Partners in crime fighting
Harris, InterImage join forces on a case management system for Army CID
- By David Hubler
- Jan 19, 2009
Harris Corp. and InterImage Inc. probably won’t inspire a new “NCIS” or “JAG” TV military crime show. But thanks to a Defense Department contract, the information technology services providers are helping the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command curb crime and maintain law and order.
Harris and InterImage, a woman-owned small business in Arlington, Va., are in the early stages of a three-year, $7.8 million project to build a case management tool for Army CID.
The task order under the IT Enterprise Solutions-2 Services (ITES- 2S) contract calls for the team to build a system that will include data management, criminal activities records, and imaging and polygraph tracking. The system will help the Army improve its investigative capabilities, said John Heller, vice president and general manager of Harris IT Services.
“They need somewhere to store that information and work collaboratively” with the various command components, he said.
The ITES-2S task order calls for program management and software and hardware systems operations, maintenance and support. It also provides for systems design and technical support, information assurance/security, and integration with external systems.
The team also is integrating applications that currently cannot talk to one other.
The Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) was established in 1944, and although it is now formally a command, it is still referred to as CID. Based at Fort Belvoir, Va., CID conducts criminal investigations worldwide into offenses ranging from petty crimes to homicides that involve service personnel on and off military bases. CID also collaborates with local, state and other federal investigative agencies when appropriate.
Working as a team, the two companies have delineated their responsibilities to augment each other’s strengths.
Harris is charged with ensuring that the work stays on schedule and that milestones are met. The contractor will also make sure the work meets the Army’s quality standards, Heller said.
“I look at our role on this particular project as more of an integrator in bringing in different consultants and folks as the customer needs” them, said Chip Taylor, ITES program manager at Harris.
He said his primary role is to provide InterImage and CID with resources. For example, Harris recruited outside consultants when the contract required a specific modification that InterImage was unable to perform.
InterImage is designing the overall criminal investigation solution, having supplied similar systems for DOD since 1999, when the company won a contract to build a corrections management application that compiled and tracked criminal data for the Navy, said Leslie Steele, the company’s chief executive officer.
That first award led to others — and to growing revenue. Steele said she expects InterImage to reach $14 million in revenue this year.
“We are now building for the Navy and Marine Corps an end-to-end case management system that tracks activities from the very beginning of the process — suspicious activity, incidents that occur on a base or with servicemen off base — all the way through the investigation of that activity,” she said.
When the Army opportunity arose, InterImage contacted Harris, a prime contractor on the ITES vehicle.
“We reached out to Harris and had conversations with them about why we were interested in pursuing this work,” Steele said. Together, they won the task order in July.
“Much of the work under the contract is supporting continuing operations of the various systems that they have,” she said. The work also includes ensuring the security of the servers and the network environment, and adhering to DOD information assurance policies.
“Obviously, security is a huge issue now in the community,” Steele added.
The contract, which is being implemented at various Army CID sites and at InterImage’s secure facility in the Washington area, is in its early stages.
Through January the work will focus on installing various software applications and making sure they are operating properly, ensuring that the servers have information assurance policies embedded in them and that the production server has the latest patches and is delivering the performance its users require, Steele said.
The multifaceted contract includes project management, operations and maintenance, and integration of existing applications that are unable to communicate with one another. “One of the main thrusts is to modernize and basically reengineer [them] into a new environment so that all the systems speak together,” Taylor said.
The new platform will be Web-enabled so CID agents in the field can access data in real time, he added.
Steele said CID’s goal is to improve data accuracy, access information more rapidly, eliminate data redundancy and provide a more modern and efficient interface to the information that will not be costly to maintain.
Although Army CID incident reports are forwarded to DOD and then to the FBI for national incident crime reporting, Steele said there are no immediate plans to integrate the CID system with external agencies.
“In the future, that very likely will become a priority,” she said, adding that the first step probably will be to integrate the system throughout DOD.
The support phase of the project, which will include systems upgrades, data warehousing and other management services, will establish a stronger partnership with InterImage, Heller said.
“That certainly opens up a longer-term opportunity with the Army and, hopefully, as we look to take this elsewhere, with InterImage.” He said Harris likely will try to interest other DOD branches in the case management solution and in the consulting company’s support expertise.
“I think that is something that we would be interested in depending on how [successful] this is within the Army and how specialized it becomes,” Heller said.
Harris might also offer the solution as an outsourcing product to state and local governments, he added. “These case management systems often can cross borders from one type of organization to another, whether it be [for] a federal, state or even local city-type government. This certainly opens an opportunity for us where we haven’t been before.”
David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.