Information Security: Department of Homeland Security Faces Challenges in Fulfilling Statutory Requirements

GAO-05-567T Published: Apr 14, 2005. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 2005.
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For many years, GAO has reported that poor information security is a widespread problem that has potentially devastating consequences. Accordingly, since 1997, GAO has identified information security as a governmentwide high-risk issue in reports to Congress--most recently in January 2005. Concerned with accounts of attacks on commercial systems via the Internet and reports of significant weaknesses in federal computer systems that made them vulnerable to attack, Congress passed the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA), which permanently authorized and strengthened the federal information security program, evaluation, and reporting requirements established for federal agencies. FISMA requires that agencies report annually to OMB who issues guidance for that reporting process. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the third largest agency in the federal government, uses a variety of major applications and general systems in support of operational and administrative requirements. This testimony discusses DHS's progress and challenges in implementing FISMA as reported by the agency and its Inspector General (IG).

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