How DHS Hopes to Use EIS to Modernize Its Approach to IT

The Department of Homeland Security wants to use the contracting vehicle to standardize its technology and enhance cybersecurity.

The Department of Homeland Security has 22 component agencies, and its mission has grown since it was formed in 2002. That means there is not only a lot of IT to manage, but also numerous disparate approaches to technology governance and modernization. 

DHS CIO John Zangardi wants to use the General Services Administration’s $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract, for agencies to modernize their network infrastructures, to update not just its network but also its broader IT infrastructure

“When I got to DHS, one of the things I realized is that we have to do network modernization,” Zangardi said this month at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit, according to MeriTalk. Zangardi joined DHS in December after serving as the acting CIO of the Defense Department. 

Zangardi said at the conference that DHS will use EIS to modernize its IT systems overall and give component agencies a reference point for the technology the agency will deploy, FedScoop reports. EIS is also designed to enhance agencies’ cybersecurity by introducing a standardized network architecture

MORE FROM FEDTECH: Read why EIS is an opportunity for agencies to transform their networks! 

DHS Gears Up for EIS Contract Transition

EIS requires agencies to transition away from the Networx contracting vehicle by spring 2020. Agencies can use next-generation network technology through EIS, including software-defined networking and 5G wireless networks, for the foreseeable future.

Zangardi said DHS has created an EIS program management office, which is being staffed. He also said DHS is meeting with the vendors to discuss the contract and budgeting for new networking gear in fiscal year 2020, MeriTalk reports. 

“We are going to leverage the GSA vehicle EIS to award in the second or third quarter of 2019,” Zangardi said, according to FedScoop. The CIO wants DHS components to be involved and to move forward with an agencywide approach. 

“The objective here is to modernize through that vehicle and get to a better network for voice and data. We have to change the infrastructure we’re on; it is old,” he said. “We have to do it in a way that’s inclusive of the whole department.” 

Zangardi is working with the DHS deputies management action group, which is made up of acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady and the deputies of the component agencies, to create EIS implementation plans. 

Regarding the EIS PMO, Zangardi said it will “work across DHS to build out our requirements.” The PMO will lead the charge to upgrade the agency’s Ethernet network and make its network connections stronger and faster. Notably, Zangardi envisions DHS adopting SDN. “We’re going to look at virtualizing endpoints, improving network resilience and trying to lower costs.” 

Zangardi wants to hit the ground running to build the new DHS network when the contract begins in 2020. “We are really going to try and make this network state-of-the-art and world-class,” he said.

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Sep 21 2018