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entitled 'Information Technology: FBI Has Largely Staffed Key 
Modernization Program, but Strategic Approach to Managing Program's 
Human Capital Is Needed' which was released on October 17, 2006. 

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Report to Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

October 2006: 

Information Technology: 

FBI Has Largely Staffed Key Modernization Program, but Strategic 
Approach to Managing Program's Human Capital Is Needed: 

Information Technology: 

GAO-07-19: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-07-19, a report to Committee on the Judiciary, House 
of Representatives 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently began a 6-year, $425 
million program called Sentinel to replace and expand on both its 
failed Virtual Case File (VCF) project and its antiquated, paper-based, 
legacy system for supporting mission-critical intelligence analysis and 
investigative case management activities. Because of the FBI’s 
experience with VCF and the importance of Sentinel, GAO was requested 
to address a number of program management issues associated with 
acquiring Sentinel via a prime development contractor. This report 
focuses on one of these issues: whether the FBI is adequately providing 
for the program’s human capital needs. The findings are based on GAO’s 
review of relevant program documentation, interviews with program 
officials, and human capital management guidance. 

What GAO Found: 

To its credit, the FBI has moved quickly to staff its Sentinel program 
office. During the last year, it created a staffing plan for Sentinel, 
which defines the positions needed for the program, and it has filled 
most of the positions in the plan, primarily by using contract staff 
(77 percent). However, a few key program management positions remain to 
be filled. More importantly, the Sentinel staffing plan addresses only 
the program office’s immediate staffing needs. It does not provide for 
the kind of strategic human capital management focus that GAO’s 
research and evaluations have shown to be essential to the success of 
any organizational entity. For example, the staffing plan was not 
derived using a documented, data-driven methodology and does not 
provide for inventorying the knowledge and skills of existing staff, 
forecasting future knowledge and skill needs, analyzing gaps in 
capabilities between the existing staff and future workforce needs, 
(including consideration of expected succession needs), and formulating 
strategies for filling expected gaps. (See figure below for an overview 
of this approach.) Exacerbating this situation is that the FBI is not 
proactively managing Sentinel human capital availability as a program 
risk; it has not included human capital in the program’s risk inventory 
nor has it developed and implemented a proactive risk mitigation 
strategy, even though program documents cite human capital as both a 
challenge and a risk. According to program officials, they plan to 
manage their human capital needs in the same way as when they initially 
staffed the program office, in part because the bureau’s IT system life 
cycle management policies and procedures do not require them to do 
otherwise. Unless the FBI adopts a more strategic approach to managing 
human capital for the Sentinel program and treats human capital as a 
program risk, the chances of delivering required intelligence and 
investigative support capabilities in a timely and cost-effective 
manner are reduced. 

Figure: Summary of Strategic Approach to Managing Human Capital for IT 
Programs: 

[See PDF for Image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of Figure] 

What GAO Recommends: 

To strengthen the Sentinel program, GAO recommends that the FBI (1) 
establish policies and procedures for strategically managing IT 
programs’ human capital needs and implement those policies and 
procedures on all IT programs, including Sentinel and (2) treat and 
manage Sentinel human capital availability as a program risk. In its 
comments on a draft of this report, the FBI agreed with the 
recommendations and described steps completed, under way, and planned. 

[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-07-19]. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Randolph C. Hite at (202) 
512-3439 or hiter@gao.gov. 

[End of Section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

Sentinel Short-Term Staffing Needs Largely Met, but Strategic Approach 
to Managing Program Human Capital Needs Is Lacking: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Comments from the Federal Bureau of Investigation: 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Program Management Office Organizational Chart: 

Figure 2: Status of Staffing Efforts for Sentinel: 

Figure 3: Overview of Strategic Approach to IT Program Human Capital 
Management: 

Abbreviations: 

ASC: Automated Case Management System: 
CIO: Chief Information Officer: 
FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation: 
IT: information technology: 
VCF: Virtual Case File: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

October 16, 2006: 

The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. 
Chairman: 
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on the Judiciary: 
House of Representatives: 

In early 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began 
Sentinel, an estimated 6-year, $425 million program to acquire and 
deploy an information technology (IT) system to replace and expand on 
both its failed Virtual Case File (VCF) project and its antiquated, 
paper-based, legacy system for supporting mission-critical intelligence 
analysis and investigative case management activities. Among the 
reasons we and others have cited for VCF's failure were the limitations 
in the project's human capital capabilities, including the lack of 
continuity in key positions and shortfalls in requisite program 
management knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

Because of the FBI's experience with VCF and the importance of Sentinel 
to the bureau's mission operations, you asked us to address a number of 
Sentinel acquisition management issues.[Footnote 1] As agreed with your 
offices, we are reporting first on whether the FBI is adequately 
providing for the program's human capital needs. To address this 
objective, we reviewed FBI policies and procedures, program plans, 
current staffing profiles, and we interviewed appropriate program 
officials. Details on our objective, scope, and methodology are 
included in appendix I. 

