Finish line in sight for FBI's Trilogy

After a missed December 2003 deadline, the final piece of the FBI Trilogy modernization program should be completed by this spring, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers this week.

The Virtual Case File system, the last piece of the modernization project, will allow agents to search, analyze and compile case information. It was initially slated for completion Dec. 13, 2003, but the contractor, Computer Sciences Corp., failed to meet the deadline.

"There was a delay with the contractor on that," Mueller told lawmakers March 17 at a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee's Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Subcommittee. "We have righted that. We are in the process of upgrading the systems. We believe it is on schedule to be done later this spring, and I would expect the last piece of Virtual Case File would be in by this summer."

FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell declined to give an exact date, but said the program is being monitored internally every other week. "There are meetings to assess the progress so it doesn't fall behind as it has in the past," he said.

But technology upgrades won't stop once that piece is completed; Mueller also said officials are already looking at "the next iteration of Virtual Case File."

Questioned about the bureau's lag in fully upgrading the technology programs, he noted there has been significant progress in the past two years. For example, the backbone of the Trilogy network, including the workstations, local-area networks and wide-area networks, has been completed. He also pointed out that the information technology shop has new leadership, referring to acting chief information officer Zalmai Azmi, and officials are working on developing an enterprise architecture. Cogswell said FBI officials have put together a board to create the architecture.

"We are in the process of completing an overall architecture for the bureau," Mueller said. "My hope is in the next year, we will be on the cutting edge of technology."

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