FBI's new CIO details plans for upcoming projects

The information technology capabilities of all FBI agents is "100 percent better than it was three years ago" with last month's completion of an FBI network modernization project, and greater capabilities projected to be operational later this year, said the FBI's new chief information officer.

Zalmai Azmi, who took over the position on Friday, added that negotiations are underway with contractor Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) to finalize deployment of the bureau's anticipated Virtual Case File network. Azmi said a performance-based contract with the firm is expected to be signed within four weeks, and delivery of the network is expected by the end of the year.

Azmi said the first stage of the case-file network was delivered last year, but SAIC's estimated time for completion was deemed "unacceptable," and FBI and contractor officials are now re-negotiating the terms and timetable for final delivery.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., on Friday asked the General Accounting Office to investigate whether the FBI has managed the relationship with SAIC competently. Sensenbrenner said he was concerned that the delay in the delivery of the system would further drag behind the FBI's network modernization program, which lawmakers also criticized for being considerably behind schedule.

Azmi joined the Justice Department five years ago as the assistant director for office automation with the U.S. Attorney's office, and moved to the FBI six months ago. Azmi said the FBI in 1999 was struggling with Intel 386 desktop computers, dial-up online connections and lacked a centralized IT planning office.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Azmi said FBI Director Robert Mueller launched an information modernization plan going beyond the scope of Trilogy, which was planned in 1999, but not launched until 2000.

The Trilogy upgrade includes the deployment of 500 network servers, 1,600 scanners and thousands of desktop computers to FBI field offices. But Azmi said that in November 2003, the bureau embarked on a more ambitious plan to consolidate and modernize nearly 200 internal information technology networks to improve productivity within the bureau and provide information-sharing capabilities with the government's other intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

"We are already looking at plans to upgrade the FBI's infrastructure next year," he said, with the desktop computers ordered in 1999 now considered outdated. "We can't let the bad guys have better equipment than we do." The upgrade plan includes extending Trilogy's computer platform to the new Terrorist Screening Center.

Azmi said the bureau also plans to increase the number of Internet-accessible computers available to agents, but with the many classified computers at the FBI, Internet access will likely be in separate banks of computers instead of on the desktop. "We are constantly under hacker attack, and we don't want to give them the opportunity to get in and look around," he said.

Azmi also disputed reports that in FBI field offices today only a single computer is available with Internet access. He added that with increased funds it would be possible to install separate hard drives at an agent's desk with one directly connected to the Internet.

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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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