Results in Brief: 

To its credit, the FBI has moved quickly to staff its Sentinel program 
office, following what it describes as a meticulous approach that 
complies with bureau policies and procedures. In particular, it created 
the staffing plan for Sentinel during the last year, which defined the 
near-term positions needed for the program, and it has filled most of 
the positions in the plan, mainly using contractors (77 percent). 
However, a few key positions remain to be filled, such as the lead test 
engineer. Moreover, the staffing plan addresses only the program's 
immediate staffing needs and does not define the kind of strategic 
approach to human capital management that our research and evaluations 
have shown to be critical to the success of any organizational entity. 
In particular, the staffing plan was not derived using a documented, 
fact-based, data-driven methodology, and the plan does not provide for 
inventorying the knowledge and skills of existing staff, forecasting 
future knowledge and skill needs, analyzing gaps in capabilities 
between the existing staff and future workforce needs, (including 
consideration of expected succession needs), or formulating strategies 
for filling expected gaps, including training, additional hiring, and 
the appropriate degree of reliance on contractors. Exacerbating this 
situation is that the program's inventory of risks does not include 
human capital; steps have not been planned to proactively mitigate the 
probability and impact of future staffing shortfalls, even though other 
program documents cite it as a challenge and a risk. According to 
Sentinel program officials, they do not view human capital as a risk to 
the program because they intend to rely on the same practices that they 
have used to address their immediate program office staffing needs, 
which have included bringing in staff from other FBI units and other 
government agencies and leveraging contractor staff. In addition, they 
said, and our analysis confirmed, that bureau IT system life cycle 
management policies and procedures do not require them to address human 
capital risks. 

In our view, not having a more strategic and proactive human capital 
management focus on a major IT program such as Sentinel increases the 
chances that promised system capabilities and benefits will not be 
delivered on time and within budget. Accordingly, we are making 
recommendations for the FBI to develop and implement IT program 
management policies and procedures that provide for strategic human 
capital management on all major FBI IT programs, including Sentinel, 
and for treating Sentinel's human capital availability as a program 
risk. In its comments on a draft of this report, signed by the FBI 
Chief Information Officer (CIO) and reprinted in appendix III, the FBI 
agreed with our recommendations and stated that while they had made 
progress laying a foundation for improved IT human capital management 
across the bureau, much work remains. In this regard, the FBI described 
steps completed, under way, and planned relative to managing human 
capital on the Sentinel program and the entire FBI IT organization. We 
support these steps as they are consistent with our findings and 
recommendations. The bureau also provided technical comments and 
updated information, which we have incorporated as appropriate in the 
report. 

Background: 

The FBI serves as the primary investigative unit of the Department of 
Justice. The FBI's mission responsibilities include investigating 
serious federal crimes, protecting the nation from foreign intelligence 
and terrorist threats, and assisting other law enforcement agencies. 
Approximately 12,500 special agents and 18,000 analysts and mission 
support personnel are located in the bureau's Washington, D.C., 
headquarters and in more than 450 offices in the United States and more 
than 50 offices in foreign countries. Mission responsibilities at the 
bureau are divided among the following five major organizational 
components: 

* Intelligence: Collects and analyzes information on evolving threats 
to the United States and ensures its dissemination within the FBI, to 
law enforcement, and to the U.S. intelligence community. 

* Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence: identifies, assesses, 
investigates, and responds to national security threats. 

* Criminal Investigations: Investigates serious federal crimes, 
including those associated with organized crime, violent offenses, 
white-collar crime, government and business corruption, and civil 
rights infractions. Probes federal statutory violations involving 
exploitation of the Internet and computer systems for criminal, foreign 
intelligence, and terrorism purposes. 

* Law Enforcement: provides law enforcement information and forensic 
services to federal, state, local, and international agencies. 

* Administration: manages the bureau's personnel programs, budgetary 
and financial services, records, information resources, and information 
security. 

Information Technology Is Instrumental to FBI Mission Operations: 

To execute its mission responsibilities, the FBI relies on IT, and this 
reliance has continued to grow. The bureau operates and maintains 
hundreds of computerized systems, networks, databases, and 
applications, such as: 

* the Combined DNA Index System, which supports forensic examinations; 

* the National Crime Information Center and the Integrated Automated 
Fingerprint Identification System, which helps state and local law 
enforcement agencies identify criminals; 

* the Automated Case Management System (ACS), which manages information 
collected on investigative cases; 

* the Investigative Data Warehouse, which aggregates data in a standard 
format from disparate databases to facilitate content management and 
data mining; and: 

* the Terrorist Screening Database, which consolidates identification 
information about known or suspected international and domestic 
terrorists. 

Following the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 
2001, the FBI shifted its mission focus to detecting and preventing 
future attacks, which ultimately led to the FBI's commitment to 
reorganize and transform. According to the bureau, the complexity of 
this mission shift, along with the changing law enforcement 
environment, strained its existing IT environment. As a result, the 
bureau accelerated the IT modernization program that it began in 
September 2000. This program, later named Trilogy, was the FBI's 
largest IT initiative to date, and consisted of three parts: (1) the 
Information Presentation Component to upgrade FBI's computer hardware 
and system software, (2) the Transportation Network Component to 
upgrade FBI's communication network, and (3) the User Application 
Component to upgrade and consolidate FBI's five key investigative 
software applications. The heart of this last component became the 
Virtual Case File (VCF) system, which was intended to replace the 
obsolete Automated Case Support system, FBI's primary investigative 
application. 

While the first two components of Trilogy experienced cost overruns and 
schedule delays, both are nevertheless currently still operating. 
However, VCF never became fully operational. In fact, the FBI 
terminated the project after Trilogy's overall costs grew from $380 
million to $537 million, the program fell behind schedule, and pilot 
testing showed that completion of VCF was infeasible and cost 
prohibitive. Among reasons we and others cited for VCF's failure were 
poorly defined system requirements, ineffective requirements change 
control, limited contractor oversight, and human capital shortfalls due 
to, for example, no continuity in certain management positions and a 
lack of trained staff for key program positions. 

The FBI reports that it has almost 500 systems, applications, 
databases, and networks that are in operation, undergoing enhancement, 
or being developed or acquired. In particular, it has identified 18 new 
or enhancement projects that support its intelligence, investigative, 
and analyst activities. Included in these is the Sentinel program. 

