FBI director unveils plan for agency overhaul

FBI Director Robert Mueller announced plans Wednesday to hire hundreds of new agents, replace outdated computer systems and create new offices in an effort to reorganize the 94-year-old agency and shift its mission to preventing terrorism.

Mueller unveiled a 19-item list of the FBI's future priorities, headed by protecting the country from terrorist attacks and guarding against espionage. He outlined actions the agency will take to address those priorities, including shifting agents from drug, white-collar crime and violent crime investigations to counterterrorism operations and hiring 900 agents with foreign language, technology, engineering and science skills by September. The FBI will also collaborate more aggressively with other law enforcement agencies, Mueller said.

"We have to do a better job recruiting, managing and training our workforce, collaborating with others, and-critically important-managing, analyzing and sharing information," Mueller said. "In essence, we need a different approach that puts prevention above all else."

The reorganization effort includes the creation of a new Office of Intelligence that will focus on sifting through information about potential terrorist attacks. A new security division will try to prevent incidents like last year's scandal involving FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who sold U.S. information to the Soviet Union and Russia for more than 15 years. The FBI also plans to create a new division focused on cyber crime.

Mueller's announcement comes on the heels of criticism from two of the FBI's own agents about how officials at the agency's headquarters handled information from field investigators about suspected terrorist activities prior to Sept. 11.

"Our analytical capability is not where it should be, but I believe that this plan addresses this," Mueller said. "Because our focus is on preventing terrorist attacks, more so than in the past we must be open to new ideas, to criticism from within and without, and to admitting and learning from our mistakes."

While he applauded Mueller's commitment to change, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, was critical of the director's proposal, saying the FBI is not "giving much up" under Mueller's plan.

"The number of agents reassigned to counterterrorism is relatively small…and, the FBI still plans to be involved in all its traditional operations," Grassley said. "The FBI needs to let go of these areas and recognize that we've got a Drug Enforcement Administration; a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; a Coast Guard; a Customs Service; the Secret Service; a Border Patrol and others at the federal level, along with state and local law enforcement nationwide, to handle these kinds of criminal investigations, arrests and prosecutions."

The FBI, which has about 11,000 agents nationwide, will reassign 518 of them to counterterrorism activities, according to the reorganization plan.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.