Case management projects and shared-data standard gather steam

The Justice Department and the FBI are looking to set a standard by which law enforcement officials can more easily share information and let other agencies develop similar systems based on the requirements.

The agencies are preparing two requests for proposals under the Case Management Line of Business Consolidation effort, to be released by the end of September, government officials said.

The Case Management effort seeks to im- prove sharing of case-related information within and among Justice bureaus and other law enforcement agencies. Investigative case management systems process case leads, evidence, resource allocation, documents, records and workflow, as well as intelligence.

FBI and Justice officials last fall asked for industry input in creating the Federal Investigative Case Management Solution, and now are expected to hire a vendor to flesh out the details of the framework for law enforcement agencies' projects. The projects include the Homeland Security Department's investigative case management system, known as the Consolidated Enforcement Environment.

DHS is cooperating with Justice via a memorandum of understanding that mirrors similar agreements between Justice and the Energy and Labor departments.

DHS' project would weave information from several agencies and present it to their respective law enforcement officers.

The FBI will use FICMS to guide work on an investigative case management system to replace the defunct Virtual Case File project.

Officials have not described the ultimate fate of VCF, but FBI leaders have indicated that little of the work done under the $170 million project will be used in the bureau's next attempt to build an investigative case management system.

But some of the work done under the VCF contract to assess the bureau's requirements for a case management system likely will be applicable to the FICMS project, officials said.

'We are moving forward. There will be an investment in case management,' said Price Roe, senior policy adviser in the Justice CIO's office. 'It's a matter of when, and the scope. It's not going to be cheap, no doubt about it.'

FICMS will comply with the Federal Enterprise Architecture and use a service-oriented architecture to let the FBI roll it out in modules, Roe said at a recent meeting of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Bethesda Chapter in Bethesda, Md.

The FBI and Justice commissioned market research that has found that several commercial case management systems would meet the government's needs, officials said.

The department received dozens of responses to its request last September for information about investigative case management systems, and it expects additional responses to a follow-up RFI on litigation case management systems released in March.

Roe said Justice and FBI officials have not yet decided whether to specify the software to be used in the project or to hire a systems integrator who would choose the core system.
Roe noted that DHS had decided to choose the systems integrator when it launched the US Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology project.

'The US Visit model is a good one, because it says, 'we don't know [which app to choose], our mission is not technology.' When you have an integrator, you put the burden on them to determine what the best solution technology is.'

As for the investigative case management system's modular design, Roe noted, 'We are not going to be able to afford the big-bang approach, nor is it the smart way to do it.'

In a related project, Justice officials expect to issue a contract for litigation-support software before the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

Litigation support software provides tools used by the department's attorneys and other employees to manage, organize, and present individual cases. These types of tools are not in the initial scope of Justice's litigation case management system project, according to the department's CIO office.

GCN staff writer Jason Miller contributed to this story.

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