FBI declares IAFIS costs, schedule are under control

The FBI is expected to submit a report to Congress this week indicating that the cost and development of its massive fingerprint identification system are under control after reporting sharp budget overruns and delays earlier this year.

The FBI is expected to submit a report to Congress this week indicating that the cost and development of its massive fingerprint identification system are under control after reporting sharp budget overruns and delays earlier this year.

In the report the FBI notes that the cost of developing its Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System is expected to remain at $589 million up from the original estimate of $470 million - no more than the $119 million in cost overruns announced last year.

IAFIS will give federal state and local law enforcement agencies the ability to search analyze and match fingerprints against a database of as many as 40 million sets of fingerprints. It will cut the time it takes to find possible matches from several months to several hours.

According to the report the FBI estimates the system will be completed no later than August 1999. IAFIS originally was scheduled for completion in 1998 but that deadline slipped to 2000 after the FBI began having problems last year integrating IAFIS' different components being developed by prime contractors Science Applications International Corp. PRC Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

But after working for five months with the three key vendors on a new development plan to control costs and shorten delays the FBI says it has pushed the completion date back a year to 1999.

"We've done all of these fixes and we're cooking right now " said Doug Domin IAFIS' program manager.The cost overrun and development delay drew the Senate's ire earlier this year. In a report with the appropriations fiscal 1997 spending bill for the Justice Department the Senate Appropriations' subcommittee on Commerce Justice State and the Judiciary wrote "The FBI is on notice that this committee will not tolerate additional cost increases or further delays on this important project."

The subcommittee initially became concerned about budget overruns last year and began requiring the FBI to file quarterly reports on IAFIS' progress.

The latest report was delayed because Attorney General Janet Reno requested that the FBI make last-minute changes. In a Nov. 5 letter to Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) chairman of the Commerce and Justice appropriations subcommittee Reno wrote that the "FBI identified a potential increase in cost for completion of the IAFIS initiative" and had asked FBI director Louis Freeh to include a plan "that would bring IAFIS costs in line with" the $119 million cost overrun cited in an earlier FBI report.

An aide to Judd said the missed deadline was a possible indication that "the costs are going up and they're trying to figure out what to do."

Domin said however that the cost increase Reno referred to in her letter possibly included non-developmental costs such as the operations of the new fingerprint facility in Clarksburg W.Va. and related costs of relocating the system and FBI employees from Washington D.C. - a total of about $51 million the first FBI report said. Developmental costs have not increased Domin said.

The new development plan calls for the FBI and vendors to build the system in a six-step process testing the system at the end of each step. Originally the FBI had planned to integrate all IAFIS' components at one time. Domin called that strategy a "big-bang theory" that was "filled with potential folly.""" You must register to read this week's news or to use the search or forums.""

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