The quarterly CIS/ESIG proceeded on September 13, 2004. ESIG was represented by the following members:
Dan Siciliano - LawLogix
Umesh Vaidyamath - INSZoom
Bob Meltzer - VisaPrep
Tracy Renaud, Director of Modernization Services, represented the CIS. Following a brief summary of ESIG activities since the last meeting the following questions were asked of and answered by Director Renaud (in summary):
Q: Since the introduction of the six additional forms (I-129, I-131, I-140, I-539, I-821, I-907) this past May has there been any further development by the CIS in the E-Filing initiative and what is the planned future development?
A: There has been no development but there have been subsequent releases to address some of the "quirks" of the current system. Also, the CIS IT maintenance contract is due to expire on December 31 of this year and the CIO is currently negotiating replacement (or extension) of that vendor contract. It is the goal to fully stabilize the E-Filing technology and process by that transition date. There has been a request for additional funding made for further research and development regarding E-Filing and include such proposals (consistent with the re-engineering initiatives that are being promoted by William Yates, Associate Director of Operations, CIS) to increase the efficiency on the CIS side more than the customer interface including more efficient ways to process TPS claims and to process payments through the Department of Treasury.
Q: Has there been any decisions made regarding the formation of a standards committee that would include stakeholders such as ESIG?
A: No. But it is contemplated that the CIS will bring in parties such as ESIG and AILA to get their input regarding the development of the protocol for batch transmissions.
Q: Has there been any decision or indication of which code standard DHS or CIS will be using? Is the CIS establishing any criteria for determining which code standard will ultimately be used in the protocol for batch transmissions?
A: There is a Senior Review board that has been established to address issues such as code standards. No standard has been determined yet and no timeline for the establishment of criteria has been set. It is expected that issues like this will be addressed in the 1st quarter of 2005 after it is determined whether or not funding will be approved.
Q: At the April meeting it was stated that the Department could begin assessing the cost and level of effort associated with a pilot program where data could be transferred on a case-by-case basis by summer, 2004. What is the status of that assessment?
A: The assessment was completed and included in the recent request for funding and believed to be relatively accurate. It was determined that the effort of developing a pilot program would be almost as great as the effort to develop the system itself so the idea of the pilot program was abandoned in favor of the system itself. There are general concepts that the system for batch filing (which refers to the batching of information rather than a "batch" of multiple applications so it includes single applications) will include entering into user agreements and PKI as a security/signature solution. Since testing is always the significant expense the intention is to invest testing resources with large users.
Q: While we await the response for funding and following development can CIS share information or develop an interface so that the current vendors can create a way to move information in the systems now into the current E-Filing forms available online today?
A: It seems that there is a security reason that would preclude this but a review will be made and an answered returned within the next week or two to see if such a development could take place.
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