HSIN utilization dropping as update misses deadline, says DHS OIG


The Homeland Security Department's efforts to upgrade its Homeland Security Information Network, a secure unclassified portal for information sharing across homeland security partners nationwide, is behind schedule and participation is suffering as a result, finds the DHS Office of Inspector General.

The department launched the project, called HSIN Release 3 in October 2011, after analysis by the DHS office of chief information officer recommended the department abandon its HSIN NextGen approach in favor of an entirely new platform based on Microsoft SharePoint with additional security measures.

The transition to HSIN Release 3 had a target completion date of May 2013 but report authors find DHS far behind schedule.

The migration was to be completed in four waves.

"Migration of the first wave of users was scheduled to begin in August 2012 but actually began in November 2012, after a 4-month delay," says the report.

As a result, the migration schedule for waves two through four has been compressed.

"As of January 2013, Wave 1 was considered completed, but it had been scaled back to include only 8 [communities of interest] instead of the 15 originally included, and only 50 users instead of 300," says the OIG.

Because contracting and technical challenges have delayed the migration, some user communities are pursuing other collaboration tools to share information, says the OIG. The OIG expressed concern that participation levels on HISN are low and the platform is underutilized.

Report authors recommend DHS develop a plan to increase components' adoption of HSIN as their sensitive but unclassified information sharing tool; develop a plan to meet users' content organization and search needs in HISN Release 3; and stand up a plan expand state and local stakeholders' exposure to HSIN and its capabilities.

The department's director of the office of operations coordination and planning agreed with the report's recommendations.

For more:
- download the report, OIG-13-98 (.pdf)

Related Articles:
DHS program risks collecting, sharing more PII than needed
DHS 'disadvantaged advocate' for info sharing with private sector, says group
GAO: HSIN falls short