Andersen picked for FBI review

The Justice Department has selected Andersen to conduct a comprehensive review of the FBI, including its antiquated computer systems.

The study is being undertaken on behalf of Justice's Strategic Management Council, a new organization that Attorney General John Ashcroft created to provide long-range planning. Ashcroft said that the council's review will include a management study of the FBI's policies and practices focusing on information technology, personnel, crisis management and other issues.

The FBI has been reeling from problems in recent years, including the discovery this year of its failure to turn over thousands of documents in connection with the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. The delay in handing over those documents has been blamed in part on the FBI's inadequate computers.

Ashcroft, in a June 20 memo to deputy attorney general Larry Thompson, ordered the comprehensive review to "identify and recommend actions dedicated to improving and upgrading the performance of the FBI."

The contract specifies that "Andersen will evaluate the organizational structure and mission of the FBI, including the agency's own perception of its mission and core values and how well its organizational structure is suited to identify and act on institutional and operational problems," Justice said.

Andersen will review the FBI's policies, practices and procedures in several other areas:

* The way the agency approaches the procurement and maintenance of IT systems.

* Its records and data management.

* Its approach to human resources management, including the recruitment, selection, hiring and retention of employees, as well as its approach to human capital planning and resource deployment.

* The manner in which the bureau reacts to crises, emphasizing the effectiveness of its communication structure, its decision-making and command authority, and the relation of headquarters officials to those in field offices.

Justice awarded the contract from a competition using the General Services Administration's Management, Organizational, and Business Improvement Services contract, department officials said.

Andersen, formerly known as Arthur Andersen LLP, was selected on the strength of its ability to assemble an experienced consulting team that could deliver recommendations based on its research in a short time frame, Ashcroft said.

The FBI already has two targeted reviews ongoing. The Justice inspector general is investigating the issues in the McVeigh snafu, and William Webster, former director of the FBI and CIA, is leading a group that will make recommendations for improving the bureau's national security measures. The Webster review was launched following the arrest of Robert Hanssen, a longtime FBI counterintelligence agent who is accused of spying for the Russians for 15 years.

Ashcroft asked that those investigations be completed by Nov. 1 so the findings can inform the Strategic Management Council's report, which will be completed by January.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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