The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has pinpointed three top challenges the agency plans to address as it gets ready to make more use of mobile technologies, an agency senior technology lead said today.

Katie Noyes, the FBI’s senior strategic advisor for technology policy, talked about a range of fifth-generation (5G) wireless technologies – plus coming sixth-gen tech (6G) – that will help the bureau become more efficient in its operations, but that will also bring their own security risks.

“At the FBI we want to ensure that our environment is prepared for not just the benefits, but the risks associated with technologies like 5G, 6G, Wi-Fi,” Noyes said during a hybrid event co-hosted by ATARC and the Federal Mobility Group (FMG) Community of Practice chartered by the Federal Chief Information Officers Council.

“The way that we look at the challenges that come with securing our environment when using these technologies, it’s all about preparing your environment,” she said.

The first challenge the Federal law enforcement agency plans to address is determining how it can preserve the capability to conduct their daily operations while utilizing new mobile technologies. In this effort, Noyes said, the FBI needs to understand how the technology impacts mission outcomes, and then prepare for that.

“In thinking about technologies like 5G, 6G, and Wi-Fi – we have started looking how they’re going to impact our mission set. We did a sort of best practices and then we looked at [how to] prioritize the top issues that we needed to start preparing our environment for,” Noyes said.

The second challenge is maintaining superiority, especially against adversarial entities that can also adopt the same technologies. Therefore, it’s essential that agencies like the FBI maintain a substantial lead in this area, Noyes explained.

“In this area, we’re going to be looking at leveraging technologies – and trying to leapfrog to the front of the line, which is what we’re doing in the FBI,” she said.

The final challenge that the agency plans to address is protecting its workforce, said Noyes, who explained that in this new digital environment, individuals leave behind digital footprint that if not secured, could inform criminal or adversarial entities of the government’s operations.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.