Fbi’s Computer Upgrade Develops It Own Glitches
The Trilogy project, an attempt to upgrade the FBI’s antiquated computer systems, has run into trouble since it was launched with the blessing of Congress.
A source close to the matter says the project’s original projected budget of $458 million will increase by 30 percent, which bureau officials claim is necessary in order to improve records management and information sharing, as well as guarantee security.
Critics such as Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) see Trilogy as “a large disaster” typical of FBI technology projects plagued by delays and cost overruns.
Despite skepticism, many FBI offices have been equipped with desktop computers, while FBI CIO Darwin John recently sent a letter to the inspector general in which he asserted that the bureau is on track to fix many of the management problems cited in a recent report.
The report indicates that the project has been hampered by poor planning and an underestimation of how deficient existing structures really are–for example, the delivery of many desktop computers was delayed because fiber-optic cable had yet to be installed in certain field offices.
Additional points of criticism from the inspector general include the FBI’s failure to complete a system-wide installation of hardware and other equipment by its promised deadline of July 2002; the new target date is March 31, while the deployment of user-application software has been pushed back to June 2004.
The inspector general’s report finds that “The Trilogy project provides an example of how the nonimplementation of fundamental [information technology] investment management practices can put a project at risk of not delivering what was promised, within cost and schedule requirements.”
A bill passed by the Senate last week to cut the FBI’s funding for high-tech projects by about $100 million could be another blow to the beleaguered Trilogy project.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Los Angeles Times (01/28/03) P. A1; Schmitt, Richard B.