FBI Reorganization:

Initial Steps Encouraging but Broad Transformation Needed

GAO-02-865T: Published: Jun 21, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 2002.

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Laurie E. Ekstrand
(202) 512-2758


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

This testimony discusses the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) proposed reorganization and realignment plans. The FBI's plans are part of a broader effort to fundamentally transform the federal government in light of recent trends and long-range fiscal challenges. As it moves into the 21st century, the country faces several key trends, including global interdependence; diverse, diffuse, and asymmetrical security threats; rapidly evolving science and technologies; dramatic shifts in the age and composition of the population; important quality of life issues; and evolving government structures and concepts. The second phase of the reorganization focuses on major aspects of FBI's realignment efforts, including realigning staff, building analytical capacity, the National Infrastructure Protection Center, and recruiting. Other issues include (1) major communications and information technology improvements, (2) development of an internal control system that will ensure protection of civil liberties as investigative constraints are loosened, and (3) management of the ripple effect that changes at the FBI will have on other aspects of the law enforcement community. As the FBI moves to effectively meet the realities and challenges since September 11, it should reconsider employing the major elements of successful transformation efforts used by leading organizations. These elements include strategic planning; strategic human capital management; senior leadership and accountability, realignment of activities, processes, and resources; and internal and external collaboration. Continuous internal, and independent external, monitoring and oversight are essential to ensure that the implementation of the transformation stays on track and achieves its purpose of making the FBI more proactive in the fight against terrorism without compromising civil rights.

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