FBI reworks Trilogy contracts

FBI officials have included penalties in the contract for the final stage of Trilogy modernization project and are renegotiating another related contract to avoid further cost and schedule overruns, officials said today.

Officials have changed the language in the contract with Computer Sciences Corp., which is developing the final infrastructure part of the project to include consequences if the deadline is not met, said FBI Director Robert Mueller, speaking before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary.

"If the cost or schedule is missed, there will be no award fee in the sum of $5 million, and the FBI and the contractor will pay 50 percent each of any cost overruns after that," Mueller told the subcommittee.

CSC has missed several deadlines, the last of which was December 2003, shortly before the company agreed to complete the infrastructure piece to support applications such as the Virtual Case File by April 30, 2004, for an additional $22.9 million including the award fee, according to Glenn Fine, Justice Department inspector general.

Subcommittee chairman Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) blamed poor contract management for some delays in Trilogy, which is now years behind schedule.

"One of the problems is that we haven't had contracts which put penalties in place, and now we have penalty language," he said.

A second contractor, Science Applications International Corp., also has experienced delays in implementing Trilogy. The company is developing the Virtual Case File system, which will allow agents to search, analyze and compile case information. Fine said in written testimony that the application was delivered in December 2003, but wasn't fully functional and thus not accepted by FBI officials. As of March, most glitches had been resolved, but work remains to get it up and running, Fine said.

The FBI is renegotiating the SAIC deal to determine a new completion date, Mueller said. He expects the application to be functional about two months after the infrastructure is completed at the end of April. The Virtual Case File contract should also have an "enforcement mechanism" to make sure deadlines are met, Gregg said.

In his oral testimony, Fine blamed cost and schedule overruns on poorly defined requirements, weak information technology management and lack of project integration between the CSC and SAIC contracts. Fine also cited significant IT management turnover at the FBI as a problem in the past several years.

FBI must set "definitive milestones" for vendors and "define the requirements right up front," Fine said.

Gregg also questioned Mueller on the bureau's progress on creating an enterprise architecture. The FBI in November brought on a new acting chief information officer, Zalmai Azmi, and one of his first priorities was the enterprise framework, Mueller said. FBI officials this week awarded a contract for assistance in crafting the architecture and expect its first phase to be in place by the end of the year, he said.

Mueller has given Azmi the responsibility of approving IT projects and IT funding.

"We have been stovepiped over many years -- there has been no overarching architecture," Mueller said. "By placing the responsibility for funding and development of projects in his shop, and contracting to have an architecture developed in a very short time frame, we are moving to address that."

Gregg asked the General Accounting Office's director for IT architecture and systems issues, Randolph Hite, to review the FBI's enterprise architecture proposal and contract details to ensure they will avoid the delays seen with other modernization projects.

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