Justice IG rips Sentinel's data sharing plans

The Justice Department's inspector general, Glenn Fine, criticized the FBI for not planning to build strong information sharing capabilities into the Sentinel investigative case management system.

The bureau concurred with the IG's recommendation to coordinate with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies to ensure that Sentinel will be compatible with their case management systems.

In a written reply to the IG's findings, the bureau said it already had assigned an information architect to the Sentinel project who has responsibility for ensuring Sentinel's information sharing capabilities.

However, the IG report stated that several law enforcement agencies had only limited participation in the Sentinel project and might have to make costly and time consuming system changes to achieve connectivity.

The IG's report made several other recommendations, including:
  • Strengthening plans for system security

  • Achieving full staffing of the Sentinel program office

  • Buying and installing an earned value management tool

  • Using a cost tracking tool to monitor the project

  • Completing a training plan

  • Monitoring the effects of taking funds from operational programs to pay for Sentinel

The bureau concurred with the IG's recommendations. According to the FBI's CIO office, Sentinel planners already have identified the cost tracking and EVM tools they plan to use, according to the written response. The bureau expects to fully staff the program office when the project gets under way, according to the CIO office.

The Justice IG also reported that it may cost $400 million to $500 million to develop Sentinel, according to information the bureau provided to Congress last year. Sentinel's final cost will depend on Congress' willingness to fund the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2009.

The IG noted that the FBI expects to have more accurate cost estimates after it awards the Sentinel contract.

The bureau now is in final negotiations with Lockheed Martin for the Sentinel contract, as reported first in GCN.

The IG report noted that the bureau has made several management improvements to assure that the Sentinel project will go smoothly. The FBI has adopted a range of investment review and milestone steps to prevent a project meltdown like the one it experienced with the Virtual Case File investigative case management system last year, at a cost of $100 million.


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