Coast Guard gets good marks on enterprise architecture

IG audit finds significant progress, but much work left to do

 The Coast Guard has made significant progress in developing an enterprise architecture for its information technology investments, but still has work to do on planning and documentation for the effort, according to a recent audit.

The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general said in a report released today that the guard, which is part of DHS, had developed an enterprise-architecture framework that will promote information sharing and integration, and aligns with the federal and DHS enterprise architectures. The IG said the Coast Guard’s progress has been made possible because of management’s support for the effort.

However, the IG said due to staffing shortages, the office in charge of the effort hasn’t integrated the enterprise architecture or completed its documentation. The people managing the effort told the IG that they needed the equivalent of at least 15 full-time staff, almost double the eight people working on the project full time during the audit.

Meanwhile, the IG said the completion of the enterprise architecture framework, the availability of documented IT systems and standards has meant some benefits for the guard. However, the IG said the service’s enterprise-architecture management was unable to provide specific examples where it had reduced costs or better aligned IT with the service’s mission and goals.

“Without completing the enterprise-architecture integration and documentation activities, it will be difficult for the Coast Guard to demonstrate enterprise-architecture benefits, which may result in loss of enterprise-architecture program executive and stakeholder support,” the report, dated July 23, said.

The IG recommended that the guard:

  • Complete and integrate data profiles, models and inventories for the service’s enterprise architecture.

  • Finish required enterprise-architecture documentation.

  • Provide the office that oversees the program with enough resources to complete required enterprise-architecture activities.

The Coast Guard concurred with the recommendations in response to a draft of the report. The audit was conducted between April 2008 and 2009.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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