Justice IG says FBI will contract for new case management system in April

Justice IG says FBI will contract for new case management system in April

The Justice Department's inspector general today released its report on the FBI's Trilogy system modernization program, stating that the bureau plans to replace the failed Virtual Case File case management project by issuing a contract for a new system in April.

FBI director Robert Mueller issued a statement expressing his disappointment with the bureau's failure to fully deploy VCF but that the bureau is moving in the right direction. 'We have made substantial system technology improvements, which directly support our counterterroism mission and continue to safeguard our nation.'

Mueller's statement cited previously released information about the bureau's IT upgrades, including the deployment of the Information Data Warehouse and the FBI Intelligence Reports Dissemination System. But he did not mention the FBI's plans to build a replacement for VCF that would be called the Federal Investigative Case Management System.

As GCN first reported in late December, the IG's report cited several reasons for the failure of the VCF project, including:

  • VCF design modifications made as a result of the bureau's shift from criminal investigations to preventing terrorism, following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks

  • Poor management decisions early in the project

  • Inadequate project oversight

  • A lack of sound IT investment practices.

The FICMS project will involve several agencies in the task of creating a multiagency case management system, with the FBI taking the lead as executive agent.

'The FBI believes this will provide a blueprint to guide the FBI in eventually acquiring the capabilities that the current VCF effort has been unable to accomplish and facilitate interagency information sharing,' the IG report stated. 'Working with officials at the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, the FBI expects to enter into a contract by April 30, 2005, with a vendor to develop the framework for an interagency case management system for law enforcement components of the two participating departments, including the FBI.' The bureau plans to use commercial technology for FICMS, according to the report.

The IG report added that until the bureau enters into the FICMS contract, it will not know for sure the proposed schedule and cost for replacing the FBI's antiquated case management system.

'Further, any system resulting from the FICMS effort is unlikely to benefit substantially from the three years and $170 million already devoted to the VCF effort because of technological advances since the FBI began the Trilogy project in 2001 and because of the FBI's current planned approach to adapt off-the-shelf systems to meet its case management requirements,' the report stated

Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego earlier this week said the FBI could speed its progress toward deployment of a modern case management system that uses commercial software by completing the VCF project. [See story here.]

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary is scheduled to hold a hearing this afternoon on the Trilogy project. VCF is one of three segments of Trilogy, which also included an effort to build new networks for the FBI and deploy workstations across the bureau.

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