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Cobell v. Norton

August 9, 2001




A. The Trust Asset and Accounting Management System (TAAMS) Decision

This Court appointed the Court Monitor in its Order of April 16, 2001 to review and monitor the Interior Defendants' trust reform activities to bring them into compliance with their fiduciary duties to the plaintiffs. The Court Monitor has previously submitted a First Report addressing the Interior defendants' compliance with this Court's order directing them to provide the plaintiffs with an historical accounting.

This Second Report addresses the Court Monitor's review of the Interior defendants' actions regarding the TAAMS computer system and the status of the deployment and implementation of that system pursuant to the Court-ordered revised High Level Implementation Plan.

In its decision, Cobell v. Norton, 91F. Supp 2d 1 (D.D.C. 1999), this Court stated with regard to the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) TAAMS system:

"(T)he government has purchased a new system that is currently in the pilot stages of implementation, specifically in the Billings Area BIA office. Like TFAS, TAAMS is not yet operational or implemented and therefore is not used to issue IIM trust payments or manage IIM assets.

TAAMS appears to be an adequate asset management system as modified to fit BIA's needs. Also, like TFAS, however, the ultimate success of TAAMS depends on complete and accurate data and a proper interface with the other trust management business and computer components." Id. at 19.

"As impressive as Interior's new computer systems appear to be, these computer systems still depend upon the labor and skill of Interior's employees." Id. at 45.

These statements and others by this Court regarding the TAAMS computer system under pilot testing in the Billings Area BIA office (see generally Cobell at 19-20), were made based on the Interior defendants' presentation of testimony and evidence in a six week trial during June and July 1999.

The trial had been bifurcated into two phases known to the parties as Phase I - - "fixing the system"- - and Phase II - - the rendition of an "accounting" due the IIM account holders. The Court's December 1999 decision addressed the Phase I trial findings based on the testimony and documentary evidence of the parties regarding "plaintiffs' requests for prospective relief with regard to their rights arising from the IIM trust and related statutes." Id. at 31.

Much of the trial addressed plaintiffs' allegations that the Interior defendants had not complied with Congress' mandates concerning the management of the IIM trust including their fiduciary obligation to provide plaintiffs with an account of the "daily and annual balance of all funds held in trust by the United States for the benefit of individual Indians." Id. at 39."

The Interior defendants' testimony, in part, regarding their compliance with this mandate involved an extensive presentation about the new computer system under development and testing by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) known as the aforementioned "TAAMS." As this court stated in reviewing what the Interior defendants testified TAAMS would do:

"TAAMS, when implemented, will allow BIA to administer trust assets, generate timely bills, identify delinquent payments, track income from trust assets, and distribute proceeds to the appropriate account holders...."

"The key features of TAAMS that will support these functions are a billing and accounts receivable subsystem and a collection subsystem. TAAMS also will have a major module for administering land title records, a sub-module for probate tracking, and a tickler system that will notify BIA employees of upcoming important events, such as when leases are about to expire, when it is time to advertise leases, and when collections are due. TAAMS will generate title status reports and modern title documents. Specifically, TAAMS will pull all tracts of land owned by a single individual nationwide. Conversely, the tract mechanism in TAAMS will provide information on who actually owns the land and the legal description of the tract. In addition, TAAMS will provide all documents associated with a tract of land or, conversely, will identify the land that a document covers." Id. at 19, citations omitted.

Having considered the adequacy of this system, as testified to by the Interior defendants' witnesses, and the other efforts of the Interior defendants to comply with their statutory and fiduciary duties, this Court concluded:

"(I)nterior has established numerous high-level plans and has acquired and begun to implement effective new accounting and asset management systems...." Id. at 48.

Addressing a remedy for the plaintiffs for the Interior defendants' breaches of their fiduciary duties to plaintiffs the Court first noted that:

"Despite defendants' history, the court has decided to give defendants one last opportunity to carry through on their promises. The HLIP (High Level Implementation Plan), defendants' most comprehensive plan to eventually bring themselves into compliance with their duty to render an accurate accounting, is a substantial step in the right direction, as even plaintiffs admit. This time there is substance to support defendants' promises. The court feels that it is its constitutional duty to allow defendants the opportunity to cure the breaches of trust declared in this Memorandum Opinion.... Should the court find in the future upon proper motion by plaintiffs that defendants have been less than truthful in their representations or that defendants' adherence to prompt remedial action turns out to have been feigned, then the court may well decide to exercise its authority to ensure that its orders are carried out." Id. at 54, citations omitted, emphasis added.

The HLIP the Interior defendants provided to the Court was their plan to discharge their trust duties. It consisted of twelve subprojects. One of these was TAAMS, "central to the Court's purposes of determining the propriety of affording plaintiffs that prospective relief." Id. at 14. Defendants described that computer system to this Court as previously quoted from the Court's own recitation of the defendants' testimony and exhibits.

