Thursday, January 13, 2005

New FBI Software May Be Unusable

A Los Angeles Times article reports yet another high-profile example of troubled software development.

"A new FBI computer program designed to help agents share information to ward off terrorist attacks may have to be scrapped, the agency has concluded, forcing a further delay in a four-year, half-billion-dollar overhaul of its antiquated computer system. The bureau is so convinced that the software, known as Virtual Case File, will not work as planned that it has taken steps to begin soliciting proposals from outside contractors for new software, officials said."

"The overhaul of the decrepit computer system was identified as a priority both by the independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks and by members of Congress, who found that the FBI's old system prevented agents from sharing information that could have headed off the attacks."

"The bureau recently commissioned a series of independent studies to determine whether any part of the Virtual Case File software could be salvaged. Any decision to proceed with new software would add tens of millions of dollars to the development costs and render worthless much of a current $170-million contract."

"That the software may have outlived its usefulness even before it has been fully implemented did not surprise some computer experts. An outside computer analyst who has studied the FBI's technology efforts said the agency's problem is that its officials thought they could get it right the first time. 'That never happens with anybody,' he said."



Comment by Blogger Jim Horning:

See also a later report by CNN.

7:24 PM  

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