DHS agencies slow to consolidate HR system, IG says

Eight agencies still in starting block despite five-year effort

The Homeland Security Department began consolidating its human resource systems in 2005, but nine of its agencies haven't completed migrations to the new enterprisewide systems, and some agencies haven't  started the moves, according to a new report from DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner.

“Many DHS components are reluctant to adopt the department’s enterprisewide solutions,” Skinner wrote in the report dated July 21.

Under the e-Government Act of 2002 and White House initiatives, DHS' Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer began the consolidations of existing systems into five solutions. Progress has been made in migrating a number of systems and in coordinating component migrations, the report said.


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Skinner evaluated migrations to three of the enterprise solutions: EmpowHR, TalentLink and Web Time and Attendance (WebTA). He found that the consolidation was lagging.

“As of February 2010, nine DHS components have not completed their migration to WebTA, EmpowHR, or TalentLink,” Skinner wrote. “Component officials indicated that some of the enterprisewide solutions do not satisfy their business requirements.... Consequently, components continue to use their existing systems in lieu of the DHS enterprisewide solutions.”

Eight of the agencies have not started on one or more of the migrations to the three systems. Specifically, Customs and Border Protection has started none of the migrations to EmpowHR, TalentLink or WebTA, and Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Secret Service have started only one of the three migrations, the report said.

In addition, the report said, performance metrics for the consolidation have not been implemented, system functionality has not been improved to facilitate the migrations, and the new solutions have been certified and accredited without all necessary documents and mitigation of security weaknesses. Specifically, WebTA has not been certified and accredited according to appropriate policies, Skinner wrote.

Skinner made 11 recommendations for improvements. They include developing  specific performance metrics to track the consolidation effort, working with the chief information officer and agencies to identify and track all human resource systems and·certifying and accrediting WebTA .

DHS officials agreed with the recommendations and have begun implementing solutions, the report said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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