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FBI says it's making progress on technology upgrade

The FBI is nearing completion on two of three major steps to improve its information infrastructure, FBI project management executive Sherry Higgins said in written testimony at a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Judiciary Administrative Oversight Subcommittee.

The agency has purchased new printers, scanners and workstations, and updated Microsoft Office software at all field offices as the first part of its "Trilogy" program, Higgins said.

The second part, which involves the creation of a higher-speed network both between and within FBI buildings as well as new encryption programs, is scheduled for completion in March 2003, back from a previous date of July 2002.

Under the final component, the agency will merge five software applications into a Web-based virtual case file aimed at easing navigation.

Higgins said the program would improve methods for manipulating documents and sharing information. The first part of the Web application should be released by December 2003.