Auditors: FBI's enterprise architecture still needs help

The FBI has forged ahead in the task of building an enterprise architecture, but the bureau needs to strengthen its efforts in the area or risk developing faulty systems, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. GAO auditors stated in 2003 that the FBI lacked both an EA and the means to develop one.

The report, titled FBI is Taking Steps to Develop an Enterprise Architecture, but Much Remains to Be Accomplished, acknowledged that the bureau:

  • has established an EA program office

  • is creating a written and approved policy governing architecture development

  • is developing descriptions of the agency's current and future enterprise architectures.

But the GAO auditors condemned the bureau's method of managing the contractor that is developing the EA, saying the agency's method of working with the contractor on successive versions of the plan until it is done 'is not effective and efficient.'

According to GAO, 'Until effective contractor management policies and procedures are defined and implemented on the EA program, the likelihood of the FBI effectively and efficiently producing a complete and enforceable architecture is diminished.'

The bureau issued a written response stating that while it appreciated the auditors' recommendations, its contracting approach has the benefit of shifting risks to the vendor. The bureau letter explained that agency officials believe the EA program is on track to improve systems management at the FBI.

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