Strategic Planning

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – United States Secret Service (USSS)

USSS Chief Information Officer (CIO) Best Practices

Project Details

USSS CIO Office tasked Delta Decisions, along with our subcontractor WBB, to develop a three part report series on CIO best practices. The first report is a Best Practices Study where we compared the current “As-Is” state of the USSS CIO organization against the Federal Chief Information Officer Council’s 2008 Clinger-Cohen Core Competencies. The second report is a Feasibility Study where we analyzed the general best practices and map them against the opportunities and constraints within the USSS CIO office. The third report is a Transition Plan that uses recommendations from the Feasibility Study and summarizes the key factors for navigating the USSS CIO office to a position where it can effectively and efficiently support the USSS mission and strategy.


The objective of assessing best practices is to guide and inform the transformation of the USSS CIO office into a high performance organization that is aligned with and supportive of the broader USSS missions. By design, the July 9, 2010 USSS Best Practices Study (BPS) developed by the Delta Decisions Team (the Team) served as the vehicle for data collection that the Team used to support the assessments in the follow-on Feasibility Study. The BPS compared the current “As-Is” state of the USSS CIO organization against the Federal Chief Information Officer Council’s 2008 Clinger-Cohen Core Competencies in order to ensure the complete functional coverage of CIO roles. In the complementary Feasibility Study, submitted on August 13, 2010, the Team assessed the gaps in the current USSS information technology (IT) functional capabilities with respect to the CIO office.

The best practices of the first study provide an unconstrained list of actions that can be undertaken by the USSS to accelerate the USSS implementation of enterprise IT. In our second study, the 16 best practices we recommended for implementation take assumptions and constraints into account in order to determine their final feasibility. The methodology the Team used to evaluate the best practices provided a structured roadmap for determining the difficulty of implementing the customized best practices crafted for the USSS CIO office. For this study, overall feasibility is a function of the cost-benefit analysis (CBA) the Team conducted and the feasibility factors which encompass cultural and alignment concerns. All 16 best practices should be implemented within USSS CIO. However, we realize that time, resources, and leadership support may prove difficult to garner. For that reason, we selected the top six most important recommendations based on an augmentation of the outcome derived from the CBA methodology with an understanding of industry best practices, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Government Accountability Office (GAO) directives, and our assessment of USSS cultural constraints to identify key operational areas for improvement.


Delta Decisions wrote three major reports over a 15-week period. We received several accolades on the quality of the reports, from the look and feel of the formatting, to the well written content, flow of information, and abundance of data to support our recommendations. We also conducted interviews with top executives of the IT staff within other DHS components and received very positive feedback regarding our performance. In October 2010, Delta Decisions began the task of implementing recommendations from our Best Practices Study. We are developing an IT Strategic Planning framework and assisting with the implementation of an IT governance process. The final deliverable for our new task is the USSS IT Strategic Plan for 2011-2016.

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