FBI releases Sentinel solicitation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released the request for proposals for its next generation electronic information management system, called Sentinel, that replaces the failed $170 million Virtual Case File (VCF) system.

VCF was part of the FBI's Trilogy program that was meant to modernize the FBI's outdated computer systems, but that was canceled in March of this year because of cost and schedule overruns due to what the Justice department's inspector general called poor management and oversight.

The Sentinel RFP, made under the National Institutes of Health's Chief information Officer Solutions & Partners 2 Innovations (CIOSP2i) governmentwide contract, calls for responses to be made by this fall. A contract award is tentatively set for the end of the year, the FBI said in a statement.

Earlier this year FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the four-phase Sentinel implementation could take as long as 40 months, but the first phase should be finished by the end of 2007.

Each phase will introduce new capabilities, transferring existing information and retiring legacy functions, the FBI said.

Despite the VCF meltdown, Mueller said Sentinel is still needed because otherwise the FBI would have not be able to store and share millions of counter-terrorism documents.

The FBI announced Aug. 3 that it had completed worldwide deployment of its public key infrastructure, which Zalmai Azmi, the bureau's chief information officer, said was a necessary pre-requisite for the Sentinel program.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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