Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Readiness of FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System Can Be Improved

AIMD/GGD-00-49 Published: Dec 16, 1999. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 1999.
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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) efforts to ensure that its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is year 2000 compliant.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Justice To reduce the risk of year 2000 disruption to NICS and the FBI's ability to perform presale firearm background checks, the Attorney General should direct the Director, FBI, to pursue alternative means to minimizing the risks associated with not conducting end-to-end tests with all of NICS' business partners, such as assessing the year 2000 readiness of state partners and defining the boundaries of an end-to-end test event to include only internal FBI systems.
Closed – Implemented
To minimize the risks of not conducting end-to-end testing of NICS, the FBI assessed the Year 2000 readiness of its business partners and conducted interface testing with them for its National Crime Information Center 2000 (NCIC 2000). NCIC 2000 communications interface is the primary interface between state point-of-contacts and the NICS system.
Department of Justice To reduce the risk of year 2000 disruption to NICS and the FBI's ability to perform presale firearm background checks, the Attorney General should direct the Director, FBI, to reflect in the NICS' year 2000 contingency plan the added risks associated with the FBI's decisions concerning alternatives to conducting end-to-end tests with all business partners.
Closed – Implemented
At the time that we issued the report, the FBI had committed to revising its NICS Year 2000 contingency plan by November 1999. However, the FBI did not respond to our follow-up requests for documentation supporting its stated intentions.
Department of Justice To reduce the risk of year 2000 disruption to NICS and the FBI's ability to perform presale firearm background checks, the Attorney General should direct the Director, FBI, to develop and test the NICS' year 2000 contingency plan in accordance with GAO's and Department of Justice guidance, including specifying such important elements as precise trigger events and procedures for training contingency teams and monitoring system performance during the rollover period.
Closed – Implemented
At the time that we issued the report, the FBI had committed to revising its NICS Year 2000 contingency plan to include the limitations cited in the report. The FBI planned to revise its contingency plan by November 1999. However, the FBI did not respond to our follow-up requests for documentation supporting its intentions.

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