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GCN : October 2013
14 GCN OCTOBER 2013 • GCN.COM 3 is providing." Getting to Release 3 was not a simple task, however. "HSIN has been a little bit of a lightning rod," Paul said. Congress, the Government Accountabil- ity Office, and stakeholders all criticized the early versions of the program. The inadequacy of security and information sharing in the original platform limited its use both by DHS and other members. These limitations were to be addressed in a new version, but HSIN Next Gen ran into management problems that led to its can- cellation. "That deployment failed," said Michael Brody, HSIN manager for policy outreach and communications at DHS. The GAO in 2008 said inadequate project management for the program presented a "risk of operating in an ad hoc and chaotic manner." In July, GAO included HSIN Next Gen in a list of 15 failed federal IT projects. What now is HSIN started as the Joint Regional Infor- mation Exchange System, a collaboration between the Defense Intelligence Agency and law enforcement agencies that was transferred to DHS in 2003. But because of conflicts between the needs of local law enforcement, intelligence analysts and counterterrorism agents, the system proved inadequate and in 2007 DHS had stopped updating it in favor of a complete replacement. The department continued to operate the legacy system while de- veloping HSIN Next Gen. A $19 million task order (with four one-year options worth another $62 million) was awarded BY WILLIAM JACKSON It has traveled a long, difficult road, but the Homeland Security Information Net- work is getting into place. HSIN is the primary platform for shar- ing sensitive but unclassified information among the Homeland Security Depart- ment and other federal, state and local agencies as well as the private sector. It is a secure Web portal with collaboration tools to enable real-time communication and managed access to data hosted at DHS data centers. Release 3 of HSIN, which includes im- proved identity and access management and enhanced controls on information contributed by users, began rolling out to users in late 2012; the 10-year-old legacy platform has been discontinued. First implemented in 2003, HSIN was intended to replace the informal personal networks for information sharing that pre- dominated at that time. It has been used in the responses to events such as the Boston Marathon bombing in April, Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, and the Deep Wa- ter Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. The limitations of ad hoc networks based on personal relationships had been tragically highlighted by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "The question with HSIN was, how do you foster trust across the enterprise," when face-to-face relationships were not possible, said Ksh- emendra Paul, the Information Sharing Environment program manager in the Office of the Director of National Intelli- gence. "That is a key part of what Release DHS rescues its info-sharing network Refocused project management pulls HSIN back from the brink of cancellation "The question with HSIN was, how do you foster trust across the enterprise? That is a key part of when Release 3 is providing." --- KSHEMENDRA PAUL, ODNI PROJECT AT A GLANCE NAME OF THE PROJECT: Homeland Security Information Network, Release 3 OFFICE: Homeland Security Department O ce of Information Sharing Environment TECHNOLOGY: Microsoft SharePoint, Adobe Connect, Cisco Jabber TIME TO IMPLEMENTATION: Development began in September 2011 and initial operating capability achieved in July 2012. The legacy platform was decommissioned in August 2013. COST: Expected cost savings of $50 million over five years, lower cost-per- user by 25 percent.