The Internal Effects of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Reprioritization
Audit Report 04-39
Office of the Inspector General
Chapter 2: Reprioritizing the FBI
On May 21, 2002, the FBI Director issued an e mail to all FBI employees containing the new ranking of Top Ten Priorities, which formally refocused the FBI's mission. The following chart contains the May 2002 priorities as well as the FBI investigative programs to which each primarily applies.
The Director described the top three priorities on the list as being the FBI's most critical challenges and the ones that would require the FBI to change its operational goals. The wording of these priorities highlights that the most important goals for the FBI are protection and prevention, a change from its traditional focus as a more reactive law enforcement agency. Priorities four through eight are more traditional law enforcement functions, which encompass much of the FBI's historical investigative activities and which have remained primarily under the direction of the Criminal Investigative Division. Priorities nine and ten were designated as the critical infrastructure to support all of the FBI's investigative operations.
The means by which the FBI's priorities are most directly translated into operation is via the establishment of Funded Staffing Levels (FSLs), the method by which the FBI allocates its personnel resources. As a reflection of the shift in priorities, the FBI stated that it would change the number of agents it had allocated to certain programs. For example, the events of 9/11 caused the Director to reevaluate current practices and reallocate a significant number of agent positions to terrorism-related areas. We reviewed this reallocation by comparing the FSL levels in FY 2000 to the levels in FY 2003.12 Identifying the FSL changes indicated whether the FBI was, in fact, adjusting its human resource planning to meet its new objectives.
Field Offices - In general, the FBI allocates its agent resources to the field by establishing FSLs within each of its program areas. One FSL equates to one funded employee, or one full time equivalent (FTE). This means that the FBI manager in charge of a program has a specific number of personnel to divide among the 56 field offices. The FBI Resource Management and Allocation (RMA) Office, with input from the Director, Headquarters' program managers, and SACs, is responsible for establishing the allocations annually as part of the budget planning and execution process. The FBI sets FSLs by program only for non supervisory agents in FBI field offices. Supervisory agent personnel are allocated to field offices in one lump sum as "management," while support personnel are allocated to field offices as clerical/administrative, investigative, or technical types of support.
FBI Headquarters - In general, Headquarters personnel are in administrative positions. Therefore, the FBI does not allocate Headquarters agent or support positions by investigative programs. Instead, Headquarters FSLs for both agents and support are allocated according to organizational divisions (e.g., the Criminal Investigative Division, Counterterrorism Division, and Finance Division).13 In part, these organizational divisions encompass the various programs to which FSLs are allocated in the field. For instance, the Criminal Investigative Division oversees, among others, the Organized Crime/Drug and Violent Crime/Major Offenders programs.
We obtained FSL data for FYs 2000 through 2003 FSLs for the FBI's Headquarters and field office personnel, which was further divided between agent and support positions.14 We analyzed this information and discuss it in the following sections. It should be noted that the FBI experienced an overall decline in its FSLs from FYs 2000 to 2001. According to an FBI official, this reduction was primarily a result of a mandate issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which has become known as the "hollow work year" issue. In short, OMB believed that the FBI did not have sufficient money to fund its level of authorized positions. Therefore, during FY 2001 (but prior to 9/11), OMB ordered the FBI to reduce its reported numbers of funded positions. The FBI adhered to this mandate and cut both agent and support funded positions within Headquarters and field offices (although the majority of the reductions occurred in positions allocated to field offices). In doing this, no employees were terminated. Instead, all cuts took the form of the elimination of existing unfilled vacancies.
The Headquarters and field office FSLs for our review period are noted in Exhibit 2 2. The combined total of 27,484 positions for FY 2003 reflects an increase of 243 compared to those allocated in FY 2000. As shown, significantly more personnel are assigned to field offices than FBI Headquarters. From FYs 2000 through 2003, field offices had approximately twice as many positions as those allocated to Headquarters.
As noted in Exhibit 2-2, the FBI allocated 18,439 of its personnel resources to its field offices during FY 2000 and 18,197 during FY 2003. Thus, there was a slight decrease in the number of funded positions in the field during this time period, amounting to a reduction of 242 positions. As previously mentioned, the FBI allocates its non supervisory field agents by particular program areas and its field support personnel by the type of support they provide. Exhibit 2 3 provides a detailed account of how these agent and support FSLs were allocated from FYs 2000 through 2003.
