SAIC denies failure of FBI software

Jan. 18, 2005
SAN DIEGO, Calif., 17 January 2005. The Virtual Case File software package is taking too long to develop, FBI Director Robert Mueller said this week.

SAN DIEGO, Calif., 17 January 2005. The Virtual Case File software package is taking too long to develop, FBI Director Robert Mueller said this week.

Criticized for intelligence failures leading up to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, FBI leaders awarded a contract to Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), San Diego, Calif. to build them better software.

Also known as Trilogy, the $170 million system was supposed to help agents share information, search documents, and connect leads. But after four years of development, the system is still not ready to use.

So Mueller has hired other contractors to look for off-the-shelf software packages to use instead. He is now awaiting those results from Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, Calif., and BAE Systems, Rockville, Md.

In the meantime, SAIC leaders are fighting back.

"Recent news reports have cast doubt over the effectiveness of SAIC's efforts on the Trilogy/Virtual Case File (VCF) System contract for the FBI. In fact, last month, SAIC delivered -- and the FBI accepted -- VCF Initial Operating Capability (IOC) software," the company said. The rest of the press release follows below.

"The FBI modernization effort involved a massive technological and cultural change, agency wide," said Duane Andrews, SAIC chief operating officer. "Unfortunately, implementing this change on the Trilogy contract has been difficult to do without impacts to cost and schedule. To add to that complexity, in the time that SAIC has been working on the Trilogy project the FBI has had four different CIOs and fourteen different managers. Establishing and setting system requirements in this environment has been incredibly challenging."

SAIC and the FBI worked together on the Virtual Case File (VCF) project as a part of the Trilogy program which started on June 5, 2001. The VCF was originally intended to support the FBI's criminal case management. Since 9/11 the mission of the FBI changed significantly from a focus on criminal investigation and prosecution to one that includes terrorism investigation and prevention. This change in focus drove changes in the VCF requirements. Those changes and other factors contributed to increases in cost and schedule on the contract.

Last year, as recommended by the May 2004 National Research Council report, the FBI changed their deployment strategy for VCF from a "flash cutover" (everything at once) delivery to a less risky incremental phase-in for VCF functions. The VCF Initial Operating Capability (IOC) is the first increment of functionality.

The FBI accepted the IOC software in December 2004, delivered by SAIC ahead of schedule and under budget according to re-negotiated terms. The IOC concept, while representing a relatively small portion of the total system functionality, was envisioned to form the basis for future evolutionary development and deployment allowing the system's functionality to grow in conjunction with the Bureau's changing mission requirements. Other features of the full VCF system have been designed and coded, and are available for deployment testing and integration.

It is SAIC's understanding that the government has embarked on a new initiative called Federal Investigative Case Management System (FICMS). FICMS is being described as a framework that will guide development of future case management systems allowing improved inter-agency information sharing. This framework as well as other requirements changes, have led the FBI to consider a COTS/GOTS-based solution to satisfy their VCF requirements. This is another example of the evolving scope and changing requirements associated with the VCF project.

"All parties involved have made mistakes in the way the Trilogy program was handled in the past," said Andrews. "SAIC hopes to move beyond this and continue a mutually beneficial relationship with the FBI that has had many successes over a 25-year period and delivering IOC is a positive step in that direction."

For more information, see

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!