ATF makes IT transition to Justice
Marguerite R. Moccia, ATF's systems helmswoman
Henrik G. de Gyor
Marguerite R. Moccia has served as CIO of the same agency at two different Cabinet departments.
In February 2002, she was appointed CIO of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in the Treasury Department. During the governmentwide reorganization that created the Homeland Security Department, most of ATF's functions were transferred to the renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the Justice Department.
As ATF's CIO, Moccia has worked on a new capital investment management process and a fully electronic learning program for agency employees.
Moccia previously was ATF's deputy assistant director for management as well as deputy chief financial officer with responsibilities in personnel, security, space management, procurement and asset forfeiture. She earlier was the agency's emergency management officer. Moccia has served on Treasury's Capital Investment Review Board and the Chief Financial Officers Council. Within ATF, she served on the IRM Council and headed the Recruitment Steering Committee.
Before joining ATF in 1978, Moccia worked at the Defense Department for three years. She graduated from Catholic University of America with a bachelor's degree in psychology.GCN: How did you manage the IT transition when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms duties were split between the Justice and Treasury departments?
MOCCIA: Organizationally, it was quite a busy year. The alcohol and tobacco tax collection functions stayed at Treasury as the Tax and Trade Bureau, and the law enforcement functions moved to Justice.
So about 10 percent of our former ATF employees stayed behind, and we are cross-servicing them from an IT standpoint'enterprise architecture, information security, auditing services. We have never had the role of cross-servicing another agency before.
A lot of other agencies cross-service other agencies, but our agency was not structured for that task.GCN: How fully are ATF systems now integrated with Justice systems?
MOCCIA: It's been just over a year now, and we're a full participant in the Justice Department Law Enforcement Information Sharing Initiative. We parallel nicely with Justice because we're supporting the key Justice priorities of information security, information sharing and IT governance.
We share a number of systems with other federal, state, local and international law enforcement agencies. The Web-based Bomb and Arson Tracking System helps law enforcement officers and fire investigators identify serial bombing and arson offenders. BATS was developed with input from state and local law enforcement agencies.
We have another system called NIBIN, our National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. We work very closely with a lot of our counterparts that left Treasury, such as the Secret Service and the Customs Service. They are all part of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
We share a lot of networks with both the Homeland Security and Justice departments.GCN: What's your enterprise architecture plan?
MOCCIA: I believe we entered Justice with a fairly strong enterprise architecture. Right now we're at maturity Level 3, and we're trying to get to maturity Level 5 on the General Accounting Office EA Framework. Recently GAO reviewed federal governmentwide enterprise architecture programs, and ATF fared exceptionally well.
Our enterprise architecture at Justice is well defined, it's supported by senior executive management, and it's used to manage all ATF IT assets from a corporate perspective.GCN: How has ATF's seat management program evolved over the last couple of years?
MOCCIA: We are literally in transition from Unisys Corp. to EDS Corp. We awarded at the end of December, with EDS standing up independently this spring.
In our first seat management contract in 1998, we partnered with Unisys for a standardized seat for every ATF employee. We renewed in 2001 with a complete hardware refresh.
The third seat management contract is different from the previous two. It's been sort of an evolutionary process for ATF.
We asked Gartner [Inc. of Stamford, Conn.] to do a cost-of-ownership study of our infrastructure, and then we brought ATF to a managed service approach. The performance-based contract includes incentives and disincentives for the vendor. And the scope, the period of performance, the contract vehicle and the potential services all changed.
Our original seat management profile standardized everybody on the same desktop PC. The new approach involves profiling of employees. You have a different profile for an agent on the street than you would have for an auditor or chemist or engineer. So their PCs would be different.
Our systems will be refreshed when we need them refreshed. If an agent or a fire research engineer needs to have new technology every six months, maybe that would happen, versus an executive like me who could probably have the same PC for three years.GCN: What does your National Field Office Case Information System do?
MOCCIA: Every person in the field, from an agent to an inspector, has access to N-FOCIS for critical law enforcement information related to ATF's mission.
Through a lot of systems development work, we have reduced the operating cost. We keep moving more toward a paperless environment. We are continuing to integrate N-FOCIS with other databases at ATF'for example, with our national laboratories. Lab personnel will have immediate access to field investigative information to examine evidence and prepare reports in criminal prosecutions.
Justice has a high-priority case management system initiative, and we have given Justice the common fields that we're all using in our case management systems to determine what common standards we need to share information across the department.
We've initiated some plans to share information with the Justice Management Division's Joint Automated Booking System, which contains fingerprints. We've started a pilot with the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorneys case management system.
The technology is there, but the cultural change, obviously, has to be worked through the various law enforcement agencies. We have not gotten there yet.
We've got federal legislation requirements for effective management of our IT investments. Justice right now has a huge initiative to come up with one enterprise solution for all its financial management information systems, so agencies that have financial systems now might need to convert once that direction has been set.
Information security will always be a high concern. We'll probably never be in an ideal state, but we can have safe and secure information.
We've got incredibly constrained budgets. The cost of our IT infrastructure is tremendous, and there are a lot of demands. We're always searching for ways to drive down the costs.GCN: What are you doing to recruit and retain IT workers?
MOCCIA: At Treasury, ATF participated in a pay demonstration pilot program for the IT workforce. We used special compensation rates for a lot of our technical positions, which includes IT specialists, forensic chemists and forensic accountants.
We've been participating in that pilot for about three years now. It was legislated through Treasury appropriations and carried forward into Justice for ATF, and Justice is now looking at our program in light of where the Homeland Security and Defense departments have gone.GCN: What are your biggest IT challenges this year?
MOCCIA: The focus on sharing information internally and externally will eventually put a tremendous financial strain on our infrastructure. We and all other law enforcement agencies will have to figure out a cost-effective way to do that.
From an IT perspective, we're still transitioning into Justice. We're phasing out of some of our Treasury dependencies.
Also, transitioning to the new EDS contract is a challenge, as well as the organizational change management that will take place as an outcome of that contract.