FBI on cusp of Trilogy technology update

The FBI is poised to request proposals for a wide range of systems and services as part of a program to update technology originally purchased as part of its Trilogy program.

The bureau issued a "sources sought" notice to vendors last Oct. 27 for its Technology Refresh Program.

According to acquisition consultancy Input of Reston, Va., the bureau's contracting office plans to issue its solicitation this month.

According to acquisition documents, "The FBI has a current need to refresh its IT hardware components, including servers, printers, desktops, scanners, storage area network devices, computer peripherals and laptops as well ideas on additional services including [operations and maintenance] and IT implementation services, alternative product configurations and next generation solutions."

The bureau documents stated that the refresh program is a follow on to the FBI's Trilogy project. Trilogy succeeded in fielding a network that binds together the agency's offices. Trilogy also succeeded in providing modernized e-mail, Web access and data services to most bureau employees via new servers, storage hardware, desktops, notebooks, scanners, peripherals, LANs, WANs and similar equipment.

Those two Trilogy phases, known collectively as the Trilogy Transportation Network Component and Information Presentation Component, concluded in late 2003, when the bureau concluded its contract with Dyncorp for the systems upgrade.

The success of those two Trilogy phases generally was overshadowed, however, by the debacle the bureau encountered in its investigative case management system called Virtual Case File. The shuttered VCF project wasted at least $104 million.

The bureau's new Sentinel investigative case management project has replaced the VCF initiative. As Sentinel and other bureau systems mature, they will continually need upgraded systems to host their operations.

The bureau's acquisition documents do not specify the funds available for the TRP. The bureau's chief information officer, Zalmai Azmi, repeatedly has said that the practice of putting price tags on acquisitions can undermine the government's efforts to get the best prices for the technology it buys.

The bureau plans to purchase the equipment from General Services Administration's Schedule 70 vendors who respond to the sources sought notice, according to the acquisition documents.

The RFI specifies a broad range of products and servers the winning team will provide, including:
  • Servers
  • Printers
  • Desktops
  • Functions - Desktop systems are expected to be operational 24 hours, 7 days a week. Desktops can perform the following functions:
    • Execute application software
    • Mainframe interface, such as case data management
    • Concurrent database searches
    • Connect to all FBI locations via intranet email
    • Image reading, or creating CDs or DVDs for sharing or storage requirements
    • Local specialized applications ? Microsoft software suite is standard
    • Be available for automatically downloading enterprise-distributed system patches or software updates, updated nightly from key servers
    • Scanners
    • Storage area network devices
    • Computer peripherals
    • Laptops
    • Functions
    • Desktop replacement in instances where desktop computers are not practical
    • Portable work tool with three-hour capabilities
    • Execute application software
    • Internet access
    • Operations and maintenance and IT implementation services
    • Alternative product configurations
    • Next generation solutions

Wilson P. Dizard III writes for Government Computer News, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

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