It looks like funding for a critical data center consolidation for the Department of Homeland Security has become a political football in the wake of a critical report from DHS’ own inspector general. Here’s what’s happening:
- In April the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report (PDF) that the department had made progress in establishing a disaster recovery program, citing an ongoing plan to close 16 legacy data centers and consolidate their workloads in two new data centers in Mississippi and Virginia. But more work is needed, the OIG said. “DHS has not established the necessary connectivity to ensure that DC1 and DC2 can provide backup capabilities for each other,” said the report, which also faulted risk assessments at both sites, including the placement of diesel fuel storage tanks “within several feet of the building” at the Virginia site.
- On June 12 the House Appropriations Committee agreed to give DHS just $20 million in fiscal 2010 for the data center consolidation, considerably less than the $200 million that the Obama administration had requested for the program. Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), chairman of the committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee, released a report saying the committee was “disturbed” by the inspector general’s findings that included “a number of alarming problems and vulnerabilities at these two data centers.”
- On June 17 a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would provide “significant funding” for the DHS consolidation program. The specific amount of funding will be made public later this week when the full committee considers the bill.
It looks like there’s more to come on this story, as lawmakers seek to hold DHS officials accountable for ensuring that the consolidation project creates a reliable disaster recovery system for the department’s IT operations. Still, it’s hard to fix an expensive problem without funding.