Special Bulletin: Digital Investigations

Steven Burke, of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, said one of the ways to overcome those challenges is with good business relationships among government customers and external data owners.

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The Digital Investigations Branch in HHS’ Office of Inspector General has a team of highly skilled digital investigators to collect and analyze electronically stored information to support criminal investigations.

For David Case, deputy inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs, investigations are a mix of sifting through documents and machine-generated data, and talking to individuals.

Data is a blessing and a curse, but some entities are using it successfully, and changing their approach.

Among the most ubiquitous of federal agency activities are investigations. The term brings to mind law enforcement agencies, of course, such as the FBI or the IRS criminal division. Thought of more broadly, investigations also include oversight activities by inspectors general or the Government Accountability Office, program examinations by analysts or congressional staffers, and casework by agencies as diverse as the Merit Systems Protection Board or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Defense Department’s criminal investigations always had the goal of evidence data, but the traditional methods of investigation are now merging new forms of data analysis. The Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) sees several changes ahead as a result.