In FY 2003, the FBI's 56 field offices ranged in size from as large as 1,972 funded positions (New York City) to as small as 71 funded positions (Anchorage). In terms of funded positions, the FBI's five largest field offices were New York City, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami. Combined, these offices represented over 30 percent of the total resources allocated to the field. Exhibit 2 4 provides a list of the total FSLs allocated to each field office and FBI Headquarters for FYs 2000 and FY 2003.
Field Agent Positions - Exhibit 2-5 highlights the resources allocated for field agents during our review period. As shown, the total agent positions allocated to FBI field offices ranged from 10,474 in FY 2000 to 10,124 in FY 2003, reflecting a decrease of 350 funded positions. Except for a single year decrease from FY 2000 to FY 2001, the number of agents allocated to field offices has increased in each subsequent fiscal year.
Because the FBI's primary reason for transforming itself was to combat terrorism, we compared non supervisory field agent resources allocated for matters related to terrorism to those allocated for non terrorism work.18 Exhibit 2-6 illustrates what has occurred in each of these areas during our review period. In line with its shift in priorities, the FBI assigned additional non supervisory field agent positions for terrorism related matters and fewer agent resources for non terrorism related matters.19 In fact, the number of allocated positions for terrorism related matters has risen from FYs 2000 to 2002, with a slight decrease from FYs 2002 to 2003. In turn, the non-terrorism related agent staffing levels declined from FY 2000 to FY 2002, with a slight increase from FYs 2002 to 2003.
The figures in Exhibit 2 6 provide the totals for the broad areas to which non supervisory field agents were allocated, while Exhibit 2 7 provides a more in depth look. This data is separated according to the various programs to which the FBI allocates field agent positions. As with Exhibit 2 6, we excluded field office management from this analysis because the FBI does not allocate supervisory agent positions among the various programs in the field.
As can be seen in Exhibits 2-6 and 2-7, the overall reduction in field agent positions occurred in non terrorism related programs. These areas experienced an overall decrease of 1,035 agent positions from FYs 2000 to 2003, a change of 14 percent. Specifically, the funded components that fall under the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) lost more than 1,200 agent positions during our review period, which equates to a decline of almost 20 percent.24 While most of these funded positions lost from CID programs were moved to terrorism related work, some were redirected to the Cyber Division (i.e., the Computer Intrusion and Cyber Crime Programs) in FY 2002.
Conversely, the overall number of non supervisory field agent positions allocated to terrorism related matters increased significantly from FYs 2000 to 2003. More than 560 additional funded positions were allocated to these areas in FY 2003, an increase of 25 percent. In particular, the number of allocated agent positions [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REDACTED].
Using data from Exhibit 2 7, we examined FSL changes during our review period at the program level and developed a graphical representation, which is presented in Exhibit 2 8. As shown, the combination of the White Collar Crime and Organized Crime/Drug programs accounted for more than half of the FBI's allocated non supervisory field agent positions during FY 2000. By FY 2003, however, the greatest number of allocated positions resided within the White Collar Crime and National Foreign Intelligence (NFIP) programs. Additionally, although it appears that the percentage of FBI funded agent positions encompassed by VCMO declined by approximately ten percent between FYs 2000 and 2003, this is not the case. In FY 2002, the FBI removed several sub programs from VCMO and placed them into the newly established Criminal Enterprise Investigations Program (CEI), which deals with violent criminal enterprises. Thus, a portion of VCMO agent resources was transferred to CEI. When combined, the percentage of FBI agent resources devoted to violent crime matters dropped by only two percent.
Field Support Positions - Based upon the data obtained from the FBI, FSLs for support resources in the field totaled 7,965 in FY 2000. In FY 2003, the total number of FSLs was 8,073, an increase of 108 positions since FY 2000. Exhibit 2 9 provides an overview of the total positions allocated to the field for support personnel.
As noted, in contrast to field agent positions, which are allocated at the program level, FSLs for field support personnel are divided into three categories: Clerical/Administrative, Investigative, or Technical. From the data collected by the FBI, it is not possible to determine if support personnel are working in areas that are terrorism or non terrorism related. However, we reviewed how the FBI allocated resources to its three support categories in each fiscal year of our review period and found very little change. As shown in Exhibit 2-9, on average approximately half of the support positions in the field were comprised of Clerical/Administrative positions. Another 35 percent were allocated to the Investigative category, which includes positions such as special surveillance groups and language specialists. The remaining 15 percent were assigned to the Technical area, which includes positions such as electronics technicians.
