Statement of Mark A. Forman


October 1, 2002

Good morning Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me here today to discuss homeland security IT investments. My remarks will focus on recent Administration steps taken to ensure that IT investments that support the homeland security mission are appropriately integrated in order to leverage technology for mission effectiveness while preventing redundant investments and wasted resources.

The National Strategy for Homeland Security highlights the key role of IT in achieving results. Effective use of IT is essential to provide for homeland security and allow the different component agencies to share information. An IT infrastructure must support collaboration among the workers in the Federal, state, and local homeland security related agencies.

As identified in the National Strategy for Homeland Security, we have two primary results for measuring effective use of IT: (1) improving response time – the time to detect and respond to potential threats; and (2) improving decision-making – making the right decisions at the right time. A modern IT infrastructure is vital to ensuring we successfully meet these and other homeland security goals.

While the challenges are great, the management principles and tools to address them are known and have been championed by the Chairman and members of this Subcommittee. The key principles for unifying an IT infrastructure include:

  • Effective IT investment management to accelerate deployment, reduce risk, and achieve mission goals.

  • Identify and reduce redundant and siloed IT investments.

  • Take advantage of economies of scale.

Business as usual will not enable us to meet our homeland security goals. We need a comprehensive review of IT investments. Prior decisions made on the basis of planning, processes, and considerations that predated the President’s National Strategy for Homeland Security are being re-examined and in some instances changed to address new priorities. This review is being conducted according to the key elements of an effective IT management process outlined below.

  • Creating a capital planning and investment control process.

  • Developing an enterprise architecture that links IT to mission performance and defines a modernization blueprint.

  • Identifying an inventory of investments.

  • Identifying existing redundancies and opportunities for consolidation, integration, and elimination.

  • Identifying savings resulting from consolidation, integration, and elimination.

  • Identifying strategic, program, and mission performance needs that will be addressed by modernization investments.

These elements provide a decision-making process, require involvement by the appropriate stakeholders, and provide the criteria needed to make decisions. The criteria will help to ensure that IT investments are being made through the use of good management principles, and that consolidation and integration of current and planned IT investments occur in an efficient and cost-effective manner.


Homeland Security IT Investment and Business Systems Review Groups

The establishment of a well-functioning capital planning process has been initiated through the creation of the Homeland Security IT Investment Review Group in OMB Memorandum 02-12, “Reducing Redundant IT Infrastructure Related to Homeland Security.” The Business Systems IT Review Group, created in OMB Memorandum 02-13, “Review and Consolidation of Business Management Systems for the Proposed Department of Homeland Security,” is another part of that process.

The OMB memoranda directed these Review Groups to begin the effort to identify the IT requirements of the proposed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and opportunities for consolidation and integration of IT investments. The Homeland Security IT Investment Review Group is charged with making recommendations to reduce redundant investments and maximize opportunities for effective information sharing across the proposed DHS components. This Group consists primarily of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from the major entities that would likely be part of the proposed DHS and is chaired by OHS and OMB. There are two types of reviews conducted by the Group.

First, in response to an emergency request from an agency in accordance with the guidance in the memoranda, OMB and the Group provide a quick response to the requesting agency after conducting a rapid review to identify any related investments, requirements or opportunities for other component agencies to leverage.

The second type of review focuses more on larger consolidation issues involving day one and first year issues such as identifying email capabilities for the proposed Department. It is from this type of review that we expect the Group to provide most of their recommendations regarding consolidation, integration, and elimination of IT investments. The larger issues are closely related to the work that the Office of Homeland Security (OHS) is leading in consultation with OMB’s Federal Enterprise Architecture effort as well as with affected agencies on developing a homeland security enterprise architecture. The enterprise architecture will cover three broad areas: infrastructure, business systems, and mission systems in support of the National Strategy for Homeland Security.

The Business Systems Review Group consists primarily of the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), Human Resource (HR) and Procurement Executives of the proposed DHS component agencies. This group’s charge is identical to the Homeland Security IT Investment Review Group. To ensure coordination between the groups each has a liaison and the groups collaborate on issues where appropriate.

OMB Homeland Security IT Memoranda

In July, OMB issued two memoranda as a first step toward better integration of IT infrastructure by using available funds to deploy the highest quality technologies, while providing an opportunity to save taxpayers millions. These memoranda direct proposed DHS component agencies to temporarily cease funding for new development or modernization efforts above $500,000, pending a review by the Executive Branch. The scope of the memoranda include IT infrastructure and business management systems, such as financial management, HR, and procurement systems. The memoranda do not affect steady state spending needed to maintain operations nor do they affect mission IT investments. The intent of the memoranda is to ensure modern investments and prevent redundant investments and wasteful spending. Additionally, it is important to note that FY03 IT investment decisions were made prior to the President’s announcement proposing the creation of the new Department, and must be reconsidered in light of the proposed reorganization.