B. The Nessi Memoranda

The Court Monitor was appointed with the consent of the parties as this Court's response to the plaintiffs' call for a renewed examination of DOI's compliance with the Court's December 1999 decision that was based on the Phase I trial. Not only did the plaintiffs seek a Show Cause hearing as to why Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton should not be sanctioned for the actions or inactions of the Interior Defendants in complying with this Court's order, the Court was urged to reopen the Phase I trial in light of the alleged lack of progress and mismanagement associated with the implementation and deployment of the TAAMS computer system.

The major catalyst for plaintiffs' requests were two memoranda written on February 23, 2001 by Dom Nessi, Chief Information Officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and former TAAMS project manager. One, entitled "Trust Reform," was provided the Special Trustee, Office of the Special Trustee (OST) (Tab 1A), and the other, entitled "BIA Data Cleanup," was sent to the Deputy Commissioner - Bureau of Indian Affairs, Sharon Blackwell and to the Director, Office of Trust Responsibility, Terry Virden (Tab 1B).

In the Trust Reform memorandum, Nessi stated, in part,

"I believe that trust reform is slowly, but surely imploding at this point in time."


"The relationship between BIA and OTFM (and some individuals in OST) has deteriorated beyond anything I have seen since my involvement in November 1998.... The trust level is non-existent. Whatever the cause of this conflict (historical, personalities, etc.), it is severely hurting trust reform and must come to end for there to be any success." Id. at 1.

He continued with comments regarding the High Level Implementation Plan (HLIP) that had been made a part of the Interior defendants' evidence at trial to show their progress on trust reform in general and the TAAMS project specifically. It had been rewritten in response to the Court's direction in its opinion. He stated

"The HLIP itself was built on wishful thinking and rosy projections. No in-depth analysis was performed before the development of the HLIP. Instead, posturing for the Court and between DoI organizations seemed to be the primary influence on objectives and timelines. In short, the Plan was too ambitious given the challenges at hand and the resources available." Id.

He followed this by stating:

"This HLIP constructed milestones based on no analysis and now we are trying to live with impossible expectations. Trust has been neglected for decades in DoI. It cannot be corrected in a couple of years." Further, "The HLIP's subprojects are unclear and were developed in separate 'stovepipe' fashion when some are clearly cross-cutting objectives.... I have raised this concern numerous times to no avail. For example, the lack of clear policies and procedures within BIA and between BIA and OTFM continues to plague the TAAMS project.

As far as objectives, the philosophy of TAAMS has changed at least three times and the definition of BIA data cleanup seems to be different to everyone. These guiding objectives were never clearly defined to begin with." Id. at 1-2.

The final relevant passage to TAAMS was his statement that

"There is no over-all coordination and interaction between subprojects other than what people conduct on an informal basis." Id.

In his memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Nessi stated:

"The purpose of this memorandum is to recommend that the BIA Data Cleanup subproject be managed independently from the TAAMS project. Originally, we strongly believed that the two projects should be managed together to ensure that data cleanup activities were closely coordinated according to the short timeframes required by the High Level Implementation Plan (HLIP). Obviously, if an office was ready to deploy, but the data cleanup process was on a different schedule, there would be problems. It was thought that TAAMS software and training would be the driving force on deployment.

The reality is that the data cleanup process is now driving the deployment schedule. Because the data cleanup task has proven to be a far greater challenge than anyone previously considered, it will elongate the TAAMS deployment schedule and must receive close and constant attention." Id. at 1.

The Court Monitor's initial review of the TAAMS project was to determine the status of the rollout of TAAMS. If the former TAAMS project manager, later BIA Chief Information Officer (CIO), and the primary defense witness on TAAMS' capabilities and deployment was concerned enough about trust reform progress to write these memoranda to his superiors, what was the present status of TAAMS regarding its implementation and deployment?

Without the TAAMS computer system, the completion of all other HLIP subprojects cannot bring about trust reform. If there is no system on which to place the historical accounting data, or present or future data, and produce and distribute accurate account statements to IIM account holders and beneficiaries, there can be no compliance with this Court's order to provide the statutory and fiduciary trust accounting owed to the IIM account holders.

The Court Monitor's first task upon turning to review of the TAAMS project was to attempt to determine the status of the rollout, or deployment, of TAAMS as of June 2001.

C. Summary Description of TAAMS

A general understanding of the functions and terminology associated with TAAMS will enable the reader to better follow this Report's review of the TAAMS testing, trial testimony, interviews, and document reviews. Based on interviews and document review, the following summary is provided to facilitate that understanding.

TAAMS is to be designed to perform a number of functions for BIA. They fall into three major categories.

• Land Title and Beneficial Ownership Determinations - the system must be able to record title documents and allow the user to determine and certify title documents to include both ownership and encumbrances. This is referred to as the Title module or function of TAAMS.

• Natural Resources Asset Management - the system must also be capable of supporting the BIA users responsible for the day-to-day management of all Indian lands, including surface, sub-surface, easement and right-of-way approvals, and projects associated with the lands. This is referred to as the Realty module of TAAMS. It is sometimes referred to as the Leasing module or project.

• Accounting, Disbursing, and Reporting - the system must be able to interface with several other computer systems known as TFAS (Trust Fund Accounting System) and MMS (Mineral Management System) to collect funds, record payments, account for trust funds, and disburse payments to beneficial owners. This is referred to as the Accounting module or function of TAAMS and is a subpart of the Realty function.