Sentinel: A Brief Description: 

The Sentinel program succeeds and expands VCF and is intended to meet 
FBI's pressing need for a modern, automated capability for 
investigative case management and information sharing to help field 
agents and intelligence analysts perform their jobs more effectively 
and efficiently. The program's key objectives are to: (1) successfully 
implement a system that acts as a single point of entry for all 
investigative case management and that provides paperless case 
management and workflow capabilities, (2) facilitate a bureau-wide 
organizational change management program, and (3) provide intuitive 
interfaces that feature data relevant to individual users. Using 
commercially available software and hardware components, Sentinel is 
planned to provide a range of system capabilities and services, 
including: 

* investigative case management, leads management, and evidence 
management; 

* document and records management, indexed searching, and electronic 
workflow; 

* links to legacy FBI systems and external data sources; 

* training, statistical, and reporting tools; and: 

* security and application management. 

The FBI plans to acquire Sentinel in four phases, each of which will 
span 12 to 18 months. While the specific content of each phase is to be 
proposed by and negotiated with the prime contractor,[Footnote 2] the 
general content of each phase is as follows: 

* Phase 1: Includes a Web-based portal that will provide a data access 
tool for ACS and other legacy systems and includes the definition of a 
service-oriented architecture[Footnote 3] to support delivery and 
sharing of common services across the bureau. 

* Phase 2: Includes the creation of case document and records 
management capabilities, document repositories, improved information 
assurance, application workflow, and improved data labeling to enhance 
information sharing. 

* Phase 3: Includes updating and enhancing system storage and search 
capabilities. 

* Phase 4: Includes implementing a new case management system to 
replace ACS. 

Overall, the FBI estimates that the four phases will cost about $425 
million and take 6 years to complete. For fiscal year 2005, the FBI 
reprogrammed $97 million in appropriated funds from various sources to 
fund Sentinel work and submitted a $100 million budget estimate for 
fiscal year 2007. 

To manage the acquisition and deployment of Sentinel, the FBI 
established a program management office within the Office of the Chief 
Information Officer. The program office is led by a program manager and 
consists of the eight primary units described here (see fig. 1). Human 
capital decision making is vested with the program manager (or deputy 
program manager in his absence.) 

* Program Management Office Staff: General Counsel provides legal 
advice; dedicated Contracting Officer manages program support and 
development contracts on behalf of the Program Management Office; and 
office staff manages day-to-day operations. 

* Communications and Liaison Team: Prepares communications for the user 
community regarding Sentinel content and progress, media releases, and 
program briefings for stakeholders through FBI channels. Also, prepares 
information and reports for congressional stakeholders and testimony 
for the Director, Deputy Attorney General, and Attorney General 
regarding the program. 

* Organizational Change Management Team: Prepares user community for 
adapting to new technology and associated work process changes and 
cultural shifts and serves as the user community's representative and 
information conduit to the program office. 

* Business and Administrative Support Unit: Provides support and 
oversight services, including support for human capital management, 
information and physical security, budget and investment management, 
contract support, audit, cost estimation, financial management, earned 
value management, and property management. 

* Program Integration Unit: Prepares program baselines and plans, 
including milestones, and tracks progress against them; also, documents 
baseline changes. Manages the configuration management process, 
schedules program reviews, and provides major reports and updates 
regarding the program to bureau management and stakeholders. 

* System Development Unit: Focuses on system design and development and 
related technical aspects of the program, such as design, development, 
and testing to ensure that technical solutions meet system and user 
requirements. Performs technical analyses of new requirements and 
changes to the enterprise architecture. 

* Transition Unit: Manages the phased roll-out of system capabilities, 
including headquarters and field site preparation, user training, and 
changeover in user support to the Operations and Maintenance Unit. 

* Operations and Maintenance Unit: Oversees and supports deployed 
system capabilities. 

Figure 1: Program Management Office Organizational Chart: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of FBI data. 

[End of figure] 

To support the program office, the FBI has also issued task orders 
under existing contracts for program management support and services. 

Prior Assessments of FBI's IT Human Capital Management Have Raised 
Concerns: 

In 2005, we testified[Footnote 4] that the FBI's efforts to establish a 
strategic approach to managing its IT human capital remained a work in 
progress, and that completing these efforts posed a significant 
challenge for the bureau. In addition, we reported that the CIO had yet 
to create a strategic approach to managing IT human capital. As we said 
at that time, such an approach includes an assessment of the core 
competencies and essential knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to 
perform key IT functions, as well as an inventory of existing workforce 
capabilities and a gap analysis between defined needs and existing 
capabilities. The approach also provides for defining strategies and 
actions for filling identified gaps, such as the appropriate mix of 
hiring, training, and contract activities. It also establishes 
performance and accountability mechanisms, such as time frames, 
resources, roles and responsibilities, and performance measures 
associated with executing the strategies and actions. 

In September 2005, the National Academy of Public Administration 
reported[Footnote 5] that the bureau had developed a strategic human 
capital plan and had initiatives under way to improve its human capital 
system. However, it also reported that the bureau's programs, 
activities, and actions were unlikely to produce a successful human 
capital program. Specifically, human capital improvement efforts were 
not carried out in a systematic, coordinated, and strategic manner; 
human capital management responsibility and authority were shared among 
different individuals; implementation of initiatives that involved 
contractors was not effectively coordinated; and implementation of 
plans and decisions was not always sustained. The Academy concluded 
that the bureau is likely to miss its staffing targets, due in part to 
insufficient workforce planning. 

