The FBI's New Tech Team - InformationWeek

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12/2/2009
11:12 AM
John Foley
John Foley
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The FBI's New Tech Team

The FBI's newly appointed CTO, Jeffrey Johnson, brings an outside-the-beltway background to the job--he worked for Lehman Brothers, a hard-charging technology innovator, until last year. FBI CIO Chad Fulgham also worked at Lehman Bros., as well as at IBM and JPMorgan Chase. Look for their private sector experience to be reflected in the intelligence agency's IT strategy and execution.

The FBI's newly appointed CTO, Jeffrey Johnson, brings an outside-the-beltway background to the job--he worked for Lehman Brothers, a hard-charging technology innovator, until last year. FBI CIO Chad Fulgham also worked at Lehman Bros., as well as at IBM and JPMorgan Chase. Look for their private sector experience to be reflected in the intelligence agency's IT strategy and execution.Next week marks the one-year anniversary that Fulgham was appointed CIO by FBI director Robert Mueller. We haven't heard much from Fulgham because he's been heads down working on a handful on key IT initiatives. I met Fulgham a few weeks ago at FBI headquarters in Washington, and it's clear that he's driving technology innovation at the agency with a sharp focus on end results.

It's worth noting who these guys are because their backgrounds point to the skill set, and the mind set, of IT leadership at the FBI. Fulgham came to the FBI from Lehman Bros., where, as senior VP of IT, his responsibilities included ID management, messaging, wireless, unified communications, information security architecture, IT business continuity, and Windows Server engineering and support. At IBM, Fulgham managed Big Blue's Computer Emergency Response Team, while at JPMorgan Chase he led security engineering projects. In September, Fulgham was named to InformationWeek's Government CIO 50.

Johnson joined the FBI in August of this year, and last month he was appointed CTO and assistant director of the FBI's Office of IT Systems Development. He's responsible, among other things, for developing standards for "continuous innovation." At Lehman, Johnson was a Windows Server engineer and unified communications manager.

Both of these guys have something else in common: They're graduates (1996 and 1998, respectively) of the U.S. Naval Academy, and each served five years in the Navy before moving to Wall Street.

What this means is that the FBI's CIO and CTO cut their teeth with the U.S. military before moving to the financial sector, which has long been on the leading edge of IT. (That includes Lehman Bros., despite its business failure.) That mix of public and private sector experience, of driving new technologies into the organization, and of moving at the pace of The Street hold great potential for the FBI.

The FBI has some well known technology challenges on its plate, not the least of which is its Sentinel case management system, which has fallen behind schedule, though to be fair, Sentinel was launched before Fulgham and Johnson came on board. It will be interesting to see not only if and how the FBI's tech team is able to successfully complete such projects, but also what new ideas and technologies they push to the fore.



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