The Government’s Technology Agency Admits It Has Lousy Technology

The FCC’s aging technology leaves it vulnerable to attacks.

An unidentified employee lifts an old computer monitor for testing at RecycledPCparts.com August 1, 2002 in Opa Locka, Florida. The company, one of about 30 in the U.S., takes in outdated computer parts from businesses and organizations in the southeastern U.S., tests and recycles the parts, prepares the computers for re-use, and finally exports them for sale in 26 countries. It is illegal for large companies to dump old computer parts in landfills, so they must turn to demanufacturers like RecycledPCparts.com for computer disposal. Business for the company has increased so much since their 1998 inception that they are getting ready for their eighth move to a larger warehouse. (Photo by David Friedman/Getty Images)
National Journal
Laura Ryan
Add to Briefcase
Laura Ryan
March 27, 2014, 12:39 p.m.

The Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion is charged with reg­u­lat­ing the na­tion’s tech­no­logy and tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions in­dus­tries. But in house, the com­mis­sion’s own equip­ment is so de­fi­cient that its lead­er came to Con­gress this week plead­ing for an up­grade.

“We just simply can­not go on this way,” the vis­ibly frus­trated FCC chair­man told a Sen­ate Ap­pro­pri­ations sub­com­mit­tee on Thursday.

At hear­ings this week be­fore the House and Sen­ate Ap­pro­pri­ations sub­com­mit­tees that handle his agency’s budget, Chair­man Tom Wheel­er told Con­gress that the FCC needs $13.5 mil­lion to up­grade its “an­ti­quated” tech­no­logy sys­tem.

Vul­ner­ab­il­ity to cy­ber­at­tacks is a top con­cern for Wheel­er. For ex­ample, many of the FCC’s com­puters still use Win­dows XP, the 13-year-old op­er­at­ing sys­tem that Mi­crosoft is end­ing sup­port for on April 8.

“As a res­ult of my be­ing here today … we will see a pre­cip­it­ous in­crease in the amount of at­tacks on the FCC web­site,” Wheel­er said Thursday. “If we have re­spons­ib­il­ity for the eco­nom­ic en­gine of the 21st cen­tury, we can’t be sit­ting here … ex­posed as we are.”

The out­dated tech­no­logy is also a drag on the agency’s ef­fi­ciency.

Im­prov­ing the agency’s ef­fi­ciency and ac­count­ab­il­ity is a high pri­or­ity for Con­gress and the new chair­man, and even Re­pub­lic­an Com­mis­sion­er Ajit Pai agreed that the sorry state of its IT makes it dif­fi­cult to achieve those goals.

Ac­cord­ing to Wheel­er, the agency has more than 200 dif­fer­ent com­puter sys­tems and 40 per­cent of its tech­no­logy is at least 10 years old. Money not spent on up­grades next year will be spent with­in two years on ex­pens­ive main­ten­ance.

Cit­ing his long ca­reer in the private sec­tor, Wheel­er said, “There is not a busi­ness in Amer­ica that would put up with this.”

What We're Following See More »
DRAFT WRITTEN BY NSC
WH Never Released NIger Statement
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"A staffer at the National Security Council drafted a statement of condolence for President Donald Trump to make almost immediately after a deadly ambush of U.S. soldiers in Niger earlier this month. But Trump never issued the statement, and, some two weeks later, is now in hot water over his initial silence on the soldiers’ deaths and alleged controversial comments he made to a widow of one of the dead."

Source:
TOXICOLOGY REPORT PENDING
2 US Navy Sailors Die of Drug Overdose Same Week
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Two US sailors based at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia have died of apparent drug overdoses in the last week, according to a US Navy public affairs officer." The submarine force and Kings Bay leadership have ordered more drug tests and are taking the events very seriously.

Source:
13.5 PERCENT OF U.S. POPULATION IMMIGRANTS
U.S. Immigrant Population Hit 43.7 Million in 2016
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS
Source:
ART THERAPY, HEALING WITH THE HEART
Second Lady Pence Rolls Out Initiative
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
SHOOTER STILL AT LARGE
Five Shot at Maryland Office Park
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login