DHS intell office to realign IT capabilities

Office of Intelligence and Analysis to release strategic action plan

The Homeland Security Department’s intelligence office will better align its information technology capabilities with the needs of non-federal partners with whom it shares terrorism-related information, the department's top-ranking intelligence official said today.

Bart Johnson, is DHS’ principal deputy undersecretary for intelligence and analysis and is acting as head of the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and chief intelligence officer. The intelligence office will better align IT capabilities to the needs of DHS analysts and the department’s state, local, tribal and private sector partners, Johnson told the House Homeland Security Committee’s Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment Subcommittee.

The program includes a new focus on the Homeland Security State and Local Intelligence Community of Interest Web portal used for information sharing between DHS and it partners, Johnson said. The effort is part of a larger refocusing of the office and he outlined the office's strategic goals:

  • Being the premier provider of homeland security intelligence with a strong information-sharing capability.
  • Strengthening existing partnerships and forging new ones.
  • Operating as a single integrated team focused on its mission and customers.
  • Maximizing performance and accountability, including protecting privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

In addition, Johnson said any realignment of his office must enhance its ability to meet its goals. He also said the office will get a new deputy undersecretary for plans, policy and performance management to institutionalize a unified management structure. Johnson also said his office will complete installation at all fusion centers of DHS’ Homeland Secure Data Network, used to share secret-level intelligence and information. 

Meanwhile, he also said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has requested a new office to manage the department’s involvement in the state and local intelligence fusion centers around the country. Napolitano strongly supports the centers. They are the primary way that DHS’ intelligence and analysis office collaborates with state and local partners.

Johnson said his office has also started a comprehensive review of the organization. Meanwhile, he said the office plans to complete a strategic action plan by the end of this year.

After the hearing, Johnson said the strategy will be driven by the needs of state, local and tribal partners; however, it will include an implementation and action plan that will include descriptions and performance objectives for different DHS intelligence and analysis jobs. “Everybody is going to be accountable for something that’s going to contribute to that overall strategy,” he said in a brief interview.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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