integration within the department, resulting in a lack of critical components for interoperable communications.
“Despite federal laws and requirement, the CIO is not a member of the senior management team with authority to strategically manage department-wide technology assets and programs,” Richard Skinner, DHS’s IG, said in the report.
Though DHS has started to formalize reporting relationships between the CIOs of the major organization and the department, “the CIO still does not have sufficient staff resources to assist in carrying out the planning, policy formulation and other IT management activities need to support departmental units,” Skinner said.
DHS did not agree, and in a written response to the report officials noted that the CIO feels he is properly positioned with the appropriate authority. The response stated that Charbo’s office continues to manage IT integration, and the Infrastructure Transformation Office is managing reorganization of some 20 individual IT infrastructures. Officials also said that many daunting tasks remain, such as the development of an integrated enterprise network to cut down on IT infrastructure redundancy.
“The security of IT infrastructure is a major management challenge,” Skinner said in the report. “As required by the Federal Information Security Management Act, the CIO must develop and implement a department-wide information security program that ensures the effectiveness of security controls over information resources, including its intelligence systems, which address the risks and vulnerabilities facing DHS’s IT systems.”