FBI's crime net to get a face-lift
- By Peyman Pejman
- Mar 16, 1998
The FBI plans to spend $430 million over the next five years to modernize its global
information gathering and analysis systems.
The buy is one of the FBI's largest procurements in recent years, bureau officials
said. And the bureau plans to move fast on it.
The FBI this month released a draft request for proposals for the Information Sharing
Initiative and plans to release the final RFP in May. Plans call for the bureau to award
the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity ISI contract in July.
"This is an important contract because it is critical to accomplishing FBI
operations, providing access to the information as needed and increasing efficiency,"
said Mark A. Tanner, special assistant to the FBI's deputy director.
Through ISI, the FBI plans to develop an integrated system to support criminal
investigations and counterintelligence initiatives.
The FBI will implement the contract in three phases, according to a bureau briefing
paper. During Phase 1, the bureau will develop and build the infrastructure for ISI. The
bureau plans call for buying an estimated 15,000 PCs, 5,000 scanners, 3,000 printers and
hundreds of servers.
During the initial phase, the FBI also wants to deploy multimedia and document
management systems that will let users electronically capture all investigative and
counterintelligence data, including text, image, video and audio files.
Tanner said the FBI might convert some of its existing paper files, but he does not yet
know how many of the older files it will convert.
"How much we end up converting will depend on the technical constraints of the
system," he said.
The FBI plans to start the first phase in 1999 and finish it in early 2000.
In Phase 2 , the FBI will deploy analytical and intelligence tools along with database
applications. During this phase, the bureau will also train staff to use the new
The bureau anticipates it will require at least three central database systems. It
plans to finish the second phase by October 2001.
In the final phase, the FBI will install security network applications and gateways,
along with encryption equipment and e-mail and Internet servers.
Phase 3 also includes more systems training. The FBI also plans to link all its field
offices and other remote sites, including an estimated 350 crime laboratories.
The information that will be available through the client-server system now resides on
three mainframes at FBI headquarters in Washington and in Clarksburg, W.Va.
In Washington, the bureau uses an Amdahl 5890 mainframe running MVS. It also uses an
Amdahl 5995 running OS/390 for its administrative applications. In Clarksburg, the FBI
uses an IBM 9021, running MVS, that hosts most of the bureau's investigative software
Companies expected to bid on the contract include Andersen Consulting of Chicago,
Electronic Data Systems Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., TRW Inc., Computer Sciences Corp.
and IBM Corp.
The FBI and the General Services Administration's Federal Computer Acquisition Center,
which is helping the FBI with the procurement, held meetings with potential vendors.
"This is a critical and important initiative for FBI," said Robert Lam,
director of business development for federal civilian agencies at Andersen Consulting.
"We are principally interested because we believe it transcends the traditional
systems integration or technology integration initiatives."
Ann Cohen, EDS' vice president for law enforcement, lauded the way the FBI and FEDCAC
worked closely with vendors in the pre-solicitation phase.
"They have gone to great lengths to solicit advice from industry," she said.
EDS is deciding what role it wants to play in the contract "based upon the extent to
which FBI and FEDCAC acknowledge the importance of business support and services for
ISI," Cohen said.