DHS seeks IT portfolio management

The Homeland Security Department (DHS) this week issued its first request for information (RFI) for services to manage its information technology portfolio.

The RFI, released March 18, seeks the best strategies to continually evaluate the condition of the department's IT portfolio as the agency taps into technology to build its infrastructure and carry out its mission.

"This evaluation will require the application of an analytical framework that will rapidly and accurately characterize systems, individual mission or business applications...[for] technology fitness and business value to the department," the request said.

It also requires methodologies for best practices, automated solutions for sound architecture, hosting on standard hardware and flexible user interface. The information must be submitted by April 2.

Steve Cooper, the department's chief information officer, said March 20 that DHS is "beginning a journey." There is "absolutely no doubt we will succeed," he told a meeting of the Association for Federal Information Resources Management.

Cooper said many pieces of DHS already have been put in place, including networks and desktops despite the fact that the agency is scattered across several buildings in Washington, D.C.

Cooper said the department has tapped the Transportation Security Administration's Information Technology Managed Services program, run by Unisys Corp., to "pull off a lot of miracles" with the $125 million Congress earmarked in fiscal 2003 for homeland security IT. While it sounds like a lot of money, Cooper said about half of it was invested in IT infrastructure.

"It's disappearing rapidly," Cooper said. However, as of March 1, when the 22 federal agencies were folded into the new department, he has been able to tap assets from the other sectors.

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