The FBI, which has struggled for years to modernize its outdated computer systems, is two years behind and $100 million over budget on the installation of an electronic case-management system designed to streamline operations, says USA Today. A review by the Justice Department’s inspector general found that only half of the project’s four-phase development had been completed, “inhibiting the FBI’s ability to connect the dots” in its investigations. In a 28-page review released Wednesday, Inspector General Glenn Fine said he is concerned the delays might make the system obsolete even before it is fully functional.
The “Sentinel” system, budgeted at $451 million, was to provide agents and analysts with a more efficient process to handle evidence, expand search capabilities and allow for automated review of documents. “Sentinel’s budget and schedule overruns affect the daily work of the FBI’s 35,000 employees,” the report concluded, adding that agents are now relying on a “time-consuming, paper-based system .(). susceptible to errors.” The FBI criticized the Justice report, asserting that the inspector general “fails to credit the FBI with taking corrective action to keep (the project) on budget.” To reduce costs and expedite the program, the FBI is planning to reduce the role of its outside contractor and assume direct management of the uncompleted work.