Justice appoints new CIO

He developed Maryland's Information Technology Strategic Plan and automated Philadelphia's records department. Now the Justice Department wants Vance Hitch to oversee its troubled IT.

From dysfunctional computer systems at the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the antiquated systems of the FBI, the Justice Department is plagued by technology problems.

Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed Hitch March 19 to solve them, naming the former Accenture executive as Justice's chief information officer.

"A critical element in our battle against the terrorist threat is the effective use of information technology to share information across law enforcement," Ashcroft said.

In a statement issued by the department, Hitch agreed that "technology is a tremendous asset in this new war." He said he would work with law enforcement "at every level to ensure that they have the right tools" to battle terrorism.

Justice is struggling with computer system problems such as developing an INS visa tracking system to alert law enforcement agencies when suspected terrorists try to enter the country and when visitors remain after their visas have expired.

In November, when Ashcroft announced a departmentwide "wartime reorganization," he said Justice needed an IT strategic plan to guide future investments.

Developing that plan will be one of Hitch's tasks.

Hitch was a senior partner at the consulting firm Accenture and has 28 years of experience working on major government projects. He has worked with the State and Defense departments, the National Security Agency, the CIA and multiple state and local governments, according to a Justice statement.

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