FBI's Trilogy network completed

The FBI has completed the network for the long-awaited Trilogy modernization project.

The $596 million network has been deployed to 591 sites and can expand as needed. The network links 22,000 desktop workstations and includes new scanners and printers and an enterprise operation center that manages it.

The virtual case file system, an application in Trilogy that modernizes workflow processes for FBI agents and provides for better information sharing, is expected to be finished by December.

"It's a fairly complicated network," the FBI's executive assistant director for administration, W. Wilson Lowery Jr., told reporters today at a briefing on Trilogy. He said the network was slated to be implemented by March 31, and even with about 70 sites and satellite and encryption capabilities added to the plan, it was right on schedule.

Trilogy's cost originally was $458 million, but later grew by $138 million. Lawmakers criticized the cost overruns, saying the project was poorly managed and on an unrealistic schedule. But Lowery said the increased costs accounted for items not initially planned in the project but necessary for its success, such as the enterprise operations center and satellite capabilities.

"It was not that we had blown the cost, it was that we added that much capability," Lowery said.

The virtual case file system accounted for about $40 million of the additional funding, Lowery said. Once completed, the system will replace paper-based case files with one electronic file, allowing agents better access to case information and advanced search capabilities. The system is the first workflow re-engineering the bureau has seen since the 1950s, FBI officials said.

"We're very good collectors of information," an FBI official said. "The problem is we haven't had an information technology structure to support us."

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