FBI readies data exchange rollouts

NEW ORLEANS'The FBI is poised to expand its Regional Data Exchange program from a pilot in the St. Louis area that began in February to a Seattle version set to launch Aug. 1 and then to more than a dozen other cities in the coming months.

R. Scott Crabtree, section chief in the bureau's Field Intelligence Section, told the Symposium on Information Sharing and Homeland Security yesterday that the information-sharing project represented the first time the FBI had allowed other law-enforcement agencies direct access to its electronic files.

'Now the FBI is sharing information,' Crabtree said. 'I am afraid that with 9/11 behind us, it is getting harder and harder to do it, but we have to do it and we will do it.'

R-DEx houses case data from Justice Department agencies, including the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Marshals Service. The prisons and marshals agencies provide nationwide data to R-DEx, while the other Justice components provide regional data.

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. of McLean, Va., wrote the code to integrate several commercial applications embedded in R-DEx, including a geospatial tool from iMAP, a consolidated user interface from Plumtree Portal and a link analysis tool from Visual Analytics Inc. of Poolesville, Md.

Crabtree said the bureau would provide the Booz Allen code free to other regional law-enforcement groups to implement R-DEx, but that the bureau's funds for information sharing technology are going to be shifted to Justice in the next fiscal year.

R-DEx uses service-oriented architecture and a data model that adheres to the Global Justice Extensible Markup Language Data Model to promote interoperability, Crabtree said.

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