Auditors rap ICE over strategic management missteps

Immigrations and Customs and Enforcement needs improvement in planning, budgeting for IT

The Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency should improve its strategic planning and budget process for information technology, according to a report  from DHS’ office of the inspector general (OIG) released June 22.

The OIG found in audit field work completed late last year that ICE hadn’t yet finalized its IT strategic plan. In addition, the OIG said in its report that the budget planning process of ICE’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) didn’t completely represent what the agency spent in fiscal 2009, leaving that office with a limited capability to proactively manage all of the agency’s IT assets.

ICE is DHS’ largest investigative agency and spent about $600 million on IT in fiscal 2009, according to the IG's office.

In addition, the IG found that ICE component offices are concerned that the OCIO does not understand their needs and priorities and that staffing shortages at the agency’s OCIO present challenges to efficiently managing IT.

To fix the problems, in its report, the IG recommended that ICE:

  • Finalize an agencywide IT strategic plan
  • Establish an agencywide IT budget process that encompasses all the technology requirements of ICE component offices
  • Develop a staffing plan for the OCIO that includes specific actions and milestones
  • Create a formal process to facilitate the development, approval, and dissemination of IT policy.

ICE concurred with the OIG’s recommendations. However, the agency pointed out progress that it had made since the IG’s review. The IG's office acknowledged that progress had been made regarding ICE’s strategic plan and said it was encouraged by ICE’s work that relates to its other recommendations.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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