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FBI Computer System Upgrade Faces Costly Delays

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By Kamika Dunlap on April 08, 2010 6:55 AM

The Federal Bureau of Investigation computer system upgrade project has hit another snag.

The Justice Department Audit has found the long-running effort to launch and build a paperless case management system is facing more delays and growing more costly, Reuters reports.

Big overruns costs of up to $30 million on the FBI's Sentinel program has pushed the timeline for the project further out. Originally, it was expected to be completed by September but now it could be delayed until 2011, officials said.

That poses a problem for the F.B.I.'s ability to handle its law enforcement and maintain its information systems.

Congressional officials said that the project is considered vital to national security.

The audit released by Justice Department  shows that the cost for the FBI computer system upgrade could be more than $451 million.

Testers of the new system reported flaws including more than four minutes to attach a picture to a file and the process could not be stopped once started. Based on feedback, testers complained the system made tasks harder to complete.

For years, the FBI has struggled to modernize its computer systems. Lockheed Martin awarded the $305 million Sentinel information technology contract by the FBI in 2006.

Although the Sentinel program has made some improvements to the FBI's e-mail and database searching, it is still regarded as sub-par in some crucial areas.

The FBI said in a statement that the issues with Sentinel have not hampered investigations.

 

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