Federal Agencies’ Communications Network Flawed

According to a story by the Associated Press, a report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine concluded that the wireless network meant to connect the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Treasury is at risk of failure. The three departments agreed in 2004 to create the $5 billion network as a secure nationwide communications network for use by 81,000 federal agents in all the states and territories. The report concluded that the project, known as the Integrated Wireless Network (IWN), is not only doomed to fail, but that the partnership between Justice and Homeland Security is fractured.

“Despite over six years of development and more than $195 million in funding, the IWN project does not appear to be on the path to providing the seamless … system that was envisioned,” said Fine.

Fine also criticized the Justice Department for spending significant amounts of money to maintain its existing, antiquated system rather than developing the IWN project, and Homeland Security’s use of funds for its priority locations, rather than an integrated system.

The safety of law enforcement officers is at stake, according to the report, since the current communications systems have “limited functionality, diminished voice quality and weak security, making them vulnerable to hacking.”

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