Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CACI, Boeing, and Others Running Homeland Security’s Information Systems

CACI International, a company that says it specializes in the “new defense era” and “asymmetric warfare,” is the top private contractor at NOC, and is joined by Boeing and Unisys, along with such consulting firms as Engineering Consultants Service, Electronic Consulting Services, and Security Assistance Corporation.

CACI, which relies on the federal government for 96% of its revenues and does 40% of its federal work for the intelligence community, has won three contracts for communications operations support for NOC. CACI, which was implicated by the U.S. Army for the involvement of its contracted interrogators in the Abu Ghraib prison abuses in Iraq, is facing a lawsuit by the Center for Constitutional Rights for torturing Iraqis.

Illustrative of the central role that private contractors play in the most fundamental information-gathering, intelligence assessment, and management operations of DOC is the following job announcement by DHS contractor Engineering Systems Consultants.

The consulting firm advertised that it was “seeking an Incident Management Officer (IMO) Desk Support. The IMO will supports (sic) the Senior Watch Officer (SWO) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Operations Center (NOC) by providing senior leadership and other elements of DHS with situational awareness of incidents, events or concerns impacting the United States or its interests.”

Among the specific duties of this contract employee:

  • “Provides baseline analysis, assessments and threat monitoring, while sharing information to help deter, detect, and prevent terrorist acts and to manage domestic incidents.
  • “Cultivate cooperative relationships with officials of different agencies (state, territory, district, and tribal Directors of Homeland Security, Emergency Operation Centers, and Law Enforcement).
  • “Produce and publish the National Operations Center Initial Incident and Update Reports for all National and International Situation Summary’s and ensuring that the developed products are posted to the National Common Operating Picture (COP).
  • “Write and publish the DHS Situation Reports and Executive Summary’s (sic).”

A November report by DHS’s own Office of Inspector General on the department’s National Operations Center noted that a review to determine what should be considered “inherently governmental functions” at DHS was “outside the scope of this review.” It added, though, that “we believe the issue warrants further attention by our office.”

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