Sentinel Short-Term Staffing Needs Largely Met, but Strategic Approach 
to Managing Program Human Capital Needs Is Lacking: 

To its credit, the FBI has moved quickly to staff its Sentinel program 
office, following what the Sentinel program manager describes as a 
meticulous series of actions to determine staffing needs, develop 
position descriptions, review resumes and reassess program needs. 
During the last year, it has also filled most of the positions in the 
plan primarily by using contractors. Nevertheless, a few key positions 
remain unfilled. Moreover, the staffing plan addressed only the 
program's immediate staffing needs; it does not provide for the kind of 
strategic human capital planning and management that our research has 
shown to be critical to the success of any organization, such as 
inventorying the knowledge and skills of existing staff, forecasting 
knowledge and skill needs over the life of the program, and formulating 
explicit strategies for filling gaps. Exacerbating this lack of a 
strategic approach to human capital management is that the program's 
inventory of risks does not include human capital as a program risk, 
and thus steps are not planned to proactively address these risks. 
Program officials told us that they are satisfied with Sentinel 
workforce management efforts, and, although challenges lie ahead, they 
are confident that the FBI can address the program's evolving human 
capital needs. In contrast, other program documentation cites human 
capital as a program challenge and risk. In our view, the FBI's 
approach to managing human capital in the Sentinel program is reactive 
and introduces the risk of not having skilled personnel available. A 
more proactive approach would increase the bureau's ability to deliver 
Sentinel's needed functionality and promised mission benefits on time 
and within budget. 

FBI Has Leveraged Contractors to Quickly Meet Most of Its Short-Term 
Sentinel Staffing Needs but Several Key Positions Are Unfilled: 

To its credit, the FBI has moved quickly to staff its Sentinel program 
office. During the last year, it created a staffing plan for Sentinel 
that is to serve as the program's primary human capital planning 
document. Basically, this staffing plan defines the program's immediate 
workforce requirements and identifies key program functions, positions, 
skills, and staffing levels that the FBI says it currently needs to 
begin executing the program. The staffing plan is intended to be a 
"living" document, meaning that the FBI intends to update it as 
required to reflect significant changes in the program office's roles 
and responsibilities and staffing needs throughout the life of the 
program. These officials also stated that they developed the plan with 
the assistance of a contractor, and that it reflects their meticulous 
efforts to analyze staffing needs (skills and levels), develop position 
descriptions, review resumes, and reassess program needs. Further, they 
said that it is based on more than 100 years of combined program 
management experience and knowledge and that these efforts complied 
with bureau policies and procedures. 

Using the plan, program officials told us that they collaborated with 
the FBI Human Capital Office to fill defined positions with transfers 
from other FBI units and other federal agencies, and by hiring from 
outside the government. In doing so, the officials said that their 
approach was to fill program leadership positions with government staff 
and to fill the rest with government and contractor staff. Further, FBI 
officials said that they had initially focused on positions associated 
with near-term program management activities, such as program planning, 
requirements management, and contract solicitation and award. For 
government positions, program officials received support from the Human 
Capital Office in posting job announcements and processing 
applications. The program officials worked directly with existing 
contractors to fill contract positions. According to officials, they 
were able to address their initial staffing needs quickly because of 
the priority the Sentinel Program Manager, who is directly responsible 
for human capital decisions, devoted to recruitment and staffing 
efforts during the program's planning stages, the availability of the 
FBI's Human Capital Office to assist them, and the ability to draw from 
existing contract vehicles. 

Of the program's 78 positions, 60 are to be filled by contractors (77 
percent). This level of reliance on contractors for program management 
is appreciably higher than it was for another major IT program that we 
recently reviewed [Footnote 6]. For example, the ratio of government- 
to-contractor staffing on the Department of Homeland Security's US 
VISIT[Footnote 7] program was about 50-50. According to Sentinel 
officials, their reliance on contractors for program management is a 
common practice in intelligence programs. While we are not aware of any 
generally accepted standards governing the desired mix of government 
versus contractor personnel performing program management functions, 
acquisition experts have recently raised over-reliance on contractors 
in performing program management functions as an emerging issue in the 
federal government. 

To date, the program office reports that it has filled 63 of 78 
identified positions (81 percent). According to program officials, they 
are actively recruiting 5 of the 15 unfilled positions and plan to hire 
the remaining 10 in later phases of the program, when the need for 
these positions becomes more relevant. Among the 15 vacancies is the 
lead test engineer position, which is important for ensuring the 
testability of defined system requirements early in the program. 
According to program officials, the unfilled positions have had no 
negative impact on the program's schedule or deliveries to date. (See 
fig. 2 for a complete list of the program office's positions, including 
those still unfilled.) 

Figure 2: Status of Staffing Efforts for Sentinel: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of FBI data. 

[End of figure] 

FBI Has Not Adopted a Strategic Approach for Managing Sentinel's Human 
Capital: 

The success of any IT program depends on effectively leveraging people, 
processes, and tools to achieve defined outcomes and results. To 
effectively leverage people, they must be treated as strategic assets. 
As we previously reported, a strategic approach to human capital 
management enables an organization to be aware of and prepared for its 
current and future human capital needs, such as workforce size, 
knowledge, skills, and training. To be effective, our research shows 
that such a strategic approach includes using data-driven, fact-based 
methods to (1) assess the knowledge and skills needed to execute a 
program; (2) inventory existing staff knowledge and skills; (3) 
forecast the knowledge and skills needed over time; (4) analyze the 
gaps in capabilities between the existing staff and future workforce 
needs, including consideration of evolving program and succession needs 
caused by turnover and retirement; and (5) formulate strategies for 
filling expected gaps, including training, additional hiring, and the 
appropriate use of contractors. (See fig. 3 for an overview of this 
process). Through effective human capital management, organizations can 
effectively mitigate the serious risks associated with not having 
highly qualified employees. 

