DHS IG report recommends greater HSIN responsiveness

From Homeland Security Today:

The information-sharing network of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must do a better job of meeting its customers needs, concluded a report from the department’s inspector general (IG) released December 5th.

The IG report, titled “DHS’ Efforts to Improve the Homeland Security Information Network” (HSIN), found widespread dissatisfaction with the capabilities of the data network from state and local officials searching it for information. The department is upgrading the HSIN to its next generation version, which it argues will resolve many of the concerns about the existing network.

The report recommends that DHS provide resources to improve relationships with its HSIN users and provide them with adequate opportunities to provide feedback on the network. The department also should develop scenario-based training for stakeholders, include performance metrics in any future HSIN developments, and make clear how it uses the information in HSIN.

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Committee leaders await findings on info sharing network

From FCW:

The House Homeland Security Committee’s Democratic leadership remains concerned about the Homeland Security Department’s effort to overhaul its platform for sharing sensitive but unclassified information with state and local authorities, dubbed HSIN Next Gen (HSIN = Homeland Security Information Network).

In July, the chairman, Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and a senior member, Jane Harman (D-CA), asked DHS to suspend work on the program until requirements for the platform’s users had been defined and validated.

In two letters to DHS leadership dated Sept. 23 and Oct. 9, Thompson requested the Homeland Security Information Network Advisory Council’s findings for oversight purposes. As of Friday morning (Oct. 17), the committee had not received them.

GAO: HSIN Nextgen needs more acquisition controls

From HSToday:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is well on its way to upgrading the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) which shares threat information with state and local authorities, but the department could benefit from increased management of the purchase of the next generation system, according to a report from the GAO published Wednesday.

DHS could benefit from increasing staffing in the HSIN program office, outlining staff responsibilities, and identifying requirements and risks adequately.

A memo from the DHS undersecretary of management last year revealed DHS operates more than 100 Web-based systems, many of which simply duplicate each other’s capabilities. In consolidating these systems, DHS also plans to replace legacy portal technologies that inhibit information sharing. As such, HSIN NextGen will serve a number of communities within DHS, including emergency management, intelligence, immigration, and law enforcement.

The Office of Operations Coordination and Planning responded to the GAO report, detailing actions it has taken to meet the report’s recommendations.