FBI taps Raytheon for info-sharing system

The FBI has awarded a contract to the Raytheon Co. of Waltham, Mass., to build out the National Data Exchange (N-Dex) law enforcement information-sharing system, sources said.

According to a bureau official, FBI systems specialists expect to meet with their Raytheon counterparts within the next two weeks to plan the IT work leading up to the N-Dex system rollout.

N-Dex uses advanced information sharing that harmonizes data entered into various types of law enforcement systems for common search, acquisition and analysis. N-Dex acts as a counterpart to R-Dex, a regional data exchange system that provides a 'pointer' to the location of specific information held by other law enforcement agencies.

Technical descriptions of the N-Dex project emphasize its use of standards such as the Global Justice XML Data Model and the National Information Exchange Model to foster information sharing.

The Justice Department likely will provide funds for N-Dex during 2007 and 2008, and the FBI will assume funding responsibility in 2009 and later, sources said.

N-Dex is intended to facilitate data analysis and the detection of links among people and places, as well as events such as crimes, objects such as weapons, drugs and currency, and gangs to help intelligence analysis. The project has progressed for about six years under the auspices of the bureau's National Criminal Information Services Division in Clarksburg, W.Va. FBI officials have worked with their counterparts in many federal agencies as well as states and cities to create the framework and standards for the system.

Raytheon declined to comment. FBI officials were not immediately available for comment.

An FBI official close to the project noted that the bureau had structured the acquisition as a performance-based contract. The official said N-Dex likely would begin full-scale operation in about a year.

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