FBI moving to Phase 2 of Sentinel

FBI officials said they will finish developing plans by September for Phases 2 through 4 of the bureau’s enterprise case management system, known as Sentinel.

Zal Azmi, the FBI’s chief information officer, said today the bureau will issue a new task order to Lockheed Martin that will detail the capabilities of the program.

“For Phase 2, we will look to release capabilities incrementally,” Azmi said during a panel discussion of law enforcement technology at a conference sponsored by the Bethesda, Md., chapter of AFCEA International. “We don’t want our agents to wait 18 to 20 months for new capabilities. We will begin doing spiral development.”

Azmi said that was one of the lessons learned from Phase 1 of Sentinel. “We hope to release capabilities every six to nine months,” he said. “It took longer than a year to develop and deploy Phase 1 capabilities.”

During Phase 1, the FBI introduced a more user-friendly Web interface for accessing information on the bureau’s database, the Automated Case Support System. Users also now have personal workboxes, which summarize their cases and leads and make more information available electronically.

“It has taken a long time to extract data from our mainframe system, but now we can do that,” Azmi said. “Phase 1 also provides full search capabilities instead of single searches and single results.”

Managers also have workboxes to help them manage their resources and assign leads electronically, the FBI said in a press release.

Azmi said officials are deciding what capabilities they will ask for in each of the upcoming phases and are considering providing portal technology for users. “It would be more robust where an agent could look at all their resources and customize their views,” he said.

The most challenging part of Sentinel so far has been balancing security with functionality, he added.

“We are implementing the role-based and attribute-based access that the intelligence community has put forward,” Azmi said. “We don’t want to duplicate our data or others’ data. We want access and to give our partners access based on the rules in place.”

The FBI said it will deploy all of Sentinel’s capabilities by 2011 at a cost of about $423 million.

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