Headquarters agent and support personnel are allocated by divisions or offices, and in FY 2000 the FBI allocated 8,802 FSLs to these Headquarters components (about 30 percent of the FBI's total resources). Since that time, the resources allotted for Headquarters personnel have grown by 485 positions. As mentioned earlier, Headquarters' FSLs can be further broken down into agent and support personnel.
Headquarters Agent Positions - There was not a significant change in the number of agent positions allocated to FBI Headquarters between FYs 2000 and 2002. However, there was a significant increase during FY 2003 when the number of allocated agent resources expanded from 778 in FY 2002 to 1,131 in FY 2003. Thus, from FYs 2000 to 2003, the number of Headquarters agent positions increased by 309 positions, or nearly 40 percent.
Exhibit 2-10 shows the allocation of agent positions to Headquarters divisions for FYs 2000 and 2003, along with the corresponding changes over this time period. From this data, we noted that the FBI enhanced its agent staffing levels in those divisions with a direct connection to its new, terrorism-focused priorities. For instance, the Counterterrorism Division experienced an increase [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REDACTED]. Furthermore, the Counterintelligence Division was allocated [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REDACTED]. In turn, the FBI reduced the level of agent resources allocated to other divisions. For example, the Laboratory Division's FSLs decreased by 73 agent positions from FYs 2000 to 2003, a reduction of more than 50 percent. However, according to an FBI official, a portion of these positions were moved from the Laboratory Division to the Investigative Technology Division, which was established during FY 2003.
In terms of composition, based upon the FSL data the Counterterrorism Division was the largest FBI Headquarters Division during FY 2003, accounting for 20 percent of the total resources allocated for Headquarters agent personnel. From FYs 2000 to 2002, the Criminal Investigative Division was the largest FBI Headquarters division. From this perspective, the FBI has focused its FSL allocations according to its priorities.
Headquarters Support Positions - Unlike the FSLs for Headquarters agents, the total allotted positions for support personnel within FBI Headquarters did not significantly change from FYs 2000 to 2003. Over this time period, these resources increased by 176 positions, a growth of only 2 percent. However, as shown in Exhibit 2 11, the composition of Headquarters support positions did change to reflect the FBI's new priorities.
Similar to Exhibit 2 10, Exhibit 2 11 shows the allocation of support personnel positions to Headquarters divisions for FYs 2000 and 2003, along with the corresponding changes over this time period. These changes indicate the FBI also allocated its support staffing levels in accordance with terrorism driven priorities. For example, the Counterterrorism Division was allotted [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REDACTED], while the Counterintelligence Division received [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REDACTED]. At the same time, several new components were created and allocated support positions, including the Cyber Division and the Records Management Division. In turn, the FBI reduced the level of resources allocated to other divisions. Notably, the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs (OPCA) experienced the greatest reduction of support positions within any Headquarters component, a decline of 680 positions. However, according to an FBI official, the majority of these positions were from the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Section, which was moved from OPCA to the Records Management Division during FY 2002.
A significant part of the FBI's transformation plans included allocating its funded positions (or FSLs) in accordance with its new priorities. Based upon our analysis of the data, we found that the FBI had, in fact, deployed its FSLs according to its new priorities in both the funded positions allocated to field programs and those allocated to Headquarters divisions.
Within field offices, the FBI increased the number of agent positions it allocated for terrorism related matters. More than 560 additional funded positions were allocated to these types of areas in FY 2003 compared to FY 2000, an increase of 25 percent. In particular, the number of allocated agent positions [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REDACTED]. In turn, 1,035 fewer agent positions were allotted for non terrorism related matters. Specifically, the resources allocated to various programs within the Criminal Investigative Division dropped by almost 20 percent.
Similar changes occurred within FBI Headquarters as the FBI enhanced its Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence divisions by allotting additional agent and support resources to each. In particular, the Counterterrorism Division's FSLs increased [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REDACTED] in both agent and support positions, while the Counterintelligence Division experienced a growth [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REDACTED] in its allocated agent resources from FY 2000 to FY 2003. We further noted that while the FBI added a relatively small number of positions (10 agents and 51 support personnel) to the Criminal Investigative Division, it also reduced the agent and support resources to some Headquarters divisions, such as the FBI Laboratory.
Redacted and Unclassified