DHS to Upgrade HSIN Information Sharing Portal

By Joseph Straw

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded a contract worth up to $62 million for upgrade of the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), its oft-maligned situational awareness portal for sharing sensitive but unclassified (SBU) information, primarily with state and local partners.

Developed mainly in 2005 and 2006, the portal was designed to provide stakeholders real-time situational awareness data, references, and simple communication tools including posted bulletins, a searchable document library, chat functions, and message boards.

In the years following HSIN’s launch, however, DHS took heat from state and local officials and its overseers in Washington for “re-inventing the wheel” rather than leveraging existing portals already popular with state and local officials, such as the Department of Justice’s Regional Information Sharing System (RISS).

In a statement, DHS said the upgrade would provide the agency “partners and stakeholders information management capabilities and services including a portal, search, collaboration, enterprise content management, and Service Oriented Architecture-based information integration and analysis functions to facilitate their collaboration and information sharing needs for SBU data.” DHS officials were not immediately available Monday to explain what that means.

Federal Computer Week, however, reports that the upgrade will include consolidation of some 100 portals already accessible via HSIN.

DHS will call the updated portal HSIN Next Generation, (NextGen). The contract, awarded to General Dynamics One Source, LLC, of Fairfax, Virginia, is worth at least $18 million over five years not including options, according to DHS. If all options are exercised, the price tag will jump to $62 million, the company said.

To read more about the HSIN saga, check out "The New Need to Know" in the September 2007 print edition of Security Management, and "Putting Two Million First Responders on One Page," from April 2007, available online.


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