OMB puts hold on homeland IT

The Office of Management and Budget today put on hold -- pending an expedited review by an interagency board -- all planned information technology investments above $500,000 at the major agencies that would be moving to the Homeland Security Department under the White House's proposal.

The memo from OMB Director Mitchell Daniels Jr. directs agencies' actions based on the expectation that the proposed department could save from $100 million to $200 million during the next two years by preventing duplicative IT investments and standardizing on a single solution.

"Clearly, an integrated and universal IT system would provide the best support for homeland security -- including earlier detection and faster response to potential threats," the memo states. "For this reason, existing investments should be assessed for appropriate use prior to procuring new IT infrastructure-related products and services."

Agency heads are required to cease their investments and to identify any current or planned IT spending not already on OMB's list from the fiscal 2003 budget. This information must be provided to OMB no later than Aug. 15.

All of the investment plans will be quickly reviewed by the Homeland Security IT Investment Review Group, which will recommend reductions and consolidations in investment and track the resulting savings.

The group is led by OMB and the Office of Homeland Security, and is made up of the chief information officers from the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Customs Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Treasury, State and Justice departments.

Because the $1 billion planned procurement for TSA's IT Managed Services Contract will supply the new agency's basic IT infrastructure, a rapid but thorough review of TSA's needs against existing investments at other agencies is at the top of the review group's to-do list.


OMB memo

"OMB may freeze homeland projects" [Federal Computer Week, July 15, 2002]


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