Project Pipeline Accents Growing
Information Sharing Role<@VM>Litigation Support<@VM>After Disaster, Success<@VM>Information Sharing Initiative <@VM>Justice Department's Top IT Contractors
by Carole Shifrin
Creating a departmentwide information technology architecture and infrastructure at the Department of Justice is setting the stage for enhanced interoperability throughout the organization and beyond, to state, local and international law enforcement agencies.
"The expectations are increasing as far as our ability to share information," said Linda Burek, acting deputy assistant attorney general for information resources management. The architecture, developed in January, will result in greater standardization within the agency, she said, even though it does not seek to mandate what desktops a component agency should acquire.
"It's not that detailed; we're talking more about standards for interoperability," she said.
Burek said the initiative will help reduce costs and assist with the difficult issue of manpower. With a shortage of qualified people in the industry, the infrastructure must be set up so it can be managed with the fewest number of people, she said.
The size and complexity of the department's big IT projects present another challenge. "We're often contracting out with big companies to do the work, but the government is responsible for managing that contractor and the projects to completion," Burek said.
Although two management training courses have been offered to all parts of the agency and a third is being planned, Burek said Justice officials recognize training is not enough and, as a result, expect to seek outside assistance.
"We are looking to award a contract to one or more companies to come in and help us just do project management," she said. The department may ask a company to come in to support its own project manager, who may just need some help to be successful, she said, or it may consider having a company come in and "actually manage some of our projects for us."
The Justice Department will not insist that companies be certified project managers, but it is looking for that skill set, she said. Ideally, it will attract a company that concentrates on project management to avoid a conflict of interest with a company doing contract work for the department. Burek said the department is assessing the framework and cost of such an effort and hopes to have something specific to offer in September.
The variety of the department's information technology projects reflects its wide-ranging responsibilities, which include investigating and prosecuting criminal offenses; acting as the nation's lawyer in enforcing U.S. laws, such as antitrust, civil rights, environmental and tax; and defending federal interests. The department also is responsible for immigration services, detaining and incarcerating lawbreakers, assisting state and local governments, protecting the federal judiciary and improving the justice system.
Although headquartered in Washington, most of the Justice Department's 122,600 employees work in more than 2,000 field locations around the nation, ranging from one-person border stations to large correctional facilities and nearly 100 overseas offices.
Besides the need for interoperability within such a decentralized agency, there is a growing emphasis on sharing information and intelligence with state and local governments and assisting them with forensic and other investigation support activities. Another focus is on cooperative networks with law enforcement agencies around the world.
The Justice Department's overall IT budget, including components such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration, was $1.3 billion for fiscal 1998 and is $1.5 billion for both fiscal 1999 and 2000. According to market research firm Input of Vienna, Va., the offices, boards and divisions of the department accounted for 40 percent of the total obligations in 1998, while the INS share of the total was 26 percent and FBI spending accounted for 21 percent.
Because the Justice Department is the nation's legal arm both in prosecuting civil and criminal cases and defending U.S. interests in matters against the country, its IT requirements for litigation support are unusual among federal agencies. As a result, its top IT contractor is CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va., whose litigation support contracts were valued at more than $80 million during 1998.
CACI has been involved in litigation support products and services for the department for 20 years. It is one of four contractors along with Aspen Systems, DynCorp and Rust Federal Systems on the $375 million Automated Litigation Support Services (MEGA I) contract. The civil division is the largest user, but MEGA I, administered on an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity task-order basis, is available to all litigating units.
According to CACI officials, litigation support has changed dramatically as microfilming, paper coding, magnetic tape and mainframe computers have given way to digital imaging, optical character recognition processing, PC-based client-server systems, local and wide area networks and multimedia courtroom presentation systems.
"We're seeing more and more courtroom technology at DoJ," said Bill Hamilton, CACI's MEGA I contract manager. The company has 900 employees working on an estimated 50 to 70 cases at any one time. Work can include anything to help attorneys prosecute or defend cases, such as evidence collection, document acquisition, database and imagebase creation and use, pretrial preparation and courtroom support.
CACI also has a $43 million contract for the Automated Debt Collection Management system, which supports litigation to collect debts owed to the United States. CACI will design and implement the automated system and provide the training and follow-up help desk for a network to connect the 94 U.S. Attorneys offices, Justice's Washington and area offices and those of outside counsel.
