Justice to put data center jobs up for competition

The Justice Department is planning competitive sourcing studies for its two data processing centers, its chief information officer said Wednesday.

Operations work at the centers--one in Rockville, Md., and the other in Dallas--is not inherently governmental and need not necessarily be performed by federal employees, Justice CIO Vance Hitch said. He spoke at a breakfast event sponsored by INPUT, a Chantilly, Va.-based market analysis firm.

Under President Bush's competitive sourcing initiative, agencies are encouraged to open jobs defined as commercial to private sector competition. Justice plans to compete 55 percent of such jobs by 2008.

Department officials have not yet determined how many data processing center employees will be affected by the competitive sourcing effort, Hitch said. The study will be completed in 12 to 18 months.

"We've just actually made the official announcement that there will be one," Hitch said.

Hitch said that in general, his major challenge is to bring greater cohesion to what has been a dispersed and decentralized IT systems environment. He said he directly controls only 9 percent of the department's IT budget, but sees "that number growing over the next couple of years."

Several departmentwide IT initiatives are coming to a head, including the Integrated Wireless Network, an effort to create a secure law enforcement wireless communications system to serve 80,000 law enforcement users from the Justice, Homeland Security and Treasury departments.

"The existing infrastructure is aging, dated and very, very costly to maintain," Hitch said. Developers recently delivered oral contract bids and one or more contracts will be awarded within the next couple of months, he said.

Justice also is nearly set to issue its request for proposals for its Litigation Case Management System. The system is the prosecuting attorney counterpart of the Federal Investigative Case Management Solutions project, of which the FBI's Sentinel project to develop an integrated, electronic information management system, is the first phase.

Currently, the seven attorney components within Justice, which handle everything from tax prosecutions to criminal cases, use different systems to manage their case dossiers. LCMS will replace those disparate systems with a single one. U.S. attorneys offices will be the first to migrate to the common system.

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