Also, the Interface project involves TAAMS' exchanging data, such as account holder and financial information, with TFAS and MMS. TAAMS must have the capability to track names and addresses of IIM account holders and public and private contractors (Name and Address) as well as disburse monies to users (Distribution).

The Title module has two major parts: Title Current and Title History. To properly track ownership, the system must contain both parts.

The Realty module also includes functions such as Contracting, Acquisition & Disposal, Collection and Deposit, and Distribution.

TAAMS (and TFAS) will replace two older or "legacy" computer systems presently used by BIA. The first is the Land Records Information System (LRIS) which is operated by the BIA title plants and service centers and which maintain land title and records for all trust lands except for a manual system in Eastern Oklahoma. The second is the Integrated Records Management System (IRMS) that presently performs the accounting, distribution, leasing information collection, and "people" functions that fall under the rubric of Realty or Leasing module.

Additionally, TAAMS will have Probate and Appraisal functions. It will need to be able to track and record probate cases and decisions as well as record appraisals of Indian lands. These functions involve gathering information from other departments and bureaus within DOI.

TFAS is presently operating as the financial management and investment computer system. It must be able to interface with TAAMS to get and provide personal, accounting or financial data.

An over-simplified method of deciphering between TAAMS' functions is that the Title module keeps track of who owns the land and the Realty or Lease module tracks the income generating activities associated with that land. The additional TAAMS modules or functions keep track of the location of the owners and contractors (Name and Address), the income (Accounting), the disbursements (Distribution) and the communication with the other computer systems needed to support these functions (Interface).

This summary is by no means an all-encompassing description of TAAMS or its functions. When fully implemented in 12 regions and 87 agencies, TAAMS will oversee approximately 170,000 tracts of land, 110,000 plus active leases, 2,000,000 plus owners, 3,000 system users at more than 250 separate locations involving rights to oil, minerals, gas, coal, timber and grazing. It is solely meant to aid the reader in understanding the terminology involving the TAAMS system.


MAY 14 - JUNE 1, 2001

Upon the arrival at the Department of the Interior (DOI) in April 2001, the Court Monitor became aware that BIA was performing an Integrated User Acceptance Test (IUAT) of TAAMS in May 2001.

A. The General Accounting Office Briefing of the Special Trustee

On June 11, 2001, the Court Monitor attended an informal presentation by the General Accounting Office (GAO) representatives who have responsibility to carry out the Congressional mandated GAO oversight of DOI's trust reform efforts. This presentation to the Special Trustee, Tom Slonaker, covered the GAO's attendance at the IUAT in Billings, Montana, and their initial observations and recommendations that would later be placed in a report to Congress.

GAO has had a long history of reviewing DOI trust reform efforts beginning in the early 1900s. They have been involved in making reports to Congress on issues such as insufficient fund allocation to trust reform and lack of high-level DOI focus on trust reform since the mid-1980s. They participated in drafting "The Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act of 1994."

They have taken a broad look at the management of trust reform including the Strategic Plan drafted by the first Special Trustee and have publicly reported their concerns regarding the lack of system architecture and the failure of DOI to analyze their business systems before contracting with a vendor to provide software for the TAAMS system. They have been critical in the past of the lack of sound planning and realism in drafting the HLIP and in setting the initial two-year and subsequent three-year timeframes for the completion of HLIP subprojects.

They believed the milestones for TAAMS were arbitrary and unrealistic. Not unlike Nessi's criticism, they felt the lack of interface between the subprojects, to include training for TAAMS users, and the TAAMS subproject was a factor that would inhibit the process of trust reform.

The major problem, in their view, with specific regard to the TAAMS subproject, was that it was contracted as a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software with a service vendor with the expectation that it would not need to be significantly modified. The Artesia system used for TAAMS was a good system for oil and gas leasing. The problem was the TAAMS system needed to include many other modules and address user needs that the Artesia system could not handle without substantial modification and systems development. Instead of having a software developer create the system from the start, they had contracted for a COTS that required further development by a service vendor as new problems arose. In summary, TAAMS had become a system development instead of a service provider project.

The GAO representatives gave an overview of the May 2001 IUAT in Billings. They cautioned that they had not conducted the testing but only observed what was done.

However, it was their opinion from watching the testing, observing the initial test results, and listening to the comments of the contractors and users that the TAAMS project remained at risk. Although it might be a salvageable project, the GAO representatives stated that DOI should consider delaying further TAAMS implementation until an assessment could be made of the options available to correct the management and systems failures. Milestones might have to be moved and discipline processes introduced in both vendor operations and BIA's test systems.

B. The BIA Briefing of the Special Trustee

To better understand BIA's perspective on the IUAT, the Court Monitor attended the BIA TAAMS Project Management Office's IAUT briefing of the Special Trustee's Steering Committee on June 25, 2001.

The BIA Project Management Office's conclusions were that, based on the Billings' test results, TAAMS modules tested were not ready for deployment. Nor was TAAMS ready for further pilot operations.

