Big IT Troubles at DHS


In the first of a three-part series on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), BusinessWeek notes that some $3 billion in DHS information technology contracts, "accounting for 60% of the agency's 2008 IT budget, are underperformingâ''whether because they're behind schedule, over budget, or lack a qualified project manager or definable parameters. In dollar terms, Homeland Security accounts for about half of the troubled government IT projects tracked by the Office of Management & Budget (OMB)."

The article goes on to quote Clark Ervin, who was DHS Inspector General from January 2003 to December 2004: "When these contracts go awry, it's not just a question of millions of dollars or tens of millions or billions of dollars wasted, but it also means that the security gaps that those contracts are intended to address are left unaddressed." (Listen to an interview Ervin did with IEEE Spectrum last year.)

DHS says not to worry, though, because "great progress" is being made in getting the challenges posed under control.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City