According to Michelle Telenko, program manager of CACI's legal services division, the old mainframe system will be replaced with a new client-server environment to permit the government to expand its use of private counsel.
All parts of the Justice Department are involved in major IT projects; many of the largest are designed to replace systems that have become outdated because of quantum advances in telecommunications, computing, storage and data retrieval technologies.
Projects range from technical infrastructure, including central processing, telecommunications and office automation, to specific endeavors in law enforcement, prosecution and litigation, immigration and detention and incarceration support.
One key departmentwide technical infrastructure program is the Justice Consolidated Network, designed to provide the agency with a one-network, state-of-the-art communications backbone.
Another major effort is the Justice Consolidated Office Network 2 (JCON 2), providing an office automation infrastructure, including hardware, software, support services and network interconnectivity, for litigating divisions and some other components. JCON 2 has been deployed successfully to several components, and implementation at several more should be completed this fiscal year.
If Justice gets all the money it has asked for in the budget (considered unlikely), it would complete installation of JCON 2 by the end of 2000.
"We consider JCON 2 to be a real successful project," Burek said, after a "very challenging" JCON 1 was terminated.
"It was a disaster; we stopped the project, regrouped, redid the architecture and redeployed it," she said. The decision to end JCON 1 was made after a team of experts was brought in to take a look at the project and focus on ways to get it back on track.
JCON 2 has awarded blanket purchase agreements to Wang Global (now part of Getronics NV) and Digital Equipment Corp. (now part of Compaq Computer Corp.), estimated at $50 million each the first year.
Another key project is the newly awarded $475 million Information Technology Support Services II contract to six vendors to provide services to support IT requirements for the Justice Department and potentially of other agencies. The contractors are Computer Sciences Corp., DynCorp, Keane Federal Systems, Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman's Logicon Inc., and Pragmatics Inc. They will compete under the umbrella indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for specific projects as the department issues task orders.
CSC, Lockheed Martin and Pragmatics are new to the project; the Justice Department had reserved one of the six places for a small business, and McLean, Va.-based Pragmatics was the winner of that slot.
Two key departmentwide programs open for bid include:
? The Agency-Wide Maintenance Contract II (ASSIST II), a recompetition of a hardware maintenance contract. A request for proposals for ASSIST II, with an estimated value of $120 million, is expected this fall. The existing ASSIST contract, estimated at $100 million, was awarded to Unisys Corp. in 1994 and expires in December. Although available to all components, ASSIST was used mostly by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
?Computer Assisted Legal Research 2 (CALR 2), a recompetition of a contract held by West Publishing Co. since 1995, set to expire in September. The new contract, valued at $45 million over five years, is the primary source for automated legal research within the Justice Department. It seeks unlimited access to a wide variety of commercially available, computerized legal and related information databases at a fixed monthly fee. The 19,000 users at the department averaged 23,200 hours of CALR usage a month in the last fiscal year. Proposals are due Aug. 20.
Some of the Justice Department's IT projects are run by its Office of Information Resources Management, but many are run by the individual components, although the department often requests that they be open to other department users. Examples include the INS' Service Technology Alliance Resources (STARS) contract, aimed at providing an integrated approach to meeting its technology needs, and the Drug Enforcement Administration's Firebird, a project updating its IT infrastructure.
Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego is the integrator for STARS, while Lockheed Martin, CSC and Electronic Data Systems will compete for task orders to develop and deliver software and systems. Overall value of STARS is $1.2 billion.
The FBI has been particularly busy, putting online three major IT projects in the past nine months. The largest, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), a state-of-the-art fingerprint identification and criminal history data service, was launched late last month.
Valued at $640 million, IAFIS will improve dramatically the fingerprint processing services provided by the FBI to 72,000 federal, state and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. The new electronic system replaces a card-based system that relied heavily on manual processes, human analysis and even the mail, resulting in delays of days, weeks or months for normal fingerprint background checks.
With IAFIS, 10 prints submitted electronically can receive two-hour turnaround for high priority and 24-hour turnaround for regular priority on latent prints from the scene of a crime.