They agreed with the GAO that although the TAAMS concept was good, the COTS approach was ill advised. The causes of the current problems were the date-driven schedule versus event-driven; requirements were not adequately defined and managed; and the lack of disciplined processes. Also, adequate system testing had not been performed.

The TAAMS Project Management Office's recommendations, among others, were to conduct more system tests, TFAS and MMS interface tests, and conduct another IUAT in the fall. They also recommended bringing in an outside contractor to provide an overall assessment of TAAMS.

A related project recommendation was to continue to clean up the legacy data with a target date continuous through 2004. Also, there was a need to determine what legacy data should be converted and what part of it should be encoded from original documents indicating a lack of recoverable data or inaccurate data in the legacy systems. Here again, the target date was continuous through 2004.

The revised deployment schedule was based on a successful deployment for the Rocky Mountain Pilot (Billings) to be completed in December 2001. Deployment in all regions would extend from 2002 through 2004.

C. The NIAD IUAT Results

To determine the exact results of the IUAT, the Court Monitor contacted the vendor in charge of providing TAAMS testing support. There have been a series of User Acceptance Tests conducted by BIA and its industry contractor and program manager, Native American Industrial Distributors (NAID).

On June 28, 2001, The Court Monitor interviewed the principal program manager at NAID responsible for this testing, Jim Bomgardner, Deputy Program Manager. He provided his company's report on the IUAT for the Rocky Mountain Regional Office, Billings, MT, to the Court Monitor and stated in substance the following:

The BIA's TAAMS Program Management Office has conducted a series of UATs or other tests of the TAAMS system using NAID as the Program Management Office. NAID has provided assistance at designing and carrying out the tests using BIA personnel. Tests conducted for BIA by NAID started in February 2000. At that time, TAAMS had undergone a series of tests in 1999. The first BIA-attended user acceptance test was in Dallas at the ATS facility in July 1999.

The next user acceptance test was in August 1999. Bomgardner, having recently joined NAID and been assigned to work with BIA to determine the field requirements for use in TAAMS, went to Dallas from August 10 to 15, 1999 to meet his counterparts at ATS.

He did not participate in the testing. However, he observed that the participants did not use actual live data during the test.

He had no more involvement with the testing of TAAMS until February 2000 when Dom Nessi asked him to prepare a UAT for TAAMS at Billings. The UAT was designed to test only current Title. ATS was working on several projects for TAAMS including Title, Realty, Data Conversion, Name and Address, and Accounting. At the time, there were no modules for Probate or Appraisal capable of being tested. ATS was concentrating on Title as it was less complex than the other modules. Therefore, that was the system to be tested in the first NIAD UAT.

Bomgardner designed a UAT including transaction and boundary testing. This was the first time that TAAMS used actual live data. The purpose of the test was BIA acceptance of the current Title module.

The BIA users would not accept the Title module. It had no title history and there was an unacceptable failure rate even with the BIA-imposed low 86% passing grade. ATS needed to do further data conversion and create a title history module before the users would accept the system.

In April 2000, another UAT was conducted on current Title at Billings. There were 52 transactions tested and they passed. Current Title was accepted for Billings deployment contingent upon adding a title history module to TAAMS. However, current Title data was no longer put into the legacy system although it was still used for inputting historical data.

The next module to be tested was Realty. Bomgardner set it up for a UAT at Nessi's direction in August 2000. The UAT had been scheduled for the September to October 2000 timeframe. Nessi moved it up to August 14 to 25, 2000. The Realty UAT failed to live up to expectations and the test was called off. There was no formal report submitted and the test was rescheduled for the September to October 2000 timeframe.

However, the next test, which had been initially scheduled to be a UAT of Realty, was changed due to the fact that the Realty module was not capable of passing the standards expected for a user acceptance test. Nessi had the test identified as a Realty Verification Transaction Exercise (RVTE). The test ran from September 18 to October 13, 2000. All Realty functions were tested as well as the Realty links to Title. The BIA user personnel documented what didn't work and gave the results to ATS for further modification. The failure rate for this test of 151 leasing and distribution transactions was 56%. Distribution transactions had an 86% failure rate. Leasing transactions had a 38% failure rate.

In December 2000, BIA managers made a decision after discussions with DOI not to deploy the TAAMS Realty module due to its development problems. Because of this decision it was later decided at a meeting in Las Vegas of all TAAMS Regional Office Coordinators working on the project to do a Gap analysis of the Realty module. A Gap analysis is a test conducted to determine what does not work in a system and what the system vendor must do to correct it. Both current Title and Realty were analyzed in January 2001.

Current Title had to be reviewed again because of the changes needed for implementation of this module in Anadarko, Oklahoma, a site that had different requirements from Billings. BIA performed the test for four weeks in January 2001. The results and needed corrections were given to ATS to prepare for the May 2001 IAUT.

Bomgardner went to Billings in the February to March 2001 timeframe to prepare for the IUAT. The IUAT would test not only current Title but also Title history, Realty (to include Accounting), and Name and Address. It would be comprised of two separate tests - - a Gap Analysis Verification Test and a TAAMS Transaction Encoding Test.

