ADP Architecture:

Study Made for Immigration and Naturalization Service Needs Validation

IMTEC-88-21: Published: Apr 25, 1988. Publicly Released: May 25, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO assessed a Federal Computer Performance Evaluation and Simulation Center (FEDSIM) study to determine if it provided the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) with a basis for determining which computer system architecture best satisfied its current and projected information processing needs.

GAO found that the FEDSIM team: (1) concluded that a three-tiered architecture composed of central, regional, and local components would best serve INS requirements; (2) recommended that INS develop a prototype of a regional component, that would consist of four processors to implement the seven casework systems; and (3) recommended that INS implement local processing of the lookout system at two airports and one land port of entry. GAO also found that: (1) additional analysis was needed before INS implemented the proposed three-tier architecture; (2) although the credibility of the analysis, conclusions, and recommendations depended on the accuracy and reliability of work load and cost, the team relied on subjective judgments, rather than actual work-load and cost data as a basis for its projections; (3) both GAO and INS disagreed with the team's recommendation to implement local processing capabilities of the lookout system at two airports, since INS needed to collect and analyze more work-load and cost data before it could determine the system's cost-effectiveness at major airports; and (4) implementation of a local version of the lookout system at the land port of entry would provide data to test the feasibility of using machine-readable technology to improve the efficiency of the inspection process.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The recommendation was based on the fact that work load and cost data used in the FEDSIM study were too "soft" to justify implementing the architecture proposed by FEDSIM. In response, INS has deferred indefinitely any action to implement the study's proposal.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should, in approving INS plans, ensure that such plans include steps to: (1) analyze all pertinent work-load and cost data, including data acquired since the FEDSIM study, for the various INS mission-oriented systems, particularly for the seven casework and lookout systems; and (2) use the resulting analyses to evaluate alternative architectures, including those considered in the study.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice


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