DHS plans to replace information-sharing portal HSIN

Members of the New York Police Department and emergency vehicles crowd the streets after at least 13 people were injured during a rush-hour shooting at a subway station in the New York borough of Brooklyn on April 12, 2022, where authorities said "several undetonated devices" were recovered amid chaotic scenes. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

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The Department of Homeland Security is in the initial stages of designing a new information-sharing portal to replace its well-known Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN).

DHS issued a request for information Friday seeking potential sources that could build out a minimum viable product for “a modern, comprehensive information sharing platform using cloud-based technologies to increase speed, mobility, and access to unclassified information” under a procurement it’s calling Project Phoenix.

HSIN is DHS’s platform to share sensitive but unclassified information with federal, state, local, territorial, tribal, international, and private sector entities.

“By using the HSIN platform, these diverse communities work together to perform investigations, identify terrorist activities, respond to areas affected by natural disasters, and provide coordination during recovery operations,” the RFI says. “The capabilities offered in HSIN are critical to both day-to-day operational decision-making and successful execution of large-scale emergency operations.”

But, according to DHS’s RFI, the current system isn’t cutting it. “The current platform is complex, costly, and not optimized for cloud-based and mobile features,” says the document.

DHS envisions a new HSIN that offers “an enhanced user experience through a cloud-optimized environment with extended as-a-service features,” says the RFI. “The platform will push structured [secure but unclassified] information to users based on credentials; improve availability security, and functionality for users; and enable streamlined management of services by DHS.”

On top of being “cloud-optimized,” DHS calls for the new platform to use shared services from across the department, and to feature a zero-trust security architecture in accordance with Office of Management and Budget guidance and “human-centered design best practices for user interface and mobile-first design.”

The eventual awardee, if the procurement gets to that point, would be asked to oversee the development of the new platform from conducting user research to delivering a prototype and then transitioning away from the legacy system. But, up until the time the modernized system is fully launched, the contractor would need to keep the older system operational, DHS says.

Submissions are due by April 25.

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Department of Homeland Security (DHS), HSIN, Information Sharing, Modernization
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