The Report of the IUAT (see extracts at Tab 1C) noted that it was the first time Realty, Title (Current and History) and Name and Address were tested together as an integrated system in a TAAMS UAT. It was viewed as a major milestone in the TAAMS program. Id. at 10-146.

The test was conducted at Billings between May 14 and June 1, 2001.

The Report's Data Analysis Section at page 10-17 outlined the results of the IUAT.

ÿ All Gap analysis task orders that were given ATS following the January 2001 testing were supposed to be 100% completed by ATS. Only 86% of the orders were completed.

ÿ There could be no critical events attributable to TAAMS software during the test.

Users experienced 253 critical events attributable to the TAAMS software.

ÿ Transaction results were to be 100% accurate. Only 77% of the events were rated accurate.

ÿ TAAMS forms and reports were expected to meet a number of criteria including presenting the same data as provided by the legacy systems; accurate data, data required by the user, and adhere to BIA formatting requirements. Although 49% of the forms and reports were passed with no events, 21% were rated critical and 30% were rated non-critical but not passed. Id. at 10-147.

The Data Analysis Summary concluded:

"Failures were spread across all applications and disciplines, and none of the applications appear mature enough for implementation. However, TAAMS did show continued improvement over the Realty Transaction Verification Exercise (RTVE). A significant amount of new functionality was available for test. The percentage of critical events attributable to the system decreased from 50% to 25%. The majority of the current critical events are associated with Forms and Reports.

Although there should be concern about the apparent regression in the Title Application, many of the failures could be expected due to the limited time available to adequately develop and test the application. For example, Forms and Reports were the last items to be addressed, so it is not a surprise that this is where many of the critical events occurred. Likewise, the urgency of the deadline precluded plans for a more controlled and managed process of development, documentation, and test." Id.

None of the modules passed the IUAT. The software itself had failed to pass the test with 25% "critical events." Of even more concern, when Title history data was linked to current Title data, that had received user acceptance and was the system of record in Billings, the current Title data was corrupted and would not function correctly.

In concluding his interview, Bomgardner stated that he had had a career of working with complicated software systems. He had never seen one that was more complicated than TAAMS due to the diversity and complexity of the tasks needed to be accomplished by the BIA and the TAAMS system. What began as a COTS system had morphed into a very complicated system development project that was far from complete.


If two years after the trial in which much of the testimony and presentation about trust reform progress was about the implementation and deployment of TAAMS, most of the system is still in the testing stage and under risk of being declared unsalvageable, what was this court told of the prospects for TAAMS that it relied on to make its decision regarding the Phase I trial? That decision permitted the Interior defendants to continue with their method of trust reform including TAAMS' deployment.

The prospective relief either granted or denied plaintiffs by this Court was, at least in part, based on its understanding of the capabilities, implementation, and deployment prospective for TAAMS. Trial testimony regarding those matters was provided for the most part by two Interior witnesses; Dom Nessi, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs and Project Manger for TAAMS, and David Orr, Senior Vice President of Applied TerraVision Systems, Inc. (ATS) and General Manager of the Artesia Systems Group, the vendor hired to provide the software system which was denominated at trial as TAAMS.

A. Nessi Testimony

Nessi's relevant testimony regarding the capabilities, deployment and implementation schedule for TAAMS was in substance the following.

Nessi was hired and began work at BIA on November 1, 1998. Trial Tr. at 2253. In speaking to Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Gover, his supervisor, about the importance of TAAMS to BIA he described the dialogue in the following manner:

Q: How did you come to be working on TAAMS in November of '98. Did someone ask you?

A: The Assistant Secretary - - actually, Nancy Jemisen raised the issue with me first a few weeks earlier, and I spoke to Assistant Secretary Gover and asked him what he would prefer that I do because I was very much involved with moving the economic development office forward. It had been somewhat held back in the past few years. And he said that he considered TAAMS to be the most important activity that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is undertaking, and would prefer that I did that. Trial Tr. at 2253-2254.

He next was asked what function TAAMS would take over from the two existing "legacy systems" known as the Land Records Information System (LRIS) and the Integrated Resource Management System (IRMS). The testimony began with the following dialogue:

Q: We're going to get into this in detail as I mentioned, but can you describe generally what is in the IRMS that's going to be replaced with TAAMS?

A: Okay. And I made a mistake in the name. Its Integrated Records Management System. I apologize.

Q: Okay.

A: Well it consists currently of five modules, and the reason it reminded me that it wasn't integrated is that the system isn't integrated, even though the name implies that it is. It's five separate modules. One is called the people module, which lists all of - - was originally intended to list every Native American and their ID number. The second is a lease module, which has all of the current leases in it. The third is a distribution module, which has all of the distribution interests of various parties. The fourth is a royalty distribution system, specifically for oil and gas. The fifth was the IIM module, or individual money account, which is being replaced by TFAS.

Q: Now, again, keeping it to a general level, could you describe what's going to happen to the LRIS in connection with TAAMS?

A: Well, it will be eliminated also as TAAMS is deployed around the country.

Q: Is TAAMS going to pick up the information there though?