"That allows them to get feedback to the submitting organization, state or municipality before they release the individual," said Jerry Zionic, vice president of law and benefits enforcement for Lockheed Martin Information Systems, one of three prime contractors.
The four-year contract had three segments:
?The Identification Tasking and Networking system, the front end of the system that receives and returns messages and images, developed by Litton-PRC Inc.;
?The Interstate Identification Index, essentially the nation's criminal history repository, developed by SAIC;
? Lockheed's Automated Fingerprint Identification System, which created algorithms to implement fingerprint matching. Lockheed Martin also had the integration task.
The project's enormity meant that functional capabilities were staggered into the FBI in six builds, Zionic said. Technology used in IAFIS includes 25 sequential parallel processors, with 16 CPUs in each machine running the baseline system, which supports a database of more than 350 million fingerprints.
Another important FBI program is the National Crime Information Center 2000, which came online July 11.
The center allows law enforcement agencies throughout the country to obtain positive identification of a wanted person in minutes through single fingerprint matching and mug shots.
The system, which also provides other investigative and identification information from 17 databases on criminal activities, replaces manual, time-consuming methods. Developed by prime contractor Harris Corp., the system can process more than 2.4 million transactions a day and can store and access more than 39 million records. Total budget for the National Crime Information Center 2000 was $183.2 million.
The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which went online November 1998, is a computerized background check system used by gun dealers before they sell handguns, rifles and shotguns. SAIC was the prime contractor for NICS.
All three of the IT projects are located at a new FBI facility in Clarksburg, W.Va.
As soon as it gets permission from Congress, the FBI hopes to start its Information Sharing Initiative (ISI), a major infrastructure project. In the planning stages for more than five years, ISI is a multiyear effort to establish a distributed, client-server architecture as the technical infrastructure.
The project is divided into three increments: distributed document and image management, intelligence analysis and analytical processing, and data sharing with multilevel security. Procurement of ISI is in process.
Two high-priority issues at the department are year 2000 and security.
As of last month, 94 percent of the Justice Department's systems were Y2K compliant, and new systems coming online would raise that number, Burek said. She was confident the two or three remaining systems would be completed this year.
Security is an ongoing priority requiring constant vigilance, especially with the increasing emphasis on interoperability, Burek said. "If you figure out how to secure [something], somebody out there figures out how to break something or introduces a new virus," she said, likening the process to diseases where new strains constantly require new vaccines.
Next year, the department will focus anew on security to ensure that all of its systems are certified and accredited.
"We consider security to be extremely important, and we will be going back to make sure we've dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts in that area," Burek said.
A memo to component agencies is expected soon and will establish a program timeframe, probably about one year.
The Justice Department has increasingly used its Web site for the contracting process, from offering information on proposed contracts to registering companies. "We find it's more efficient that way," Burek said.
The process allows immediate response to questions and makes the answers available to everyone. In 1998, 69 percent of the Information Resources Management-related contracts were fixed-price. That is expected to rise in 1999.
According to Dana Hall, corporate vice president of SAIC, the Justice Department is very practical when it comes to IT contracting.
"They seldom come to us with an advanced research request," Hall said. "Instead, they contract for the building of real IT systems or the modernization of such systems so they can do their jobs more efficiently."
Because they are not technologists or IT experts, unlike some departments, they form partnerships with companies that can bring in the technology and systems they lack, he said.
CACI International Inc.
Automated data processing, litigation support services
ADP systems development, equipment
Lockheed Martin Corp.
ADP systems, equipment
Data entry, mail and file services
ADP maintenance, technical services
Electronic Data Systems Corp.
Management support services
Science Applications International Corp.
ADP systems development services
ADP systems development, information process support
ADP system configuration
Data Trac Inc.
ADP equipment, systems development
ADP, communications equipment
Voice privacy, secure fax systems
Government Microcomputer Resources
Federal information process supplies, services
ADP data entry
Mantech Systems Engineering
ADP support services
CAI Joint Venture
ADP hardware, software, maintenance
Justice Tech Partners
ADP hardware, maintenance
ADP support equipment
Keane Federal Systems
ADP support services
Office automation equipment
ADP equipment, systems configuration
ADP development, support services
* Contract dollars obligated during fiscal 1998
Source: Justice Department