View Full Version : ATF Adding More NFA Branch Staff, Reducing Backlog, Re-Designing eForms System. Again.

18 April 2014, 21:25
Story at The Truth About Guns (http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/04/foghorn/atf-adding-nfa-branch-staff-reducing-backlog-re-designing-eforms-system/#more-311861)

I didn't investigate the changes they mention but you have to wonder where the funding is suddenly coming from for this ... my guess is the NSA.

From the ATF letter: "Each Wednesday, a day selected based on use patterns and with the input of our customers, ATF will close the system for routine maintenance and processing."

As a computer expert, I am appalled by these numbers. In my industry an entire weekday of downtime is completely absurd.

When I was an Enterprise system administrator for the Air Force we were held to a standard of "Three Nines". This means 99.9% availability in any given time frame: High Availability on WikiPedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_availability). This is a pretty common industry standard. 99.9% availability translates to 8.76 hours PER YEAR.

Now you can see why I think being down for a full day each week is absurd.

19 April 2014, 15:02
MoxyDave, I'm not sure if you've had any experience with .gov computer contracts and/or usage, but the world of government computer usefulness is an entirely different universe. Over-bidding and under-delivering (or maybe it's Under-bidding and under-delivering) is just the way things seem to be in .gov computer contracts. I was amused by the "revelations" concerning how a government contracted system couldn't keep up with demand when the ACA system was rolled out, especially when so many states didn't start their own system (note: this is independent of actual opinions of ACA as a law).

Some examples I've "enjoyed" over my last 16 years include:

-A service wide computer system where you can log into any computer anywhere in the world and have access to your account. Sounds great, except that over the course of many years, the company that bid on the continuing maintenance wasn't able to actually keep up with bandwidth or even actual usefulness of the workstations. 512 MB of RAM and a Celeron processor isn't going to make Win2K run any faster. Again, under-bid, over-promise.

-Numerous web-based user interface systems to allow end users to pull info from various places to conduct business. The UI almost always starts out as less than intuitive and then someone starts injecting Web 2.0 stuff into it. Not helpful when you're running a version of IE that's at least 2 versions behind what's out there for the general public.

-Being told to log in and conduct <insert important, time-critical training>, only to find out that the training software (usually Shockwave/Flash/etc) was too far ahead of the installed software on said international computer system.

The list goes on and on. I've used the ATF's eFile for one Form 1 so far. It was pretty horrific and was (and still is) incredibly slow. I don't blame the poor people at NFA branch, as this crap happens well-above everyone's paygrade. But it's just another chapter in our very broken government acquisition system.

19 April 2014, 22:08
I'm not a computer guy, but it seems like this is way more complicated than it needs to be. Why can't shit just get approved within a week or two? Retailers ship out tens of thousands of packages a week and I'm betting their error rate is pretty good. The ATF on the other than has months and months and they can't speed this up? Or they have to take the entire efile system down? Makes no sense to me, but I guess that's government for you.

20 April 2014, 12:43
My example of a government system is the CHCS I medical system used by the U.S. Army and USAF. They were working on upgrading CHCS I to CHCS II when I joined back in 1987. It took the nearly 20 years to get CHCS II out and they renemed it ALHTA. There were multiple contracts and vendors involved all building on top of the CHCS foundation. The new system is usable but it is bulky, clunky and at times confusing. I hope they get the e-Forms website right this time around. By right I mean plan on having a large amount of traffic and form submissions. Education on ownership of NFA items has caused an increase in interest and demand. I see this as a good thing but we need the ATF to get there act together and process our forms in a timely manner. We are paying a double tax for their services after all (tax stamp + Federal income tax).

21 April 2014, 13:14
Did they use the same software designer used for Obama Care?

21 April 2014, 19:31
Did they use the same software designer used for Obama Care?Helen Keller ?