ORION: FBI’s Next Generation Crisis Management System


WASHINGTON (September 10, 2008) -- The 9/11 attacks, the Washington, D.C., area sniper case, child abductions, the response to Hurricane Katrina and support of major special events such as the recent political conventions — all highlighted the need for a crisis management system that can easily capture, control, disseminate, share, and report information associated with a crisis or special event.

FBI evidence experts map the crime scene at one of the Beltway Snipers shootings.

FBI evidence experts map the crime scene at one of the Beltway Snipers shootings.

According to Kim Tilton, Crisis Management Unit Chief, there is currently no single system that effectively meets the needs of managing large-scale investigative crisis response.

That’s where the Operational Response and Investigative Online Network (ORION) project comes in. ORION, the FBI’s next generation crisis information management system, provides case management and related information processing capabilities to support federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in a coordinated response to crises at special events or critical incidents — anything from political party conventions to the Super Bowl to terrorist attacks.

The system will include the capability to capture data provided in thousands of e-mails and phone tips and to convert raw information into actionable intelligence. The ORION project will assist the FBI in:

  • Meeting the need for a quick response.
  • Standardizing crisis and event management processes.
  • Allowing information sharing with law enforcement partners.
  • Providing advanced search and analytical capabilities to sift through the volumes of tips and leads generated in a major crisis.

“ORION is a flexible and scalable system capable of managing multiple critical incidents. It supports not only the needs of FBI investigators and analysts, but the needs of our inter-agency law enforcement partners as well,” explained Tilton.

“Development of ORION is a high priority within the FBI and key to providing an effective, efficient and coordinated response to critical incidents or major investigations,” she said.

Sponsored by the Critical Incident Response Group, which considers its deployment critical to its ability to successfully perform its mission, ORION is currently on Director Mueller’s list of top 12 projects. Originally available only on the FBI’s internal network, ORION was successfully deployed in July 2008 on a secured Internet network to assist local law enforcement and interagency task forces.