For Immediate Release
February 23, 2006
FBI National Press Office
FBI RESPONDS TO ASSOCIATED PRESS STORY ON SENTINEL PROGRAM
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday's Associated Press wire story “New FBI Computer System Already More Costly than Failed Predecessor,” contains some statements which may mislead readers. The Sentinel Program is not “running behind schedule,” nor has its budget “already exceeded the cost of the last failed effort.”
First, the Sentinel schedule is determined
by the FBI contracting officer and the Sentinel program
management team, who are engaged in a careful source selection
process designed to ensure an incremental development schedule.
Deliberation and attention to detail and a commitment to
not repeating past mistakes are driving the schedule.
Second, outside of preparation activities, no money has been spent on Sentinel, since the contract has not been awarded. The funding designated as part of the fiscal year 2006 budget is a government requirement for a contract to be awarded—standard government business practice. Specific funding can only be determined when a contract is agreed on and in place. It would be bad business—and potentially unlawful in a competitive bid process—to “disclose the anticipated cost” of the Sentinel program or any other project in the procurement process, as noted in the wire story.
Finally, while the Virtual Case File project—driven by the urgency of the immediate post-9/11 need to act quickly to address technology needs—had its share of program management and contractual shortfalls, more than $65 million of the $170 million cited in the story was either unspent or used to purchase computer hardware and services that have been delivered.
The overriding goal is to meet FBI mission challenges with a superior electronic paperless information sharing system that supports case management system and intelligence analysis and the transformation of select legacy applications to modern technology under an enterprise architecture. In a planned, multi-phase roll out, Sentinel will go well beyond what was envisioned of the Virtual Case File project. It will be the first step of a Service Oriented Architecture platform for the gradual deployment of capabilities and services needed by all FBI divisions.
The concept behind Sentinel is to have a suite of services designed to evolve with the FBI’s new and emerging needs. The program has been designed to have contractor support and assurance. Sentinel must work within and take advantage of the infrastructure, equipment, and networking improvements already in place with Trilogy. Sentinel will be the centerpiece of the FBI IT infrastructure, not merely another layer.
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