A: Yes, it will. Trial Tr. at 2256-2257

Nessi went on to add to his testimony about the modules that would be in TAAMS with the following exchange:

Q: Now, let me ask you, ... has the Department of the Interior for TAAMS obtained an off-the-shelf product?

A: Yes, it has.

Q: Give us a reference for that, if you would?

A: It's a system called ArtesiaLand. That's one word. It was designed and developed by a company called Artesia, who recently been (sic) purchased and now goes by Applied TerraVision. Trial Tr. at 2268.

Continuing later:

Q: Are you aware whether there were modifications to it.

A: Yes, there were a number of modifications to it. Trial Tr. at 2268-2269

And finally:

Q: Okay, describe to the Court generally what modifications - - the extent of modifications that were made.

A: Well, probably the most important modification was the inclusion of a title records system because ArtesiaLand itself did not have something similar to that.... It's probably - -ArtesiaLand was developed in a way that made it easy to modify for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Artesia seemed to be very, very good at object oriented system development, which is the creation of small object modules, or object functions, which can then be used for other functions. And by doing so, they were able to take the business rules of ArtesiaLand and easily adapt them to the business rules of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Trial Tr. at 2270.

Nessi also spoke of the ability of TAAMS to interface with the other computer systems, which were being developed to provide for accurate accountings:

Q: Is TAAMS going to be able to interface with other systems?

A: Yes, it will.

Q: Such as the Trust Fund Accounting System?

A: Yes, it interfaces with Both TFAS and the Minerals Management system. Trail Tr. at 2273.

Nessi's continued with his description of the implementation schedule for TAAMS:

Q: Now, again, because we're going to go through this in some detail, could you describe for the Court what the implementation schedule is for TAAMS, but with dates?

A: Well, in general, we began a pilot last week in the Billings office, which runs for a hundred days. That pilot is everything from unveiling the system to converting their data, rolling -- training of the staff, ironing out any issues that need to be ironed out, system testing, independent verification and validation. We'll implement a number of the agencies in the Billings office so that we can have a full functional test of the system. There will be more post-deployment clean. And we hope to have the overwhelming majority of Billings completed by around October 1st. At that point in time we have plans to go on to Juneau, Aberdeen, and Minneapolis. We've already started working toward those. But, you know, they're tentative until we know that we have a good system that's well tested and ready to move forward.

Q: Is there some point at which a decision is going to be made about whether to continue on to these other areas?

A: Well, we'll have an official decision in approximately the last week of September, but we'll have a pretty firm idea well in advance of that.

Q: At the end, how many sites will TAAMS be available at?

A: At the end of this initial deployment period, it will be the 12 area offices, the central office, OTFM, 86 agency offices, and approximately 120 tribes. Trial Tr. at 2280-2281.

Nessi later discussed the Billings pilot test that he was conducting during the trial:

Q: Where did you go last week, sir?

A: In Billings, Montana.

Q: This is the pilot project?

A: This is the unveiling of the system in the beginning of the pilot.

Q: Again, at a general level how did it go?

A: It went very, very well.

Q: Can you give us a little more detail than that?

A: Well, from - - I mean, not only from the system perspective, but from the psychological perspective, we were very committed to meeting the June date. As the project manager, I felt strongly that we needed that kind of success to build upon. It was a major milestone for us. I did not believe that we should miss that, because I didn't want to set a precedent later down in the schedule.

So we had - - the entire Bureau of Indian Affairs and Artesia were focused on this date. And to have the system unveiled and to see probably the best data processing system I have ever seen unveiled at that point in time was very exciting. We had a ceremony. We had the Secretary cut a ribbon and put (sic) a ceremonial button to turn the system on. Trial Tr. at 2286 to 2287.

Nessi next turned to a description of the system itself guided by his attorney through the use of Exhibit Number 82 (marked for pretrial purposes as Exhibit Number 321, see generally Tab 2) which was a power-point computer presentation of a TAAMS briefing given by Nessi to interested parties including the media, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and to the named plaintiff in this case, Eloise Cobell, as the Chairman of the Office of Special Trustee Advisory Committee.

Nessi, in discussing the definition of TMIP as described by Exhibit Number 82 (Ex.), page 10, *fn1 stated the following:

Q: Would you identify for the Court what the acronym TMIP stands for?

A: It's the Trust Management Improvement Project.

Q: When I asked you earlier about the role of TAAMS at the BIA, does this slide reflect the importance there of TAAMS to trust reform?

A: Well, I'm not sure that - - the slide attempts to do it, but, you know, it doesn't -- I think in terms of the importance of the Department, the slide doesn't do it justice. But it does outline the importance, yes. Trial Tr. at 2296.

The subject slide stated that:

"DOI has long recognized that there needs to be major improvement in the manner in which its trust responsibility to Indian people is carried out. TMIP is a Departmental initiative to address a variety of trust issues. TAAMS is an integral component of the TMIP." Id.

Nessi was next asked to describe the accuracy of the Ex. 82 text at page 12 in the following series of questions:

Q: Now, I've moved to the next slide, and the top portion of this talks about the goal of data cleanup. We've talked about that, and so I want to pass on that and direct your attention to paragraph B there. I'll ask you to read that into the record.

