Letter: Poor integration and lack of communication hamper US-VISIT

Regarding "DHS seeks way ahead for US-VISIT": There are a few issues that I think that both Congress and the Homeland Security Department are not talking about that have a significant impact on what they are planning to do.

Having worked for the company that did the exit part of the work under the
U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, I think there are some things that we had looked at and had issues with that directly impacted this program from the very beginning.

In truth there are two main issues here. First, on the overall US-VISIT program, there was a problem from the very beginning due to the nature of the prime contractor on the program. The main issues that we are seeing today arose from the fact that the companies performing on the contract did not communicate well and lessons learned were never heard of or implemented to improve the program.

It always struck me as odd that over a period of several months, calls to the prime contractor went unreturned as the company with the kiosks on site tried to give feedback to the company developing the strategy. If you have people who are seeing things on the ground that have a direct impact on a program and the people developing the strategy refuse to listen to the issues, there is a high probability of problems.

I am not saying this is the only issue with US-VISIT, but it was a big one that to this day is having serious repercussions. Bottom line: No matter what DHS does with the exit portion of the program, if it is not working in concert with the other aspects and filtering up the chain to the strategy development, whatever they decide to do will have similar issues

Second, for years the FBI fingerprint program IAFIS, which uses 10 fingerprints, and the INS version IDENT, which uses one print, have had integration issues. It is not from a lack of effort on the part of the Justice Department and DHS trying to work together. It has been a technology challenge that they have been working on for a very long time.

The two issues that need to be addressed are not only on the front end of what to use but also on the back end making sure that all the various databases that use fingerprints are able to share and search data.

Brian Murphy
JRM Resource Management


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