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Highlights

In July 2002, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued two memorandums directing agencies expected to be part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to temporarily cease funding for new information technology (IT) infrastructure and business systems investments and submit information to OMB on current or planned investments in these areas. GAO was asked to (1) explain OMB's implementation of these memorandums, (2) identify any resulting changes to applicable IT investments, and (3) ascertain if DHS has initiated its own investment management reviews and, if so, what the results of these reviews have been.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of the Chief Information Officer To demonstrate its progress in consolidating and integrating its systems and services, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Chief Information Officer to periodically report to appropriate congressional committees, the budgetary savings that have resulted from the department's IT consolidation and integration efforts, including a breakout of the savings, the cause of the savings, and the time period in which the savings have been, or will be, generated.
Closed - Implemented
Consistent with our recommendation, the department's Chief Information Officer submitted a report in 2006 to Senate and House Appropriation Committees that provided, among other things, the budgetary savings resulting from the department's IT consolidation and integration efforts, including details on the amount of the savings, the cause of the savings, and the time period in which the savings have been, or will be, generated.
Office of the Chief Information Officer To ensure that IT investments subject to departmental review undergo timely control reviews, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Chief Information Officer to develop a control review schedule for IT investments subject to departmental oversight (i.e., level 1, 2, and 3 investments).
Closed - Implemented
DHS has largely implemented this recommendation. As part of DHS's investment review process, IT investments that are subject to departmental oversight are to be reviewed by the department's Enterprise Architecture Board (EAB). This board, which is headed by DHS's CIO and was established to review whether IT programs are properly aligned with DHS's transformation blueprint as they proceed through their system development life cycle, has developed a schedule of those IT investments to be reviewed each fiscal year. According to DHS's IT investment guidance, the reviews are to be conducted when investments reach five different milestone decision points (MDPs) in their system development life cycle. These points are called MDP-1: Project Authorization; MDP-2: Alternative Selection; MDP-3: Project Decision; MDP-4: Pre-Deployment and MDP-5: Executive Review. The guidance also specifies exit criteria for each MDP that the EAB is to consider prior to an investment receiving approval to move forward. Our reviews of key DHS IT investments, such as Immigration and Custom Enforcement's Atlas program, Custom and Border Protection's Automated Commercial Environment, and the National Protection and Programs Directorate's US-VISIT program, showed that EAB reviews have taken place.

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