Justice expands IT strategies


Justice will
enumerate its systems needs in a late summer report,
says Mary Ellen Condon, the department’s director of information management and

The Justice Department will soon unveil an ambitious information technology program
that aims to increase the reach of law enforcement using more secure systems, a top
Justice IT official said recently.

“The Justice Department is a major business organization that has several legacy
systems,” said Mary Ellen Condon, director of information management and security at
the department.

“By late summer, we hope to release a document that lays out all our systems
needs,” she said. Condon outlined Justice’s IT plans at an industry seminar last
month in Vienna, Va.

In addition to calling for stronger computer security enforcement, the document will
detail plans for improving IT infrastructure, consolidating high-speed networks and
creating a global criminal justice information network, Condon said. Among those plans are
strategies to provide users more information:

Justice’s chief information officer, Steve Colgate, worked with officials from the
department’s five major organizations to create the IT strategies: the FBI, Bureau of
Prisons, DEA, Immigration and Naturalization Service and Marshals Service.

Justice’s IT budget for fiscal 1998 is $1.26 billion, slightly lower than the
$1.30 billion for last year. The IT budget for fiscal 1999 will decrease to $1.15 billion,
but no programs are being sacrificed, Condon said.

Another IT improvement will be a case-tracking system for DEA. The agency will automate
its current paper system to enable agents to access databases of crime information and
share data electronically.

“The key in any government department is to bring IT and the department
together,” Condon said. “IT is only good if it helps the business side of an
organization be more effective.”  

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