New IT governance structure at DHS
The Homeland Security Department is in the process of standing up 13 portfolio governance boards with cross-component purview over information technology efforts as part of a larger change to the departmental IT governance operating model.
Homeland Security Chief Information Officer Richard Spires has alluded to the internal revamp, but a July 25 Government Accountability Office report (.pdf) gives the clearest public picture of it yet.
Under it, a new department strategy council chaired by the secretary or deputy secretary will set goals and objectives, while portfolio governance boards will assess investments within a functional area and look to eliminate redundancies within those areas.
Portfolio boards will consider information from components, as well as a capabilities and requirements council that will set enterprisewide strategy priorities and requirements in alignment with the strategy council's objectives.
So far, the GAO says the strategy council and the capabilities and requirements council have yet to be established, and only three portfolio governance boards are operational--one for information technology services, another for information sharing & safeguarding, and another for human resources systems. DHS officials told auditors two more will come online by the end of this fiscal year (Sept. 30)--one for screening and one for integrated domain awareness.
In a May 11 talk before an industry audience in Tysons Corner, Va., Spires used domain awareness as an example of redundancy, stating that DHS components collectively use more than 20 different common operating picture software programs to fuse multiple data streams into a coherent whole.
In the report, auditors mildly criticize DHS for not developing an implementation plan for the new governance structure. DHS officials told auditors they are now piloting the process and will develop a 2-year plan based on a revised IT strategic plan due for completion by the end of this summer.
Auditors also say DHS has yet to fully develop measures to assess progress in impelling the new structure and say that while DHS officials told them they're using lessons learned from the pilots to improve the structure, they have yet to establish a mechanism for capturing the lessons learned.
- download the report, GAO-12-818 (.pdf)