General Dynamics has won a contract to implement wireless services for a joint network program between the US Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Treasury.
The departments’ Integrated Wireless Network will support interoperable wireless communications for federal law enforcement, connecting authorities with state and local agencies. The program–projected to cost $5bn through 2021–includes federal agencies such as the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Internal Revenue Service. It is expected to replace these agencies’ legacy communications with a system of radio, cellular, and other mobile devices.
The award is the third stage of the IWH program. In the first stage, four vendors were chosen to submit proposals. The second stage saw General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin receive indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity deals in 2006 to design systems for a certain region. Now, in the third state, General Dynamics has edged out to become the sole integrator for IWN.
A report last month from the Justice Department’s inspector general, however, found that the IWN project, already 15 months behind schedule is at high risk of failing to secure an integrated wireless network for use by DoJ, DHS, and Treasury, due to funding uncertainty and the loose structure of the IWN program, in which the departments have different funding methods and are still buying wireless serves outside of IWN.
Despite over 6 years of development and more than $195 million in funding for IWN, apart from one pilot system, DOJ law enforcement agents have received little in the way of new, secure, compliant radio equipment through IWN, the report states.
The report recommended that the three departments better coordinate their funding and responsibilities under the project; barring this, it recommends DoJ notify Congress that the joint effort is not viable and each department develop their own strategies.