A: "TAAMS will include an asset management system, with a master lease subsystem, a billing and accounts receivable subsystem, and a billing and accounts receivable subsystem and a collection subsystem. It will also have a sub-module for probate tracking."

Q: Is that currently accurate with respect to some of the things TAAMS will do?

A: Yes, it is.

Q: Is that the exclusive list of the things TAAMS will or can do?

A: Well this is - - this is the core function. TAAMS is expandable into a number of asset management areas that we have plans on the board for. Trial Tr. at 2297-2298.

The testimony went on to consider the next slide, Ex. 82, page 13. Nessi testified regarding the statement at D that "The appraisal subgroup has already produced a design for a sophisticated appraisal tracking system which can be added to TAAMS in a future system enhancement" by stating:

"Well, again, appraisals is one of the subprojects, and it's an issue of concern. We had an appraisal subgroup working on the design team, and they have already designed a very sophisticated appraisal tracking system, which we believe - - as soon as we get this first configuration and release of TAAMS settled down, we'll take a look at adding this appraisal subgroup - - I'm sorry, appraisal subsystem to TAAMS. Trial Tr. at 2299.

The next sentence on the slide, which was not discussed but was shown to the Court stated:

E. TAAMS is integrally related to TAAMS through electronic interfaces to (sic) for a seamless trust management system. Id.

The next slide shown to the Court and discussed by Nessi stated:

"There is no doubt that this is one of the most important management efforts in the BIA's history.

A successful implementation is critical for the Federal Government to insure that it properly carries out its role as trustee to Indian tribes and people well into the 21st Century.

In fact, the TMIP project is one of the federal government's 20 top management initiatives. Id. at 14.

The following slide, page 15, discussed the importance placed by DOI on TAAMS and stated that was the "Personal priority of the Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Deputy Commissioner," and "A chance to demonstrate BIA's management expertise and commitment to the trust process."

A lengthy and detailed presentation not relevant at this time was provided to the Court on the "Trust Process, Legacy Systems, and TAAMS," and the "Project Management Approach to TAAMS." See generally Trial Tr. at 2311-2349 and Ex. 82 at 22-46.

Following that discussion, Nessi turned to the "Major Project Milestones" portion of the presentation and a discussion of page 48 of Ex. 82:

Q: Let's move on, then, to the next one. This slide is entitled Project Phases, and I see you have listed four here. I think your testimony has covered this, but, if you could, just generally identify the phases for us, and to the extent possible, associate them with a calendar date.

A: Well, the initial project kickoff was the first phase, and that really took place - -some of it was before I came on board, but, basically, it was the month of November to mid-December. The pre-integration phase began approximately December 1st and continued until last week in Billings. Integration and implementation begins now, as we integrate TAAMS into the Billings environment. It includes everything from business unit policies and procedures, testing, training, conversion, cut-over.

The post-project phase is the continued data cleanup system, performance review, follow-up training, and depending on the site, we'll have still integration and implementation going on in some areas. Whereas, in other areas, we'll be in the post-project phase. So they're kind of parallel at this point.

Q: So, if I understand, the post-project phase will depend - - I mean, in terms of relating it to a calendar, it will depend on when each area is converted over?

A: That's correct. You know, a system is never over. So there's always something you do. Trial Tr. at 2348-2349.

Addressing the next slide, "Major Milestones" (Ex. 82 at 49) Nessi testified in answer to the questions as to whether they had been met that all the dates in the milestones were actual dates from selecting the vendor in October 1998 to December 1998, to development of screen designs and code tables in March through May 1999, to programming and testing in May through June 1999.

The questioner asked Nessi about the following slide (Ex. 82 at 50):

Q: Let me explore a couple of these with you. It references, about six down, the Billings pilot. This is the one that started last week, right?

A: Correct.

Q: The next one states "implement OTFM." Could you explain to the Court what that means?

A: Well, OTFM is actually a user of TAAMS, just the way an agency or an area office is. We view OTFM as one of our customers, and we'll do training for them and bring the software down to Albuquerque and actually implement them.

They are the official repository for name and address in this system. So they'll actually input data, and we have to do training for them and give them access.

Q: So does this relate to your earlier testimony about the interface with TAAMS and TFAS?

A: You're correct. In fact, it is, and as TAAMS has evolved, TFAS is becoming more of an integral part of the entire TAAMS picture. Trail Tr. at 2350-2351.

The slide listed the Billings Pilot as having been implemented from June through September 1999. The OTFM interface implementation was to be accomplished in July 1999. Independent validation and verification of the system in Billings and with OTFM was set for August 1999. A decision to "proceed with Juneau AO" was to be made in September 1999. Id.

The Juneau decision was noted and elicited the following testimony:

Q: Then, the last one, Decision to Proceed to Juneau, does this relate to your testimony from this morning about seeing whether what you've learned with Billings, whether to proceed with the other areas?

