Home News Testimony Information Technology and the FBI
  • Bob E. Dies
  • Assistant Director, Information Resources Division
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Before the Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Washington, DC
  • July 18, 2001

Good Morning, Chairman Leahy, Senator Hatch and other members of the Committee. My name is Bob Dies. And I have just completed one year with the FBI, after a career in the private sector. Former Director Freeh understood that the FBI infrastructure was not modern, and he asked me to join the Bureau to review the problems, prioritize the requirements, and begin implementing the necessary changes in an orderly fashion.

In the past decade, the Bureau has made significant investments in technology for programs in support of state and local law enforcement agencies, such as fingerprint identifications (known as IAFIS), the National Crime Information Center (known as NCIC 2000) and national gun checks (known as NICS). The FBI has also invested in technology for specific programs of national priority, such as crimes against children (known as Innocent Images), DNA databases for violent offender identification (known as CODIS), and the protection of our economic and physical infrastructure (known as the National Infrastructure Protection Center, or NIPC). What we need to do now is invest in the tools and support to satisfy the basic investigative needs of all our Special Agents and all their support personnel.

Overview

Let me provide you a quick overview of what I will be testifying to this morning:

  • The FBI knew that its Information Technology (IT) needed repair.
  • This past year we have initiated some changes in programs and management to begin correcting the basic IT problems and to position the FBI for the future. Our effort has as its foundation a program we have named Trilogy.
  • The Congress has supported us in this Trilogy effort, both with funding and with the active, thoughtful attention by this committee as well as others, for which, as someone new to government service, I am personally grateful.
  • We are on schedule and within costs to implement the Trilogy program improvements you authorized.
  • In light of recent events, we need to improve the FBI security operations and other areas, such as document management.
  • For security, we have created a single point of accountability, reporting to the Deputy Director and recruited a career security executive, Ken Senser, to run it. He has identified specific security enhancement initiatives needed to improve our security. He will speak more fully about security after my statement.

While we have taken steps to begin repairing our IT systems, these systems are in need of further modernization beyond that of Trilogy. And so again, we are in need of your good counsel and your support.

Current Situation

The FBI's job is investigating. Technology and computers are supposed to be tools the FBI uses to accomplish its job. The Bureau's future ability to deter and prevent crimes requires the use of modern information technology.

For a variety of reasons, the FBI information technology has had no meaningful improvements in over six years. Some parts of our system are much older:

  • More than 13,000 of our desktops are four to eight years old. They cannot run today's basic software. This means that many Agents accessing basic FBI data cannot use basic "ease of use" features that your teenagers have enjoy for years, such as using a mouse to move around the screen. The productivity loss and frustration that result are enormous.
  • The majority of our smaller offices are connected to our internal network at speeds equivalent to a 56KB modem -- a speed less than many individual Internet users have at their homes.
  • Agents are unable to electronically store much of investigative information into our primary investigative databases, including photographs, graphical and tabular data.

Fundamentally, at the dawn of the 21st century, the FBI is asking its Agents and support personnel to do their jobs without the tools other companies use or that you may use at home on your system.

What Trilogy Is

The Trilogy program you approved is the FBI's foundational 36-month program to upgrade the infrastructure technologies throughout the FBI. It consists of three components:

  • Network. High-speed connections linking the offices of the FBI.
  • Information Presentation. Hardware and software within each office to link each employee at their desk to the entire FBI.
  • User Applications. Several user-specific software tools to enhance each special agent's ability to organize, access and analyze information.

Trilogy is structured to enhance the investigative ability of agents and support personnel. It will provide the basic resources and fundamental tools the FBI needs to support investigations. Trilogy will provide basic relief for the shortcomings I just mentioned. Trilogy is a necessary foundation upon which other technology can be added.

We have awarded contracts to implement both parts of our Trilogy program, and all of us are anxious to begin seeing the results.

What Trilogy Is Not

The Trilogy Program enables the FBI to have workable system of information technology resources. Trilogy will not by itself give the FBI a world-class, state-of-the-art system.

