Fbi Virtual Case File

Topics: Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover, September 11 attacks Pages: 93 (22879 words) Published: December 18, 2012
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Inspector General
Audit Division
Audit Report 05-07
February 2005

This audit assesses the progress of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation’s (FBI) Trilogy project. Initiated in mid-2001, the objective of Trilogy is to modernize the FBI’s information technology (IT) infrastructure; provide needed IT applications for FBI agents, analysts, and others to efficiently and effectively do their jobs; and lay the foundation for future IT improvements in the FBI.

Trilogy consists of three parts: 1) upgrading the FBI’s hardware and software, 2) upgrading of the FBI’s communications network, and 3) upgrading the FBI’s five most important investigative applications, including its antiquated case management system.

Because of the FBI’s immediate and critical need for modern IT systems and the past problems in the Trilogy project, we conducted this audit to assess the FBI’s progress in meeting cost, schedule, technical, and performance targets for the three components of Trilogy. We also examined the extent to which Trilogy will meet the FBI’s current and longer-term IT needs.

In April 2004, the FBI completed the first two components of Trilogy. Among other improvements, the FBI has improved its IT infrastructure with new desktop computers for its employees and has deployed a Wide Area Network to enhance electronic communication among FBI offices and with other law enforcement organizations. However, despite additional funding the FBI had received to accelerate Trilogy, the first two phases of Trilogy were not completed any faster than originally planned.

While the infrastructure components are now in place to support improved user applications, the FBI is still far from implementing the third component of Trilogy. In this third phase, the FBI has been seeking to implement a case management system called the Virtual Case File (VCF), which was intended to replace the FBI’s antiquated case management application, the Automated Case Support system (ACS). The VCF was designed to improve the FBI’s ability to manage investigative case files, facilitate data and document searches, and


share information within and among FBI offices. The need for a new automated investigative case management system to replace the existing obsolete and limited ACS system is vital to the FBI’s ability to perform its mission effectively.

Yet, the VCF has proven to be the FBI’s most troublesome IT challenge in the Trilogy project. Our audit found that as of December 2004 the VCF still remains under development. Moreover, after more than three years and $170 million expected to be spent developing the VCF, the FBI has not provided a clear timetable or prospect for completing the VCF.

Between January and March 2005, the FBI plans to test a “proofof-concept,” or prototype, VCF. This test is designed to demonstrate that documents can be approved electronically and uploaded into the ACS. However, this very limited version of the VCF does not provide the FBI with the intended case management and information- sharing capabilities.

Instead, FBI officials informed the OIG that a parallel effort is underway in the FBI to reevaluate and update its requirements for a case management system and to identify solutions for a multi-agency case management framework called the Federal Investigative Case Management System (FICMS). The FBI believes this will provide a blueprint to guide the FBI in eventually acquiring the capabilities that the current VCF effort has been unable to accomplish and facilitate interagency information sharing. Working with officials at the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, the FBI expects to enter into a contract by April 30, 2005, with a...
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