Wednesday, January 11, 2012

IWN Project Stopped? UPDATE

I recently came across what appears to be evidence of a halt in the Integrated Wireless network (IWN) project. A statement made by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is posted on the US Senate web site here:

In this statement of May 4th, 2011, Senator Grassley mentions a "stop work" order being issued for the IWN program, and officially "suspended" by the Department of Justice Wireless Management Office. The statement portion pertaining to the IWN appears below.

The statement also indicates that the project "will end without completing it's original goal". So does this mean the IWN project is officially stopped and finished? I'm still searching for confirmation on this question. We will have to see what the future brings. Stay tuned...

Oversight Hearing of the Department of Justice

Prepared Statement of Ranking Member Chuck Grassley
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
 Hearing on Oversight of the Department of Justice
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Integrated Wireless Network (IWN):

I would also like to discuss what appears to be a new failed IT procurement at the department.  The integrated wireless network program (IWN) was recently suspended by the Department of Justice and it appears that the project will end without completing its original goal to integrate the wireless radios for all federal law enforcement agencies.  The IWN program was designed to implement a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and create a single interoperable communication system between federal law enforcement agencies.  However, the Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Office of Management and Budget have all expressed concerns with the program and labeled it as high risk.  To date, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent, and there is no part of the country where all federal law enforcement radios are interoperable.  The contractors have argued, as expected, that they just need more money and time and there are rumors that the department now wants to issue sole source contracts to companies just to buy equipment.  I want to know more about this stop work order and whether the stop work order will simply be used to sole source a contract for radios to vendors outside the original IWN program.  I am concerned that this program is starting to look a lot like other failed IT programs at the department—hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent with nothing to show for it. 


A source found this article on line from the Washington Post that indicates any further expansion of the IWN project is currently on hold:
According to the article sources, “given future funding uncertainty” the Justice Department was ceasing design work on the next stage, in Maryland and Virginia, and would not begin planning for the third stage deployment in the Midwest, which had been slated for 2012. Apparently there is enough funding to continue with the current IWN operation in the Washington DC National Capitol Region and the Pacific Northwest.

An article has appeared on-line that summerizes what I found earlier:
This article links to a new report by the DpJ Office of the Inspector General. That report can be found here:
Unfortunately, this report has much of the technical information that appeared in an earlier OIG report redacted for public release.

And more industry reporting on the subject: