FBI tech plans overlap, GAO says

"Information Technology: Foundational Steps Being Taken to Make Needed FBI Systems Modernization Management Improvements"

The FBI's lack of an integrated plan for its $1 billion information technology modernization effort has created significant overlap in IT investments, according to a Government Accountability Office report released today.

Individual FBI divisions develop their IT modernization plans without necessarily considering the overall organization's mission and strategic goals, the report states. Only two of the six divisions examined — Criminal Justice Information Services and the Cyber division — performed a majority of the integrated project criteria that GAO auditors consider necessary for preventing unnecessary IT duplication.

GAO auditors also criticized the bureau's slow progress on aligning its investment management polices and procedures with established best practices.

Until effective polices and an integrated systems modernization plan is in place, GAO officials recommend "that the FBI limit its near-term investments in IT systems."

Auditors singled out the FBI's IT human resourcees polices as an improved area, the report added.

In a written response to GAO, Zalmai Azmi, the FBI's chief information officer, said the bureau is moving forward with corrective measures. FBI officials have established a program office to create an enterprise architecture; filled important staff positions, such as chief technology officer; and established an architecture governance board to root out incompatible IT systems. The bureau's strategic IT plan should be complete this month, Azmi wrote.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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