Figure 3: Overview of Strategic Approach to IT Program Human Capital 
Management: 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

The Sentinel program has yet to determine and follow such a strategic 
approach to managing its human capital needs. In particular, in 
addressing its near-term staffing needs, FBI officials did not use a 
documented, fact-based, data-driven methodology to assess needs and 
existing capabilities, nor did it perform a gap analysis of the number 
of staff required and the specific skills and abilities needed to 
develop, maintain, and implement Sentinel. As previously stated, 
officials told us that they relied on their collective years of 
experience in managing IT projects and the assistance of a contractor 
to create the staffing plan, and that they reviewed resumes of 
candidates to fill the positions in the staffing plan. These efforts 
have not produced program life cycle strategies for retention of key 
staff, succession planning for key positions, long-term hiring of new 
staff, replenishment of workforce losses due to foreseeable attrition, 
or training of existing staff. The staffing plan also fails to specify 
the desired mix of government and contractor staff for the program. 

As we reported in 2005, the Chief Information Officer planned, at that 
time, to hire a contractor with human capital expertise to help 
identify gaps between existing skills and abilities and those needed to 
successfully modernize the bureau's entire IT organization. In 
commenting on a draft of this report, the CIO stated that, in July 
2005, he began a three-phase strategic human capital planning 
initiative, the purpose of which is to provide the CIO with the means 
to meet the bureau's IT human capital needs for the 21st century. The 
three phases are (1) development of a competency model and an inventory 
of existing staff knowledge and skills, (2) an analysis of gaps between 
staff needs and existing capabilities, and (3) development and 
implementation of strategies to fill critical gaps. The FBI reports 
that they are close to completing the first phase, but that much work 
remains to be done. At the same time, the Sentinel program is well 
under way. Moreover, while the CIO stated that the Sentinel staffing 
plan will dovetail with this three-phase initiative, program officials 
told us that it was not clear to them how, or whether, the program's 
staffing efforts were aligned with or part of other human capital 
efforts under way at the bureau. 

Nevertheless, program officials told us that they do not see a need to 
change their approach to managing Sentinel human capital because they 
believe that the approach used to initially staff-up the program office 
had served them well. Officials told us they will reassess their human 
capital needs for future phases of the project to ensure the right 
complement of staff and skills mix is available for each phase. In 
addition, they said that the bureau's life cycle management policies 
and procedures do not require such a strategic approach to managing 
human capital for IT programs. Our analysis of the bureau's system life 
cycle management directive and program management handbook confirmed 
that they do not contain policies, procedures, or guidance for doing 
so. In our view, not addressing Sentinel human capital more 
strategically and proactively increases the risk of not delivering 
required system capabilities and expected mission value on time and 
within budget. 

FBI Is Not Treating Human Capital as a Program Risk for Sentinel: 

Risk management is a continuous, forward-looking process that is 
intended either to prevent program cost, schedule, and performance 
problems from occurring or to minimize the impact if problems do occur 
by proactively identifying risks, implementing risk mitigation 
strategies, and measuring and disclosing progress in doing so. 

To its credit, the FBI has established a risk management process for 
Sentinel that includes a risk management plan and an inventory of risks 
that are to be proactively managed to mitigate the probability of their 
occurring and their impacts if they do occur. However, this risk 
inventory does not include any human capital-related risks. According 
to program officials, the inventory does not include human capital 
risks because they do not see a need to include them. Available 
Sentinel program documentation and other statements by program 
officials, however, suggest otherwise. For instance, the Sentinel 
staffing plan states that adequate staffing is a critical factor in the 
program office's ability to successfully execute its responsibilities, 
and that staff recruitment will be a difficult challenge given the 
competition for skilled IT professionals with security clearances in 
the Washington Metropolitan Area. Moreover, the FBI's fiscal year 2007 
budget submission for Sentinel (Exhibit 300[Footnote 8]) identifies the 
availability of human capital for the prime contractor as a program 
risk, and in commenting on a draft of this report, the CIO stated that 
human capital risks exist. In addition, officials identified various 
hiring challenges, such as that two-thirds of applicants fail the 
bureau's security screening process and that the time it takes to 
execute the hiring process can be lengthy. Moreover, they said that 
they will face on-going hiring issues due to attrition and staff 
rotations. For instance, several contractor staff had recently left the 
program--although the CIO said that this was normal attrition--and the 
bureau filled the positions within 30 days. Also, 4 of the program 
office's 19 government staff are on temporary duty and will rotate to 
other tours of duty, including the program manager, whose 2-year detail 
at the FBI expires in 2007 (although the possibility exists for a one- 
year extension). 

In our view, not identifying human capital as a program risk and 
managing it as such on a major IT program like Sentinel increases the 
chances that promised system capabilities and benefits will not be 
delivered on time and within budget. 

Conclusions: 

The success of any IT program depends on effectively leveraging people, 
processes, and tools to achieve defined outcomes and results. To 
effectively leverage people, they must be treated as strategic assets 
and managed as such. Notwithstanding the FBI's considerable efforts to 
quickly staff-up the Sentinel program office, it has not adopted the 
kind of strategic management approach needed to effectively leverage 
Sentinel human capital throughout the life of the program, in part 
because the FBI's IT program management policies and procedures do not 
require it. Moreover, the program's risk management inventory does not 
include the availability of Sentinel human capital, and thus it is not 
recognized and managed as a serious program risk. Given the pressing 
need to deliver mission-critical investigative and intelligence IT 
support to FBI agents and analysts and the importance of strategic 
human capital management to programs like Sentinel, it is essential 
that this program risk be proactively mitigated. Unless the FBI adopts 
a more strategic and proactive approach to managing Sentinel human 
capital and treats it as a program risk, the chances of the program 
delivering required intelligence and investigative capabilities and 
mission value in a timely and cost effective manner are diminished. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To strengthen the FBI's management of its Sentinel program and to 
better ensure that the program delivers required capabilities and 
expected benefits on time and within budget, we make the following two 
recommendations: 

* The FBI Director should have the bureau's CIO establish IT program 
management policies and procedures for strategically managing IT 
programs' human capital needs and ensure that these policies and 
procedures are fully implemented on all major IT programs, including 
Sentinel. 

