FBI, Lockheed dig into Sentinel bid details

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Pre-Acquisition Planning for and Controls over the Sentinel Ca

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It's official: Lockheed Martin is the winner of a $305 million contract to implement Sentinel, the FBI’s new comprehensive case management system.

FBI and Lockheed Martin officials gathered today to officially announce the contract award, news of which broke March 10.

The company will earn the $305 million over six years, said Zalmai Azmi, the FBI’s CIO. He estimated that the program will have a total cost of $425 million in that time span.

Sentinel will replace the failed $170 million Virtual Case File system. VCF was to be part of the FBI's Trilogy program for modernizing the bureau’s information systems, but the FBI abandoned it because of repeated cost and schedule overruns.

Sentinel is projected to cost more than VCF because Sentinel will include intelligence functions that VCF did not, Azmi said. The FBI’s expansion to include intelligence activities after the 2001 terrorist attacks required the change, he said.

Sentinel’s higher cost figure also accounts for more than initial development costs, Azmi said. The figure includes money for two additional years of operations and maintenance and program management to ensure a smooth transition, he said.

The contracts extend for six years to provide two years of operation and maintenance of the system beyond the four years to develop it, Azmi said. Development of the system will take 42 to 48 months and will end in 2009, he said. The program itself will end in 2011, he said.

Lockheed will start working on Sentinel this week and deliver the first of four phases within 12 months, Azmi said. The first phase will include a Web portal with single sign-on access, providing agents with “one-stop shopping to most of our legacy systems,” he said.

The first phase will also lay the foundations for the second and third phases, Azmi said.

Once completed, Sentinel will provide case management services, automated workflow and records management, Azmi said. It will also alert users if desired information appears in the system.

Sentinel will run on the Trilogy network, he said. It will incorporate all functions envisioned for VCF and reuse some of its capabilities, he said.

Sentinel is not the first major project that Lockheed Martin has done for the Justice Department, said Linda Gooden, president of Lockheed Martin Information Technology. The company built the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, she said.

Lockheed Martin will use service-oriented architecture and certified commercial products, Gooden said. There will be very little custom development, she said.

After the VCF debacle, the FBI has instituted many changes to ensure similar problems do not occur with Sentinel, Gooden and Azmi said.

A March 14 report from the Justice Department’s inspector general concurred. “In reviewing the management processes and controls the FBI has applied to the pre-acquisition phase of Sentinel, we believe that the FBI has adequately planned for the project and this planning provides reasonable assurance that the FBI can successfully complete Sentinel if the processes and controls are implemented as intended,” the report states.

The performance-based Sentinel contract has very specific milestones, Gooden said. As a performance incentive, if Lockheed Martin doesn’t meet its schedule for each phase, the FBI has the option to drop it and find another company for subsequent phases. The company will not receive its award fees if it does not meet the conditions of the contract, she said.

Lockheed Martin won the contract through the National Institutes of Health Chief Information Officers Solutions and Partners II contracting vehicle.


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