FBI, Lockheed Martin in final talks on Sentinel contract

The FBI said today that it is in final talks with one of the two vendor teams that has bid on the Sentinel investigative case management project, and that it likely would announce a contract within 30 days.

Several industry sources said the department had chosen Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., over Northrop Grumman Corp. for the final contract negotiations.

The bureau said it had informed one of the teams that its proposal was not acceptable, but cautioned that negotiations are still fluid.

The FBI firmly declined to specify with which of the teams it is negotiating.

Northrop Grumman has informed its fellow contract team members of the bureau's decision, several sources said.

In response to an inquiry from GCN, the bureau issued the following statement:

"The FBI has completed the vendor evaluations in the Sentinel contract award process. We are currently in negotiations with one of the vendors and have advised the other vendor that their proposal was not within the competitive range. We cannot disclose the identity of either vendor at this point. The award schedule and outcome of negotiations are still fluid but we hope to have the contract awarded within the next 30 days or so. Once the contract is awarded, there will be a public announcement."

Justice Department CIO Vance Hitch said, "We are very close to a contract award. I am very encouraged with the direction of the program right now. I can't tell you how long the negotiations will go on or with whom."

Hitch confirmed statements by FBI sources that the department has secured additional office space in the Tyson's Corner area of Fairfax County, Va. to house the Sentinel project team. Working space in the FBI headquarters building on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington is at a premium, the FBI sources said.

The Sentinel project replaces the bureau's failed Virtual Case File investigative case management system development program, which the department shuttered at a cost of $100 million.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman declined to comment.

Wilson P. Dizard III is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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