Justice CIO optimistic about eFBI
- By Bryant Jordan
- Sep 27, 2000
A year ago it was called the Information Sharing Initiative — a planned
$430 million communications system for FBI agents that Congress pulled the
plug on to head off expected cost overruns.
Today, it's called eFBI, but even that may change, an FBI spokesman
Whatever its name, Justice Department chief information officer Stephen
Colgate called it "the bane of my existence for the last few years."
But perhaps not anymore.
"We think we finally came up with a winning proposal that will clear
the [House] Appropriations Committee," Colgate said Tuesday during a breakfast
meeting of government officials and business executives.
Colgate gave three reasons for the anticipated change. A revised program,
a budget reeled way in and Bob Dies — a new assistant FBI director hired
in July to head it up.
"The new assistant director has brought a lot of credibility from the
commercial sector," Colegate said. "He will turn this around."
Dies, 54, joined the bureau after 30 years with IBM Corp., during which
time he oversaw operations in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It is
his job to oversee the design and launch of eFBI, an information sharing
system that will use the World Wide Web to enable agents and bureau offices
to communicate during investigations.
Previously, Justice officials were promoting a system that relied heavily
on legacy phone systems, which would have required major overhaul and upgrades.
"We had a grandiose, half-billion-dollar approach that did not go over
well with the appropriators," Colgate said. And that was on top of other
department information technology initiatives in which costs got out of
hand, according to Colgate.
"We are suffering for the sins of the past," he said. "I think we have
overcome those sins."