FBI unveils Sentinel plan

"Sentinel is a lot different from [Virtual Case File Systems.]" ? Zalmai Azmi, FBI's chief information officer

Henrik G. de Gyor

The FBI's plan for its new virtual case file management system calls for a four-phase approach that could take more than four years to complete.

In a draft request for proposals under the National Institutes of Health CIO-Solutions and Partners 2 vehicle, the FBI detailed its expectations of each phase. Phase 1 begins with a portal that provides a federated search of the Automated Case Support system, authentication and system access control with other FBI systems under its Trilogy program and an interface to ACS.

The new system, dubbed Sentinel, replaces the failed Virtual Case File Systems, which the agency abandoned this year after spending $104 million on it.

The bureau has specified a range of goals for Sentinel, including replacing its paper-based case management process with electronic records management; creating a bureauwide index of persons, organizations, things and events; and quickly retiring the agency's case management applications.

According to bureau documents, Sentinel will give the FBI a flexible, extensible infrastructure based on a service-oriented architecture.

"Sentinel is a lot different from VCF," Zalmai Azmi, the FBI's chief information officer, said. "Its service-oriented architecture will be the platform to transfer legacy applications to the new systems."

According to industry sources, the four vendor teams lining up to bid on Sentinel are:

  • Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., McLean, Va., and IBM Corp.

  • Lockheed Martin Information Technology, Seabrook, Md.

  • Northrop Grumman IT, Herndon, Va., and Deloitte Consulting LLP of New York

  • Computer Sciences Corp.

FBI officials said the final RFP would be released in August. Bidders will have 45 to 60 days to submit proposals. The bureau said it would make a single award.

Sentinel will be part of the Trilogy User Applications Component, the last of four elements of the $379 million program to overhaul the agency's information backbone.

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