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DHS to Replace 'Duplicative' Anti-Terrorism Data Network
The lawmakers gave Schneider until Feb. 14 to answer 18 questions about the possible impact on the system and its users, its projected cost savings, which contractors are involved, and whether DHS has consulted with states and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is in charge of creating a nationwide information-sharing environment.
In his memo, Schneider ordered all DHS agency heads to "stop any new development or enhancements" to existing Web portal systems unless approved by DHS leadership.
DHS declined a request to interview Schneider, but department spokesman Russ Knocke said the network is being upgraded, not replaced.
"We're not departing from or discontinuing" the network, he said in an e-mail reply to questions. "Those allegations could not be more false. We'll be upgrading our systems over the next year, the same way that Microsoft puts out a new software version each year." Knocke later said that many of the network's features "are going to be integrated into a broader, more advanced platform."
Knocke said DHS briefers told the panel in October of desired upgrades and said then that they would update the committee in January. That meeting is scheduled for next week.
The current version of the network was developed by the Navy on behalf of DHS. BAE Systems was selected as the lead vendor, Knocke said.
BAE spokesman John Measell acknowledged that they are one of several contractors, and he said the company is working on the network's infrastructure, operations and maintenance. But he said officials have not seen the Schneider memo.
The system is split into dozens of Web portals used by DHS constituents, including state and local law enforcement, emergency management, counterterrorism agencies and critical private sector industries. Classified data-sharing systems that also are part of the network are not addressed by Schneider's memo, Knocke said.
A prime concern is whether the system is less useful than other, existing federal information-sharing networks, such as Law Enforcement Online (LEO) and the Regional Information Sharing Systems (Rissnet).