Virtual Case File to be partly available in December

Although the FBI's entire case management system will not be finished by the end of the year, a small group of agents will be able to use a few of the new application's capabilities by then, FBI's chief information officer said today.

Clarifying an FBI statement released this week, CIO Zalmai Azmi said parts of the Virtual Case File will be implemented by December, but the full implementation will not be complete. VCF, the software application that completes the Trilogy modernization program, will allow agents to search, analyze and compile case information.

A group of 200 to 500 users will be able to use the automated workflow part of the application, Azmi said. The application will replace the slow, paper-based process of mailing case management forms among offices for signatures, approvals and storage.

"This is the piece of Virtual Case File that we never had before," Azmi said. "It's pretty much tracking a case and forwarding documents and packages electronically from initialization until it becomes a record."

The entire workflow will be electronic, and agents in different areas of the bureau can collaborate on a case. The application will increase efficiency and allow supervisors to track the status of a case, Azmi said.

FBI officials have not determined which users in the bureau will be the first to use this capability. "That is something we are working on with the user community to determine where we [will] deploy this," he said. "We have to put it in a community that we can support and train and transition."

Once fully implemented, VCF will also allow agents to manage evidence, leads and records of cases. The rest of the application will be rolled out in phases, and Azmi declined to give a completion date. He noted that the technology and the bureau's mission might change, and a phased deployment will give them the flexibility to include new capabilities.

FBI has also renegotiated the contract with VCF developer Science Applications International Corp., which has missed several deadlines. The new contract, which is performance-based and includes cost-sharing penalties if deadlines are missed, only covers the initial capability implementation by the end of the year, Azmi said.

"It's FBI and SAIC working together toward completing what we are working on in the next six months," he said. "Nothing beyond that. I want to go in phases."

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