DOJ Report Says IWN Hasn’t Met Goals, Future Uncertain (1/23/12)
Monday, January 23, 2012 | Comments

Despite costing over $356 million over 10 years, the Integrated Wireless Network (IWN) program has not achieved its intended results, said a new report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General.

The DOJ law-enforcement agents continue to use radio systems and unsecure communications equipment that are more than 15 years old, the report summary said. “In addition, the department’s inability to deploy IWN nationwide has affected the department’s ability to comply with the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) narrowbanding requirement and upgraded encryption standard. The department’s proposed FY 2012 budget recommends suspending further development of IWN, thus decreasing the likelihood that the program will be fully deployed.”

The IWN program began in 1998 as a partnership among the departments of Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security. “The IWN program is no longer a joint program with the departments of the Treasury and Homeland Security,” the DOJ report said. In 2010, DOJ planned to deploy IWN in the National Capital Region without DHS involvement.

The president’s 2012 budget, in recommending the suspension of the IWN program, cited current technology alternatives, such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and the proposed national public-safety broadband plan, neither of which existed when IWN was originally conceived, the report said.

“There is still a need for an improved communications system, and while IWN may no longer be the best solution, a solution is desperately needed,” the report said. “The department should explore other available solutions, such as 3G and 4G LTE along with the national public-safety broadband plan in development, while considering the unique needs of law-enforcement personnel.”

The full report is available here.

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