For example, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to meet its mission, has a business requirement need for network infrastructure at airports. However, INS, Customs, FAA and other agencies have already built and deployed telecommunications networks that would likely be redundant with a new TSA network. An initial assessment found that the existing component agencies of the proposed Department plan to spend $257M in FY03 on IT infrastructure that will support networks at airports. Clearly, there are multiple opportunities for homeland security related agencies to better leverage IT investments so that TSA will not have to build its own telecommunications network.

To ensure appropriate leveraging of technologies, such as the above example, one of the first tasks of the Homeland Security IT Investment Review Group is to review all task orders under TSA's Information Technology Managed Services Contract. Prior to issuing task orders TSA will first review similar investments at other agencies for leveraging opportunities, before renting new capabilities under the managed services contract. This approach will enable TSA to more rapidly obtain IT services and significantly reduce planned spending.

Each of the memoranda also contains a provision for emergency approval of an IT investment. Some of the requests present opportunities for other proposed DHS component agencies to leverage, and are brought to the attention of appropriate groups for review and discussion.

The Federal government must ensure that IT investments are made in an efficient and cost-effective manner. This includes the appropriate migration of Federal homeland security IT investments – the result of bringing together currently separate component agencies. Planned spending by DHS component agencies for IT infrastructure and business management systems will total at least $900M in FY03. An integrated IT system would provide the best support for homeland security – including earlier detection and faster response to potential threats. Consolidating and integrating IT investments presents significant opportunities for savings while providing the best investments for our homeland security mission.

Clearly this approach is neither new nor surprising – it is simply good management. These memoranda recognize the Federal government’s responsibility to ensure wise IT investments are made and that IT investments will not be wasted through the acquisition or retention of systems that are redundant, not interoperable, or otherwise not well-designed to enable an agency to carry out its mission in a cost-effective manner. In fact, recent General Accounting Office (GAO) reports and testimony have stressed the need for the Federal government to improve management of IT investments. See GAO-02-6, “Information Technology: Enterprise Architecture Use Across the Federal Government Can Be Improved” (February 19, 2002).

In March of this year, GAO testified before this subcommittee at a hearing on electronic government. In this testimony, (GAO-02-389T, “Information Technology: OMB Leadership Critical to Making Needed Enterprise Architecture and E-government Progress”), GAO called attention to the E-government initiatives contained in the President’s Fiscal Year 2003 Budget – “most involving multiple agencies” – that seek the “elimination of redundant, nonintegrated business operations and systems.” The testimony also recognized that elimination of redundancies could result in billions of dollars in savings, and improved efficiencies and service delivery to customers.

OMB is fulfilling this role through the use of our responsibilities under Section 5113 of the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act (40 USC 1413), to issue “clear and concise direction” to agencies for ensuring “efficient and effective capital planning” for IT investments, which is to include “guidance for undertaking efficiently and effectively inter-agency and Government-wide investments in information technology to improve the accomplishment of missions that are common to the executive agencies.” The actions taken in the homeland security IT memoranda are the right steps in good IT management and would improve mission performance under any circumstances regarding the proposed Department.

Next Steps and Conclusion

Most of the work of these Review Groups’ is just beginning. I anticipate that as the Groups’ continue to identify more opportunities to leverage technologies, we will be able to better define the optimal IT investments for the proposed Department. This includes the migration strategies needed to reach that decision and an identification of the resulting savings.

The homeland security IT memoranda are a clear demonstration of OMB working with OHS and the agencies to prevent new redundancies and address existing redundant investments. They are a step that GAO and others agree will improve the Federal government’s use of IT resources to architecture savings, and gains in efficiency and productivity. OMB and OHS will continue to look for additional ways to better leverage federal IT spending for Homeland Security. As this Committee highlighted two weeks ago, there are several key opportunities for applying E-Government to Homeland Security -- including three of the Administration’s E-Government initiatives on wireless communications, geospatial information, and disaster management.

To achieve our goals we must all effectively leverage IT for homeland security. It requires the use of modern management practices and a level of teamwork not always seen. It will also require – and is already benefiting from -- a tremendous amount of leadership among the Executive Branch, the Congress, and the IT industry. Collaborative leadership and support is vital to our performance. I would also like to commend the Review Groups’ for their initial progress. I am particularly impressed with the level of teamwork and cooperation of the Groups.

Thank you for your continued leadership, Mr. Chairman, in working toward effective and efficient IT management of the Federal government’s IT resources.