* The FBI Director should have the CIO treat and manage both Sentinel 
program office and prime contractor human capital availability as 
program risks and periodically report to the Director on the status and 
results of efforts to mitigate these risks. 

Agency Comments: 

In written comments on a draft of this report signed by the CIO and 
reprinted in appendix II, the FBI agreed with our recommendations and 
stated that while progress has been made to lay a foundation for 
improved IT human capital management across the bureau, much work 
remains. In this regard, the FBI described steps completed, under way, 
and planned relative to managing human capital on the Sentinel program 
and across the FBI IT organization. For instance, the FBI stated that 
the CIO's office invested 3 months in developing a staffing plan for 
Sentinel that analyzed staffing needs in light of lessons learned from 
other IT projects, analyzed resumes of both government and contactor 
staff, and used contractor staff until government staff could replace 
them. In addition, FBI stated that it has initiated Project Management 
Professional certification and training efforts and begun a strategic 
human capital planning initiative that is to provide a repeatable and 
strategic approach to managing IT human capital resources across its IT 
organization. We support these steps as they are consistent with our 
findings and recommendations. The bureau also provided other technical 
comments and updated information, which we have incorporated, as 
appropriate, in the report. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Chairman and Vice Chairman 
of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Ranking Minority 
Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well 
as to the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee 
on the Judiciary, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on 
Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related 
Agencies, and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on 
Appropriations, Subcommittee on Science, the Departments of State, 
Justice, and Commerce, and Related Agencies. We are also sending copies 
to the Attorney General; the Director, FBI; the Director, Office of 
Management and Budget; and other interested parties. In addition, the 
report will also be available without charge on GAO's Web site at 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

Should you have any questions about matters discussed in this report, 
please contact me at (202) 512-3439 or by e-mail at hiter@gao.gov. 
Contact points for our Office of Congressional Relations and Public 
Affairs Office may be found on the last page of this report. Key 
contributors to this report are listed in appendix II. 

Signed by: 

Randolph C. Hite: 
Director, Information Technology Architecture and Systems Issues: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Our objective was to determine whether the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation (FBI) has adequately provided for the human capital needs 
of its Sentinel program. To address our objective, we focused on three 
areas: FBI's efforts to date in staffing the Sentinel program office, 
the bureau's plans to address gaps between the program's human capital 
needs and existing FBI capabilities, and the extent to which FBI is 
proactively treating and managing human capital as a program risk. 

To evaluate whether the FBI is adequately providing for the Sentinel 
program's human capital needs, we compared the bureau's efforts against 
relevant criteria and best practices, including our own framework for 
strategic human capital management.[Footnote 9] These criteria promote 
the use of data to determine key performance objectives and goals in 
identifying current and future human capital needs, including the 
appropriate number of employees, the key competencies and skills mix 
for mission accomplishment, and the appropriate deployment of staff 
across the organization. They also advocate strategies for identifying 
and filling human capital gaps and performing succession planning, as 
well as being the basis for efforts intended to mitigate human capital- 
related program risks. 

To accomplish these steps, we requested key staffing-related documents 
from the FBI, including (1) the organization chart for the Sentinel 
program office, including filled positions and vacancies and the source 
of the resources filling those positions (i.e., internal FBI, 
contractors, outside hires); (2) FBI's assessment of workforce needs-- 
including positions, roles and responsibilities, and core competencies-
-to adequately perform system acquisition activities (i.e., 
configuration management, organizational change management, risk 
management, contractor tracking and oversight, and solicitation); (3) a 
current skills inventory and identification of gaps and shortfalls in 
human capital available to meet workforce needs and plans to address 
these shortfalls; and (4) FBI's inventory of program risks, including 
risks associated with human capital or workforce planning. In addition, 
we reviewed the number and mix of contractor and government positions 
needed to staff the Sentinel program office and analyzed where the FBI 
stands in filling these positions. We reviewed the evidence provided, 
including FBI's Life Cycle Management Directive Version 3.0 and the FBI 
Project Management Handbook Version 1.0, and compared it to our 
criteria to determine if the bureau's plans and efforts to date comport 
with best practices and relevant guidance. Further, and in order to 
verify our analyses, we interviewed appropriate FBI officials and 
Sentinel program office personnel. 

We performed our work at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., from 
September 2005 through July 2006 in accordance with generally accepted 
government auditing standards. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Comments from the Federal Bureau of Investigation: 

U.S. Department of Justice: 
Federal Bureau of Investigation: 
Washington, D. C. 20535-0001 I: 

September 22, 2006: 

Mr. Randolph C. Hite: 
Director, Information Technology Architecture and Systems Issues: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Re: GAO'S Draft Report: Information Technology, FBI Has Largely Staffed 
Key Modernization Program, But Strategic Approach To Managing Program's 
Human Capital Needed: 

Dear Mr. Hite: 

Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) draft report entitled "Information 
Technology, FBI Has Largely Staffed Key Modernization Program, but 
Strategic Approach to Managing Program's Human Capital Needed" 
(hereafter "Report"). The Report has been reviewed by various 
components of the FBI, including the Human Resources Branch and the 
Office of the Chief Information Officer. This letter constitutes the 
formal FBI response. 

Based on our review of the Report, the FBI concurs with the GAO's 
recommendation regarding the importance of establishing a strategic 
information technology (IT) human capital plan. In fact, I am pleased 
to inform you that the OLIO has made significant progress towards 
establishing a strategic approach to managing IT human capital 
resources. Working in close partnership with the Human Resources 
Division and the Training & Development Division, the OCIO has taken 
critical steps to develop and implement a fully integrated strategic IT 
human capital plan that will address current and future IT workforce 
needs and align with the FBI's Strategic Human Capital Plan. 

