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« Dallas Rolls Out Wireless Video Surveillance | Main | Motorola Adds Wireless Video Surveillance to Municipal Kit »

March 27, 2007

Federal Integrated Wireless Network at High Risk of Failure

By Glenn Fleishman

The Justice Department’s inspector general gives national law enforcement wireless network poor marks: $200m has been spent with little to show for it. The majority of the $772m allotted to the program was used to support the older, existing networks. The system’s overall cost will be $5b and take until 2021 to complete; 81,000 agents of the Justice, Homeland Security, and Treasury departments are to use the network. The Department of Homeland Security can’t wait for progress and is charting its own course.

Private analysts now peg the full cost at $30b, according to The Washington Post. The project is 15 months behind at present. In-fighting among departments, a long-standing problem in federal law enforcement, is one of the factors, the inspector general found.

A number of large-scale federal projects have been abandoned in recent years after hundreds of millions or even billions being spent, including an FBI project mentioned in this article, and the next-generation air-traffic control system. Software projects don’t scale, and integrated software/hardware projects are always orders of magnitude greater than expected.

For a great book on why projects like this fail, and how to avoid some of those problems, read Scott Rosenberg’s Dreaming in Code. He explains how software complexity has outstripped program management capability.

Posted by Glennf at March 27, 2007 1:48 PM

Categories: Radios

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