Posts Tagged ‘sentinel’

Slashing the federal IT budget: can someone (please) help the FBI?

30 Jun

What is it with the FBI and overspending? Back in January 2008, the Office of the Inspector General released a damning report on the Bureau's gross mismanagement of its finances, noting that in many cases phone companies had shut down wiretaps because the FBI wasn't paying its bills. 

In our coverage of the OIG report, we noted, "The FBI's $170 million Virtual Case File system upgrade was so dysfunctional that it had to be completely scrapped. The agency's latest upgrade attempt, a project called Sentinel, is expected to cost $425 million and will supposedly be operational in 2009." 

Well, it's 2010 and not only is Sentinel not operational and over budget, but Politico reports that the program could get caught up in outgoing Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag's IT cost-cutting crusade.

In a blog post on the White House site, Orszag announced a series of actions aimed at updating and downsizing federal IT spending. The first order of business is a freeze on all financial system modernization projects, which Orszag describes as "an area of persistent problems."

"For instance," he writes, "the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has invested over $300 million in two financial system projects over the past 10 years. The first project ended in failure and no operational capability has been realized with the second."

Again, we're reminded of the FBI's Trilogy project, which was launched in 2000 to update the agency's IT infrastructure but which failed in 2005. Sentinel is Trilogy's successor, and so far it's not looking good.

All told, Orszag plans to cut $20 billion from the federal IT budget. When combined with the $30 billion he plans to trim via datacenter consolidation, he'll save just enough to pay a little over two months of interest on the national debt. Hey, every little bit helps.

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