Lack of funding hampers DHS info sharing, says GAO
Funding constraints have caused the Homeland Security Department to slow down or stop some information-sharing initiatives.
In a Sept. 18 report (.pdf), the Government Accountability Office says the DHS Information Sharing and Safeguarding Governance Board--made up of senior executives from headquarters offices and DHS components--has identified 18 key information-sharing initiatives, as of this month.
Five of those--the GAO report doesn't specify all of them--"faced risks as of June 2012 because of the lack of funding," and DHS has had to delay or scale back at least four of them, the report says.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they may not be able to expand the state and local user base of the Law Enforcement Information Sharing Strategy or add additional data to it.
Also, the Controlled Homeland Information Sharing Environment effort, which is meant to develop an integrated and searchable cross-domain data asset index hasn't been fully funded. "Efforts to explore possible funding options continue, according to DHS officials," the report states. Department officials have called CHISE their top information-sharing priority.
The board doesn't have budget authority, meaning that the initiatives it oversees must compete for dollars within their home components. The board's involvement has, however, kept some of those initiatives from experiencing funding cuts, DHS officials told auditors.
Information-sharing officials have cataloged 800 departmental assets and found that 80 of them have "potential value" in counterterrorism efforts. The 20 most valuable of those are included in CHISE, the report says.
Homeland Security officials also told auditors they've aligned data assets with the Information Sharing Environment's suspicious activity reporting business process and made progress in aligning data assets with the ISE terrorist watchlist business process.
But, it hasn't aligned data assets with the ISE alerts, warnings and notifications process--because, as DHS officials told auditors, ISE has yet to issue national-level standards describing the business context and information exchanges for that process. ISE officials said they'll unveil an AWN information exchange in fiscal 2013, which starts Oct. 1.
- download the report, GAO-12-809 (.pdf)
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