Panel: Significant Progress Made in Transforming the FBI

The FBI has made significant progress in strengthening its counterterrorism program, working jointly with other federal, state and local law enforcement, and integrating intelligence into its mission.

But a panel at the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) commissioned by Congress to track the progress of the FBI reorganization found the lag in developing effective information technology capabilities is adversely affecting management functions and the pace of transformation.

The panel, chaired by former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, has released Transforming the FBI: Progress and Challenges, which lays out findings and recommendations focused on three principal areas: counterterrorism, intelligence and security. The panel also examined the reports of the congressional intelligence committees, the 9/11 Commission and other reviews which led to several panel observations related to the FBI's transformation and the war on terrorism (see for the report). Among the recommendations:

  • The FBI should continue to be the key domestic intelligence agency responsible for terrorism, counterintelligence, cyber and transnational crimes and other top national security threats.
  • FBI joint operations with federal, state and local authorities should expand beyond counterterrorism issues to other critical law enforcement activities.
  • The FBI should place increased emphasis on a wide range of human resources needs.

"For more than 2 years, NAPA has worked closely with the FBI in its efforts to transform from reactive criminal investigations toward proactive prevention of terrorism, espionage and cyber crimes," said Thornburgh. "Institutionalizing cultural change, harnessing the latest technologies and reaching out to law enforcement at every level remain ongoing yet critical challenges. The panel lays out a package of concrete and interrelated recommendations that the bureau can take to move to the next level."

This year, NAPA's panel will examine the FBI's Office of Intelligence, long-term resource planning and budgeting, bureau-wide human resources management and field structure .

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