Bureau names new eFBI chief

The FBI has named a new assistant director to oversee the design and launch

of eFBI, a recently renamed and resurrected program that will give bureau

agents the ability to share and sift through information via the World Wide

Web.

Bob E. Dies recently retired as the general manager of IBM Corp.'s Network

and Personal Computer Division. As a 20-year executive with the company

was involved in product development and services, management and organizational

restructuring on an international level, according to an FBI announcement.

"Bob Dies is the right man at the right time for perhaps the toughest job

in the FBI today," said bureau director Louis Freeh in a statement released

yesterday.

Dies will manage the bureau's Information Resources Division, which is responsible

for maintaining, upgrading and developing the agency's information and communication

systems, computer networks and records.

Dies joins the bureau at a critical time, according to Freeh. The agency

is having to modernize its own information systems at the same time it wrestles

with crimes committed on and with rapidly changing information technologies,

he said.

The bureau has pushed for a way to let its agents and offices communicate

with one another during active investigations. An earlier program, called

the Information Sharing Initiative, stalled in Congress when representatives

balked at approving the project, estimated to cost $430 million, because

of past FBI mismanaged computer programs that ran into major cost overruns.

EFBI is the successor program, which has a lower cost and a different vision.

Whereas the initial program relied on legacy telephone systems, eFBI should

cost about a quarter of $430 million and operate via the Web, officials

have said.

Officials have declined to describe how eFBI would operate, saying only

that a plan has been submitted and is under review. In June, the House Appropriations

Committee recommended the FBI get $39.3 million next year for eFBI.

Along with $20 million that it's already slated to receive, and $80 million

it has socked away from prior year budgets, it will have a total of $139

million to get eFBI running, the committee report stated.

Before joining the bureau, Dies spent a total of 30 years with IBM, the

last 20 in management positions.

In 1991, he was elected an original member of the company's World Wide Management

Council — a position he held through to retirement — and later he co-authored

a strategy paper that led to IBM's switching from a geographic management

system to an industry specialized organization.

He held positions with IBM in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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