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Progress and Challenges in Modernizing DHS' IT Systems and Infrastructure

Executive Summary

The DHS Chief Information Officer (CIO) and most component CIOs had conducted strategic planning efforts to help prioritize legacy Information Technology (IT) systems and infrastructure to better accomplish mission goals.  However, due to a lack of standard guidance and funding, not all components have complied with or fully embraced Department-wide IT modernization initiatives to adopt cloud-based computing, and to consolidate data centers.  Meanwhile, DHS continues to rely on deficient and outdated IT systems to perform mission-critical operations.  Additionally, DHS has not yet leveraged the Modernizing Government Technology Act mandate to accelerate ongoing IT modernization efforts, as DHS and its components questioned whether the benefits of the Act outweighed the additional effort needed to use the resources provided under the Act.  Until DHS addresses these issues, it will continue to face significant challenges to accomplish mission operations efficiently and effectively.  We made three recommendations for the DHS OCIO to develop guidance for implementing cloud technology and migrating legacy IT systems to the cloud, coordinate with components to develop and finalize a data center migration approach, and establish a process to assign risk ratings for major legacy IT investments.  The Department concurred with all three recommendations.

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