FBI sets a four-stage plan for case system

'Sentinel is a lot different from VCF. Its service oriented architecture will be the platform to transfer legacy applications to the new systems.'

'FBI CIO Zalmai Azmi

The FBI's new case file management system would be developed in a four-phase approach that could last more than four years.

In a draft request for proposals, the FBI detailed its expectations of each phase, starting with a portal that provides a federated search of the Automated Case Support system, authentication and system access control with other FBI systems under its Trilogy program, and an interface to ACS. The draft was released to vendors holding a governmentwide acquisition contract under the Na- tional Institutes of Health CIO-Solutions and Partners 2 vehicle.

The new system, dubbed Sentinel, would replace the failed Virtual Case File System, which the agency abandoned this year after spending $104 million on it.

Each phase will take about 12 months to complete, including installation at all locations, testing, records management certifications, and certification and approval to operate, the draft RFP said.

Bureau officials offered their ideas and a prospective timeline at a recent industry day in Washington.

And with the release of the draft contract, four vendor teams of leading systems integrators are lining up to take their shot at developing Sentinel.

FBI officials said the final RFP would be released in August, giving bidders 45 to 60 days to submit proposals. The bureau said it would make a single award. Industry comments on the draft RFP were due last week.

Sentinel will form part of the Trilogy User Applications Component, the last of four Trilogy elements to be completed. The $379 million program is overhauling the agency's information backbone.

In creating Trilogy, the bureau already has built an enterprise operations center to oversee and monitor IT assets; a network linking FBI offices around the country; and a component that gives tens of thousands of employees updated hardware and software at their desktops.
The four teams likely to bid on Sentinel are:

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. of McLean, Va., and IBM Corp.

Lockheed Martin Information Technology of Seabrook, Md.

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Information Technology sector and Deloitte Consulting LLP of New York

Computer Sciences Corp.

Press representatives of Booz Allen and Northrop Grumman confirmed that they will lead bidding teams. A Lockheed Martin spokeswoman said she could not confirm that her company would bid, because there is no RFP yet for Sentinel, but that 'we are tracking it with great interest.'
Industry sources consistently confirmed the bidder list.

To prepare for the Sentinel program, the FBI recently circulated to its oversight agencies a document it calls the Enterprise Architecture Interim Architecture Report, version 1.1 of which it recently released. Sentinel will be the first implementation of the bureau's new architecture, according to the FBI.

The bureau's CIO, Zalmai Azmi, last month released a summary of the FBI's Sentinel plans that called it an enterprise electronic information management system designed to promote information sharing and collaboration.

The bureau has specified a range of goals for Sentinel, including replacing its paper-based case management process with electronic records management; creating a bureauwide index of persons, organizations, things and events; and quickly retiring the agency's existing case management apps.

According to bureau documents, Sentinel is intended to give the FBI a flexible and extensible infrastructure based on a service-oriented architecture.

'Sentinel is a lot different from VCF,' Azmi said at a recent press briefing. 'Its service-oriented architecture will be the platform to transfer legacy applications to the new systems.'

The FBI will help employees adjust to the new system through training and outreach programs, officials said.

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