OODA OriginalUncategorized

No (IT) Fear Here

The FBI’s CIO says we should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain:

The FBI must overhaul its personnel practices, shape up its enterprise architecture and embrace commercial software, or it risks another case management system fiasco, analysts inside and outside the government say. […]

In a recent letter [to Congress] GAO cited some risks, including an incomplete enterprise architecture and the need to hire qualified IT workers.

FBI CIO Zalmai Azmi responded to GAO’s concerns in a letter to GCN citing reforms that are intended to avoid another meltdown.

Azmi rejected the auditors’ view that the bureau’s fledgling enterprise architecture, poor contractor performance measurement and undermanned technology cadre were unequal to the task of launching Sentinel.

The technical issues associated with such a monster project aside, the human capital aspect of this issue seems to be getting short shrift. It has been my experience that the best IT talent doesn’t run towards disasters. Compounding the problem is the sorry state of IT pay in the government. Azmi acknowledges that the government and industry are competing for the same talent. Frankly it isn’t much of a competition. Of course you’re not expected to get rich working for Uncle Sam, but parity would be a nice goal. The fall out from such a situation is that the best go to work for contractors, who end up doing the real heavy lifting, and who have a vested interest in making Sential take a loooong time to come to fruition.

Sential could be a wild success, but based on all the indicators I’ve seen, I wouldn’t put money on it.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.