FBI is reported to finally replace the outdated paper-based file sharing and storage system with the new digital technology called Sentinel. Even though it’s only now that the agency officially announced the shift, implementation of digital technology has been an important topic within the FBI for years. The implementation of a digital system lasted for 12 years in total and the overall costs are said to be $600 million.
The digital solution is supposed to facilitate information sharing among the agents and this is a real step forward after the massive paper files that piled up in the FBI offices for years. FBI director Robert Muller considered a priority to deploy a digitalized technology since 2001 attacks. The agency has been trying to find an appropriate case management system that would meet the governmental security requirements ever since.
The official implementation of Sentinel started in 2005 and was first planned to be finished by 2009. Prior to this the agency had a lot of trouble with finding the appropriate solution. Namely, they were developing different software called Virtual Case File from 2000 to 2005, but the project was disputed after $170 million was spent on it. Jeffrey Johnson, FBI assistant director and chief technology officer said that the agents were very skeptical about using Sentinel considering the fact that they have been struggling with different solutions for a long time.
Due to the fact that a lot of time and money was wasted on the unused technologies the project costs were overrun by $26 million. Back in 2005 it was predicted that the total costs would be $425 million, but the final digit turned out to be $451 million. However, it is important that digitalization was finally implemented as many people were afraid that Sentinel will suffer the same fate as its predecessor VCF.
The system is designed to look like a browser with an RSS feed for tracking file updates and a search engine for finding items like names and phone numbers. The agents have been testing the system since July 1st and its official launch was published on Tuesday. Sentinel is considered a real improvement in relation to the ACS (Automated Case Support) system that it replaced.