INS official wants more input from contractors

INS official wants more input from contractors

Scott Hastings says INS has plans for effective automation in place.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service might have one of the most sophisticated and efficient systems in the world for handling its more than 25 million paper files.

But "my job is putting our National Records Center out of business," said associate commissioner for IRM Scott Hastings at a breakfast presentation this morning at FOSE 2002.

INS has been taking its lumps lately for slow processing of information to law enforcement agencies, such as data about the Sept. 11 terrorists. But Hastings, bolstered by his boss, CIO George Bollinger, said systems and processes in place at INS should result in effective automation efforts.

"We already have an enterprise architecture plan and a capital planning process," Hastings said. "Our challenge is maintaining the discipline of that construct and delivering results tomorrow."

He said two things must happen for interagency data sharing and e-government projects to succeed. First, agency executives and industry must present a united front to Congress to get past a stovepiped appropriations process.

"Policy-makers listen to us individually. We need critical recommendations jointly endorsed and put forward. We need to do this in self defense if nothing else."

Second, industry must get past a work-order mentality and tell an agency when it issues poor specs.

Bollinger said that one agencywide software release required 23 versions in the first year because of change orders resulting from bureaus each wanting local bells and whistles.

"The contractor should have said, 'You haven't gotten your requirements right.' " Bollinger said. "That's an obligation contractors have. You need to tell us how to do it right, not just give us what we ask for."

Hastings said that when a request for proposals is issued for INS' planned Exit/Entry System, he hoped contractors would propose end-to-end systems, not simply pieces of technology.

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