There are more than 1,100 government professionals who manage and 
oversee the FBI's IT research, development, acquisition, and 
operations. They possess the critically important job of developing and 
implementing the next generation of IT systems, applications, and 
networks, as well as maintaining our legacy IT systems. The need to 
hire, develop, and maintain a flexible yet highly skilled IT workforce 
capable of meeting the current, future, and emergent organizational 
needs is a major challenge facing the FBI. To address this challenge, 
the OCIO has initiated several key initiatives over the past two years 
which will result in the development and implementation of a strategic 
IT human capital plan. 

In September 2004, the OLIO initiated the Project Management 
Professional (PMP) certification initiative. This initiative provides 
a,means to develop and sustain a professional cadre of trained and 
certified project managers. The PMP certification is a widely 
recognized credential within the project management field. It certifies 
an individual has and maintains the requisite experience, skills, 
training, and knowledge of project management and is able to apply 
these skills in the real-world environment. Since inception, 230 FBI 
employees have completed a comprehensive eight-day project management 
training course and 53 have earned PMP certifications. Additionally, on 
April 4, 2006, the FBI-kicked-off the first Project Management 
Institute (PMI) Community within the FBI. The FBI Community is a 
component of the PMI Washington, D.C. Chapter and is an extension of 
the OCIO's commitment to strengthen and integrate professional project 
management discipline, practices, and principles across the 
organization. 

In June 2005, the OLIO initiated the Strategic Human Capital Planning 
Initiative (SHCPI). The purpose of the SHCPI is to implement a 
competency-based human capital process that effectively equips the 
FBI's IT Specialists (ITS) to meet the demands of the 21st century. It 
will also enable the OCIO to make more informed decisions associated 
with current and future IT workforce needs, ensuring the workforce has 
the experience, training, knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to 
pursue its mission. 

The three-phased SHCPI Program Plan implemented by the OLIO mirrors the 
strategic framework and employs the principles that the GAO laid out as 
necessary to develop an effective human capital management system. For 
example, during Phase I, the ITS competency model will be completed 
including an inventory of the existing ITS's knowledge and skills and a 
needs assessment. During Phase II, a gap analysis will be completed. 
During Phase III, strategies will be developed and implemented to fill 
critical gaps. The end result of this three-phased initiative will be a 
repeatable strategic approach to managing IT human capital resources 
across the organization. 

Although progress is being made, much work remains to develop and 
implement a strategic IT human capital plan. Steps are being taken to 
lay a solid foundation to improve the IT human capital management 
system. 

Human capital planning is vital, and SENTINEL has demonstrated proof of 
its management as an asset to the program through staff planning, 
position description development, resume tracking to position needs, 
and reassessment of needs at strategic control points in the program. 
This strategic approach to staffing is in compliance with the guidance 
outlined in the FBI's Project Management Handbook. 

As described by the GAO, ". a strategic approach to human capital 
management enables the organization to be aware of and prepared for its 
current and future human capital needs, such as workforce size, 
knowledge, skills, and training." The GAO further identified five tasks 
associated with effective human capital management: "(1) assess the 
knowledge and skills needed to execute a program; (2) inventory 
existing staff knowledge and skills; (3) forecast the knowledge and 
skills needed over time; (4) analyze the gaps in capabilities between 
the existing staff and future workforce needs, including consideration 
of evolving program and succession needs caused by turnover and 
retirement; and (5) formulate strategies for filling expected gaps, 
including training, additional hiring, and the appropriate use of 
contractors." 

The SENTINEL Program Manager's (PM) strategic approach to staffing the 
Project Management Office (PMO) has practiced four of the five tenets, 
specifically: 

* Tenet (1) - The OLIO invested three months developing a staffing plan 
to assess the correct mix of engineering, business and administrative 
management, contract, legal, transition, operations and maintenance, 
organizational change management, communications and staff support to 
manage the program, interface with major stakeholders, and keep the FBI 
user population informed and engaged. 

This well-thought-out staffing plan included an analysis of needs, 
consideration of lessons learned from other IT project staffing, and 
full coordination with FBI leadership prior to approval. The PMO 
Staffing Plan defined the staff's skill requirements, associated 
government and contractor PMO staffing levels, and actions for filling 
the PMO positions. It aligned with the personnel needs identified in 
the Program Management Plan. That plan included the use of Federally 
Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) personnel to manage 
units (under the supervision of the unit chief) until qualified 
government replacements were found to provide continuity. 

* Tenet (2) - The SENTINEL PMO has collected the resumes of all 
contractor personnel serving the PMO, and has collected a number of 
government resumes to understand their skills and how best to use them. 
The PM and Deputy PM personally reviewed the resumes of all potential 
staff members - whether government employees or contractors - to ensure 
the proper mix and balance of skills were reached. The PM formed an 
integrated team of subject matter experts from government, FFRDC, and 
Systems Engineering, and Technical Assistance contractors to maximize 
program expertise, ease the staffing burden for any one contractor, and 
afford the greatest flexibility in addressing known and unforseen 
staffing requirements. 

* Tenet (3) - SENTINEL has also been building management depth in the 
program organization to ensure each part of the PMO has a trained back 
up to ensure continuity of the program. When reviewing personnel needs 
over the life of the program, the PM - with concurrence from the OLIO - 
determined that filling some of the personnel assets needed in Phase 2 
could be deferred to save costs and ensure each employee was fully 
employed in his/her specific area of expertise. 

The PMO will continue to periodically review the current workforce 
skills structure to evaluate skills needed phase by phase and will 
adjust staffing if necessary. 

