Auditors urge further FBI system acquisition reforms

The FBI should curb its near-term systems purchases until it develops an integrated systems modernization plan and effective methods of acquiring and managing its IT assets, the Government Accountability Office has said.

GAO also recommended that CIO Zalmai Azmi operate with increased responsibility and authority to manage IT across the bureau.

The FBI responded that it has started to lay the foundation for improved IT operations and that much work remains to be done to complete system management reforms.

In its report released today, Foundational Steps Being Taken to Make Needed FBI Systems Modernization Management Improvements, GAO said each of the bureau's various divisions and offices carry out integrated planning separately.

'However, the plans do not provide a common, authoritative and integrated view of how IT investments will help optimize mission performance, and they do not consistently contain the elements expected to be found in effective systems acquisition plans,' according to the report.

The FBI's decentralized IT management could lead to the purchase of systems that would require costly rework before they could be effectively integrated, GAO said. Such rework would hamper efforts to modernize and transform the bureau.

The FBI said in a written response that it planned to complete a Strategic IT Plan this month that would be fully aligned with the bureau's overall Strategic Plan and the Justice Department's IT Strategic Plan.

The bureau added that it had centralized its IT resources under a CIO Office created in June (GCN story). That office oversees four major organizations: the IT Policy and Planning Office, the IT Systems Development office, the Program Management Office and the IT Operations Division, formerly the Information Resources Division.

'This new organizational structure provides for the integration and close coordination of all IT activities,' the bureau said.

Bureau officials, working with consultants, now are carrying out an enterprisewide portfolio analysis that will lead to recommendations about which of 86 legacy and operational applications formerly under IRD should be upgraded, replaced, outsourced or retired.

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