FBI"s Sentinel project goes to Lockheed

CIO Azmi promises that skilled project management will prevent Sentinel casefile project from bombing like its predecessor, Trilogy.
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor

The FBI is on track for a fully computerized casefile program, dubbed Sentinel, with a $305 million grant to Lockheed Martin, FBI CIO Zalmai Azmi said. The full program, which will cost $425 million, will give agents secure Internet access to many systems within a year and the entire system will be running by late 2009, Azmi claims, according to the Washington Post.

Of course similar claims were made of Trilogy, the FBI's previous attempt at a massive computer upgrade, which tanked on the iceberg of Virtual Case File. Azmi says Sentinel is different.

Azmi told reporters yesterday that the FBI has included an aggressive system of audits, outside management review and financial controls to guard against any problems.

"We have a number of controls in place to ensure that this program is not following in Trilogy's footsteps," Azmi said.

Azmi said Sentinel would offer FBI agents and analysts "one-stop shopping" for access to the bureau's dozens of incompatible databases. "The list of capabilities that this program will bring will be enormous," he said.

Still, the Justice Dept.'s IG released a report last week, casting doubt that the FBI has adequate management controls in place and that Sentinel, even if successful would deliver information-sharing capabilities across agencies. 

Two companies that are part of the Lockheed Martin project team, Computer Sciences Corp. and CACI International Inc., also played roles in the earlier Trilogy efforts, Azmi said. The main contractor on the failed software system, Science Applications International Corp., is not involved in Sentinel, officials said.

Linda Gooden, president of Lockheed Martin Information Technology, said she is "confident that the FBI has instituted the appropriate checks and balances" to guard against overruns and other problems. The company's pay will be "performance-based," she said.

In a related story, Federal Computer Week reports that Miodrag Lazarevich, a former official in the CIA's CIO office will run the Sentinel project.

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