* Tenet (5) - The SENTINEL PMO clearly understands the importance of 
maintaining a quality workforce and the consequences of allowing 
staffing levels/quality to decrease to an unacceptable level. As the 
SENTINEL Program evolves, the management team within the PMO, the OCIO, 
and the FBI senior leadership team will continue to work together by 
periodically reassessing program staffing needs to ensure the SENTINEL 
Program is resourced correctly, and is successful in accomplishing its 
mission. If necessary, FBI assets will augment the SENTINEL PMO to 
ensure sufficient SENTINEL staffing levels to succeed in the 
development and deployment of the system. 

Ultimately, the SENTINEL Staffing Plan will dovetail into the OCIO IT 
human capital plan. 

Current IT policies and procedures such as the IT Life Cycle Management 
Directive (LCMD) are written to reflect major IT project management 
functions and activities These are usually addressed in terms of major 
process areas, such as, requirements, engineering, project planning, 
project monitoring and control, quality assurance, configuration 
management (CM), and so forth. References to "resources" (i.e., 
staffing and training) are usually made in terms of the project 
management function being addressed in the particular policy or 
procedure. For example, the Project Planning policy will address the 
"resources" required for project planning, and the CM policy addresses 
"resources" for CM. In this context, when the FBI completes the 
development and approval of all policies and procedures, human capital 
will have been addressed for all major IT project management functions. 

The current FBI IT policies state that PM and Senior Management will 
ensure that these policies and procedures are fully implemented. They 
also state that critical issues (i.e., resources and risks) and their 
status be reported on a periodically scheduled basis to Senior 
Management, in the form of technical or management reviews. 

The FBI concurs with the GAO's recommendation regarding treating human 
capital as a program risk. In fact, the OLIO recognizes the importance 
of implementing effective risk management and it is one of the key 
supporting processes of the IT LCMD. The FBI's risk management process 
provides a disciplined environment for pro-active decision-making to: 
identify continuously what can go wrong (risks); assess which risks 
require immediate attention; and implement strategies to mitigate 
risks. 

In compliance with the established policies and procedures, the 
SENTINEL PMO has and/or is tracking three program risks related to 
staffing, and had briefed them to the Director as part of the program's 
normal status review with the Director. Two of the risks dealt with the 
development contract and one with the program. One of the risks for the 
program and the development contractor regarding staffing have been 
mitigated/resolved and retired. The third, relating to trainer staffing 
by the contractor, is still being actively monitored. 

The SENTINEL PM and OCIG regularly keep Congress, other oversight 
bodies, and FBI leadership apprised of the staffing statistics and 
efforts to address any personnel shortages on a routine basis. 

A review of human capital assets is already being performed as part of 
the program's normal course of business. When the PM reviews risks to 
the program, human capital could be' added, elevated, lowered, or 
removed on the Risk Register based on the current/future situation and 
any mitigating factors. 

Again, thank you for the opportunity to respond to the Report. Should 
you or your staff have questions regarding our response, please contact 
me any time. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Chief Information Officer: 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Randolph C. Hite, (202) 512-3439 or hiter@gao.gov: 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the contact named above, the following people made key 
contributions to this report: Paula Moore, Assistant Director; JC 
Ceaser; Neil Doherty; Nancy Glover; Dan Gordon; Kevin Walsh; and Kim 
Zelonis. 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] These areas are the program's (1) use of effective methods for 
acquiring commercial solutions, (2) efforts to align itself with the 
bureau's enterprise architecture, (3) basis for reliably estimating 
costs and schedules, (4) plans for applying earned value management, 
(5) provisions for adequate human capital to manage the acquisition, 
and (6) relationship to the governmentwide case management line of 
business. 

[2] In August 2005, the FBI issued a request for proposal for Sentinel. 
In March 2006, it awarded the task order for Sentinel to Lockheed 
Martin under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Information 
Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center's (NITAAC) Chief 
Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 2 Innovations (CIO-SP2i) 
contract. 

[3] A service-oriented architecture is an approach for sharing 
functions and applications across an organization by designing them as 
discrete, reusable business-oriented services. These services need to 
be, among other things, (1) self-contained, meaning that they do not 
depend on any other functions or applications to execute a discrete 
unit of work; (2) published and exposed as self-describing business 
capabilities that can be accessed and used; and (3) subscribed to via 
well-defined and standardized interfaces instead of unique, tightly 
coupled connections. Such a service orientation is thus not only 
intended to promote the reduced redundancy and increased integration 
that any architectural approach is designed to achieve, but to also 
provide the kind of flexibility needed to support a quicker response to 
changing and evolving business requirements and emerging conditions. 

[4] GAO, Information Technology: FBI Is Building Management 
Capabilities Essential to Successful System Deployments, but Challenges 
Remain, GAO-05-1014T (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 14, 2005). 

[5] National Academy of Public Administration. Transforming the FBI: 
Roadmap to an Effective Human Capital Plan, (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 
2005). 

[6] GAO, Homeland Security: Some Progress Made, but Many Challenges 
Remain on U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology 
Program, GAO-05-202 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 23, 2005). 

[7] US VISIT is a program to collect, maintain, and share information 
on foreign nationals. 

[8] The Exhibit 300 is used by the Office of Management and Budget to 
collect information from federal agencies. The Exhibit 300 is intended 
to ensure that business cases for investments are made and are tied to 
agency mission statements, long-term goals and objectives, and annual 
performance plans developed pursuant to the Government Paperwork 
Elimination Act (GPRA). For IT, Exhibit 300s are designed to be used as 
one-stop documents for many IT management issues such as business cases 
for investments, IT security reporting, Clinger-Cohen Act 
implementation, E-Gov Act implementation, GPRA implementation, agency 
modernization efforts, and overall project (investment) management. 

[9] A Model of Strategic Human Capital Management, GAO-02-373SP 
(Washington, D.C.: Mar. 15, 2002). 

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