Secret Service Using 1980s Mainframes

ABC News reveals that a “classified review” shows that the Secret Service’s computers are so outdated that they are only fully operational 60 percent of the time:

According to officials at the time of the review, the unofficial cost estimate to update the system was $187 million. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the Secret Service, has so far allocated $69 million, including $36 million in the department’s most recent budget request.

A Secret Service contracting memo from Oct. 16, 2009, reviewed by ABC News found, “Currently, 42 mission-oriented applications run on a 1980s IBM mainframe with a 68 percent performance reliability rating. Networks, data systems, applications, and IT security do not meet current operational requirements. The IT systems lack appropriate bandwidth to run multiple applications to effectively support USSS offices and operational missions around the world.”

Once the envy of the entire world, American spy agencies have undergone decades of neglect. The FBI’s systems were woefully out of date on 9/11. In 2005 they canned the $170 million Virtual Case File project and began working on a $451 million Sentinel project. This project is actually going well, with the first phase completed with all functionality on time and within budget, and the second phase expected to deliver more functionality than originally planned yet extend the milestone date only 3 months.

Given Big Government’s track record on efficient spending and meeting promises, I will wait well past delivery to declare success.

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Posted February 26th, 2010 Filed in Intelligence