Wednesday, May 23, 2007

HSIN Latest

Here's a piece which complements a few previous posts.

Government Computer News has an update on the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN). DHS now plans to link the HSIN to other existing databases:

After HSIN’s full-scale launch in early 2004, the low-level DHS network functioned as a somewhat information-poor shadow of the FBI’s Law Enforcement Online (LEO) and the linked Regional Information Sharing System Network (RISSNet). RISSNet has more than 75,000 subscribers who, in turn, provide information to hundreds of thousands of officials in law enforcement agencies nationwide and in selected foreign countries. HSIN serves a much smaller user base.

During the past three years, HSIN’s leaders have conspicuously failed to link their network to the existing law enforcement networks.

That decision has generated a series of consequences that now put DHS technology managers in the position of playing catch-up in an effort to harmonize HSIN with the other networks.

By July, documents posted on HSIN will transfer to RISSNet for immediate posting and vice versa, said Wayne Parent, deputy director of DHS’ Office of Operations Coordination. "It’s much easier to share information across HSIN and RISSNet today than trying to do that three years ago."
DHS also plans to link HSIN to Intelink-U, an unclassified network provided by the Pentagon, as well as to the Data Exchange Hub that ties together the National Capital Region’s emergency management systems. They vow to stick to the information architecture required by the Information Sharing Environment (ISE).

Better late than never, I suppose.

GCN
has also assembled a concise timeline that captures the short, turbulent life of the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN). Some highlights:
Mid-2003
The Homeland Security Department starts building a pilot version of the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) as an extension of a nationwide law enforcement program called the Joint Regional Information Exchange System (JRIES). Both networks operate at the sensitive-but-unclassified security level, which is also known as the law-enforcement-sensitive level.

February 2004
DHS officially launches HSIN.

Throughout 2004
Officials of RISSNet, a law enforcement network funded by the Justice Department and controlled by six regional groups of police agencies, negotiate with DHS’ HSIN managers in a bid to fully connect the incompatible systems and eliminate overlapping functions. RISSNet officials present several briefings to DHS officials about their system, but progress is slow. Eventually, HSIN and RISSNet establish a limited connection that bars transfer of data such as file attachments.

May 2005
DHS confirms that JRIES’ executive board has scuttled plans to fully merge their system with HSIN. The rupture occurs amid accusations by law enforcement officials that sensitive JRIES information had leaked onto the Internet via HSIN.

Spring 2006
DHS adds its Common Operating Picture, an online situational-awareness tool, to share information to HSIN. Early versions of COP focus on hurricane season updates. COP also includes the infrastructure critical-asset viewer, or iCAV, a geospatial application that can overlay events such as hurricanes onto infrastructure assets.

June 2006
The department upgrades HSIN’s systems. In the process, DHS severs HSIN’s connection with RISSNet.

June 2006
DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner issues a report citing pervasive flaws in HSIN systems and management. The department rushed HSIN deployment without gathering views from other agencies on how to structure its connects, Skinner reports. DHS also failed to train users on HSIN’s functions and capabilities, according to the IG.

May 2007
DHS tells the House Homeland Security Committee that it plans to upgrade HSIN technology and reconnect the system to RISSNet.

May 2007
GAO reports on pervasive HSIN problems that have resulted in a stand-alone design. The audit agency found that DHS uses at least 11 homeland security networks. During fiscal 2005 and 2006, the DHS networks cost $611.8 million to develop, operate and maintain, according to GAO. DHS states that HSIN costs about $21 million annually.

May 2008
A senior DHS official’s estimate of when the department will complete upgrades and management reorganization steps recommended by GAO 12 months previously.


1 comment:

KB3JUV said...

I know they are also moving some of the stuff on disasterhelp.gov that is used for Emergency Managers to HSIN, and giving us credentials on portions of HSIN to continue our business.

I'm a member on RISS-ATIX here in the Northeast and it is a great service. I'm glad they will be getting some of these systems together.