Northrop Grumman, Lockheed vie for postponed FBI computer update project

Published 5 December 2005

Two giants compete for an FBI computer upgrade — but project postponed yet again

Talk about private industry enjoying the boom in homeland security expenditures. Maybe J. Edgar Hoover was with the FBI for longer than the organization’s antiquated computer system, but not by much. The FBI’s successive — and failed — efforts to overhaul the system are by now the stuff of legends (project’s name: Virtual Case File system; duration: four years; sunk cost: $170 million). One would forgive, then, the organization’s nervousness is it approaches yet another attempt to upgrade the system and understand its decision to postpone, yet again, awarding the contract for the high-profile project, dubbed Sentinel, until next year. There is a stiff competition for the contract between two giants — Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

The FBI only last year completed the rollout of the Internet to its agents and analysts, and the aging computer system it uses did little to eliminate the sheer number of paper forms — 1,000 at last count — employees still use.

-read more in this Wall Street Journal report