New rules for FBI’s Sentinel project

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s draft of the fiscal 2007 spending bill, HR 5672, that covers the Justice Department and the FBI, includes both legal requirements limiting the bureau’s freedom in managing its biggest software project, and tart report language criticizing the bureau’s IT performance and slow response to congressional information requests. Many of the new restrictions apply to the Sentinel project, the bureau’s new investigative case management system project:
  • The bureau would have to receive Government Accountability Office certification that the FBI has established a performance measurement system before proceeding with Sentinel.

  • The bureau could not proceed to a later phase until it has reached a 70 percent completion rate on the current phase and the estimated cost to complete the current phase does not exceed 35 percent of the phase’s remaining budget.

  • The bureau would be directed to use a performance-based management system that complies with the American National Standards Institute-Electronic Industries Alliance Standard 748-A, as required by the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-11 to measure achievement of the cost, schedule and performance goals.

  • The FBI must establish plans for each phase that include carefully defined capabilities; finite, measurable and manageable work elements limited to four months’ duration; starting and completion dates; and project costs.

  • The Justice Department’s Investment Review Board would oversee the development of all critical IT infrastructure acquisitions and improvements.

The panel cited its “concern about the FBI’s ability to successfully implement an improved information technology infrastructure given the recent failures of Trilogy and more specifically, Virtual Case File.”

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