Trilogy gives the FBI a foundation upon which it can build. Trilogy is the necessary first step toward state-of-the-art. The other components of a state-of-the-art system cannot be implemented without first implementing critical parts of Trilogy. You cannot build a house without first pouring the foundation. Trilogy is that foundation. As that foundation is being built, we can and should begin work on the follow-on components necessary to get the FBI more competitive.

Improved Security

We have much more to do than just Trilogy. We need to provide our investigative teams collaborative tools, better communications with other law enforcement agencies, and the means to know the collective experiences of the whole FBI, so they can always use the best practices of the FBI.

We also need to work on the basic "plumbing," the financial, accounting and personnel systems that we first put in place in the 1980s.

However, our most pressing need has come to light as a result of the investigative work done to bring about the arrest of Robert Hanssen. Our security operations must be strengthened Improved security is the most pressing need and a major focus area since the arrest of Robert Hanssen. The FBI has been active in improving its security. The Director created a taskforce last March of Assistant Directors to review FBI policies and procedures, and make recommendations. It made four recommendations in April:

 
  • This taskforce recommended establishing overall accountibility for security in one place, having a single function responsible for knowing all the pieces to the security puzzle. This has been done. The Security Program reports directly to the Deputy Director. Ken Senser, a career security executive from the CIA, has been recruited to take on this responsibility.
  • Security encompasses more than the technology it uses. Given the establishment of a overall single accountibility function, it is time to tighten the security policy management system. The foundation for a good security program is to have sound policies in place, and to enforce them. Policy and procedures must be established, against which technology can be introduced to enforce and monitor.

  • This taskforce recommended immediate investment in training and education on security throughout the Bureau.

  • This taskforce recommended it assist the Security Program in prioritizing the areas necessary to get us where we should be on security. Ken Senser has identified several areas of attention for improvements. Ken will discuss these in a few minutes.

The information used for these policies and procedures will be developed as rapidly as possible, within the constraint of first getting it right. Any proposed solutions will be structured to incorporate additional recommendations that may come from the Webster Commission. However, we are not waiting for those recommendations before taking meaningful actions to enhance FBI data security.

Summary

Today, our IT infrastructure is in need of repair and our approach to IT planning and funding has been less than adequate. Our IT infrastructure upgrade program, "Trilogy," represents the significant step in what we believe should be a continuing effort to keep pace with technology changes and to stay ahead of increasingly IT-sophisticated criminals.

Recent public events clearly indicate a need to quickly go beyond Trilogy's infrastructure plan to incorporate a state-of-the-art IT security process and a world-class records management system. Those would be our first two priorities. We can then turn our attention to modernizing and integrating the Bureau's remaining investigative, administrative and financial systems. Those needs for those systems indicate that we should prioritize first on other investigative systems followed by the administrative and financial systems.

Such an effort requires a continual commitment to change that has been difficult for the FBI culture in the past; although I am new; I believe the Bureau is up to this challenge. Such an effort also requires a continual commitment from Congress to support and encourage the changes.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to address this Committee. I look forward to your continued interest in our efforts, and your thoughtful advice on how we can best improve the technology systems in the FBI. Thank you.

 
Recent Testimonies
09.18.14
TSC's Role in the Interagency Watchlisting and Screening Process Christopher M. Piehota, Director, Terrorist Screening Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation Security, Washington, D.C.
09.17.14
Worldwide Threats to the Homeland James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Homeland Security Committee, Washington, D.C.
09.10.14
Cyber Security, Terrorism, and Beyond: Addressing Evolving Threats to the Robert Anderson, Jr., Executive Assistant Director, Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Washington, D.C.
07.16.14
FBI Efforts to Combat Elder Fraud Joseph S. Campbell, Deputy Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Washington, D.C.
07.15.14
Taking Down Botnets Joseph Demarest, Assistant Director, Cyber Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Washington, D.C.
06.11.14
Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C.
05.21.14
Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C.
05.13.14
Combating Economic Espionage and Trade Secret Theft Randall C. Coleman, Assistant Director, Counterintelligence Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Washington, D.C.
04.16.14
The FBI’s Role in Cyber Security Richard P. Quinn, National Security Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Philadelphia Field Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Cyber Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, Washington, D.C.
03.27.14
FBI Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2015 James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Statement Before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Washington, D.C.
More