This week’s Government Computer News has a number of good articles including:

– an editorial on why it’s good business for municipalities to offer free public Wi-Fi.

– an analysis of the next wave of enterprise computer storage (serial storage).

– a nice article comparing PDAs (your BlackBerry may be obsolete).

But the real gem here is GCN’s update on the procurement process for the FBI’s new case file management system.

Recall that the FBI was forced to scrap their original virtual case file system (VCF) after going in the hole for $104 million (those funds will never be recovered). Last week the FBI sent out a preliminary RFP for the “new” system (dubbed Sentinel), and final bids are expected in late August. Sentinel sounds a lot like VCF, despite FBI CIO, Zalmai Azmi’s claim that, “Sentinel is a lot different from VCF”.

FBI CIO Zalmai Azmi

At the heart, what we are talking about here is an electronic system of FBI case management to replace the current, arcane process of having paper case files. In your own work environment, can you imagine the frustration if you had to transfer information to co-workers through fax machines rather than PDFs and email?

That’s the current state of communications at the FBI.

In a world where crime has become increasingly transient and globalized is it too much to ask that our federal law enforcement have the technology to communicate across boundaries and borders? (and we’re not even talking about recent developments, people have been on the move for a good thirty years, the technology to match this speed has been available for a good ten years to the public, longer if you include the military).

What amazes me is that Government Computer News seems to be the only publication that has taken an interest in the seriousness of this issue. For the past year, as the FBI has continued to stubble, GNC has been there consistently reporting the story.


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