A: Right. The Billings pilot is not only about the system. It's about data cleanup. It's about data conversion. It's how best to do training, and as we go through this 100-day period, we have to make some decisions as to how much time we need to bring up an area office. Juneau is the next one on the stair step, and as I said, we'll know well in advance of this, but we'll make an official decision at the end of September. Trial Tr. at 2352

The next slide was labeled "The TAAMS implementation schedule by Area Office." The slide listed the dates of TAAMS implementation at the 12 Regional offices starting with Billings in June 1999 and going through the next eleven in chronological order ending with Sacramento in July 2000. The testimony about this slide was the following:

Q: Let me ask you to go to the next slide, please.... Is it correct that these are the 12 area offices and the dates in which TAAMS is going to be implemented?

A: Yes. This is the current roll-out that we have in mind.

Q: And that's current today still?

A: Yes, it is. Trial Tr. at 2354.

The next slide (Ex. 82 at 52) addressed deployment and elicited the following testimony:

Q: The slide is entitled "Deployment at Each Area Office Site Includes the Following Components and Activities." I guess, if I could ask you to describe here at this point for the Judge exactly what deployment means when you are going from area to area.

A: Well, deployment is the general term that you use that would relate to all of the transition activities from the Legacy system to TAAMS, everything that is involved with that.

The slide listed periods for various activities involved in implementing TAAMS at each site listed on the previous slide. Data cleanup was given three to four months. Area-wide implementation could take up to six months. The actual assessment of the area offices had only been conducted at the time in Billings and Juneau according to Nessi. They knew they had an issue at Portland and were considering starting there about eight months in advance. Id.

Skipping the next slide and moving to one entitled "What is the Billings Pilot?" (Ex. 82 at 53) the testimony continued:

A: This slide is entitled "What is the Billings Pilot?" Now, I guess - - well, let me ask you. This is phrased prospectively, it appears, in the text. What is the duration again of the Billings pilot?

A: It's approximately 100 days.

Q: Okay. Let me ask you to direct your attention to the third paragraph on this page. It starts out: "Billings will provide a robust system test." Describe your reasoning behind that conclusion.

A: Well, if you continue, the next statement, "It has the second largest area office in terms of owner interest, and it has correspondingly a large title records operation." We need to have - - we need to start the system someplace where all the components of TAAMS would be tested and run with large volumes of data before we moved on to smaller offices.

There's really two large offices, Billings and Aberdeen, and it was very important to ensure that the TAAMS could operate in a very high-activity environment. Trial Tr. at 2356.

The slide is worthy of quoting from it:

"The Billings Pilot period provides an opportunity for the Department of Interior to fully and thoroughly test TAAMS, data conversion techniques, the capacity of the communications infrastructure, and the data cleanup approach before moving on to other AO jurisdictions.

Using live data in a parallel processing environment, we will be able to perform a detailed transactional review of each document as it flows through TAAMS to insure that it is properly recorded on the data base and that all calculations are in conformance with expected results." Ex. 82 at 54, emphasis added.

Moving on to the next slide entitled "Key Billings Pilot Milestones," Nessi was asked the accuracy of the timelines listed in the slide:

Q: Okay. Now, does this accurately state the milestones here for, say, the next 2 months?

A: For the most part. We've had to change one on here. On June 28th, we were going to train our Billings office and Northern Cheyenne users and our user acceptance team, and last week, in doing the training, we saw that it was just impossible to have almost 60 people trained at one time.... So, right now, because we're doing user acceptance testing next week, we felt we wanted to have them trained and then we're going to train Billings area and Northern Cheyenne users on July 12th instead....

Q: The user acceptance testing, could you describe for the Court what that's going to tell you as project manager?

A: That's internal to the project management team. Within the contract, for - - Artesia actually had the requirement to do its own testing, and to certify that the system was operational. We felt that we wanted to have additional testing that was BIA-generated. This is a group of about 17 BIA area, agency, and tribal staff who will go to Dallas and will just, within their own particular areas, go through hundreds of reiterations of the screens, entering data, looking to see if it works quickly, looking to see if the screens make sense. This is our own verification and streamlined - - a very structured approach to this, developing a problem report for everything you find, and we'll do that for about 4 or 5 days, until we get through all the screens and a great number of repetitions. Trial Tr. 2358.

That slide listed a series of milestones for the Billings Pilot including a detailed User Acceptance Test from July 6 to 10, 1999. A second round of system testing was to occur on July 26, 1999 with implementation of TAAMS in all Billings' agencies beginning on August 16, 1999. Ex. 82 at 55.

Nessi again referred to the User Acceptance Test in Billings in discussing System Testing in the slide at Ex. 82, page 72. That slide discussed the initial testing that would be done by the software vendor prior to the Billings pilot. It also spoke of the user acceptance team and their work in testing transactions on the system and comparing them with the legacy systems processing of the same data. The tests were to be conducted a second time under the supervision of an Independent Verification and Validation contractor. Id.

Q: I think your testimony has covered this in a fair amount. Let me direct your attention, though, to the second one, the user acceptance test team. Is this the one that you've referenced will start next week under the new milestones?

A: Yes. This really covers our entire test package.

Q: In other words, that's going to start next week? Or, maybe I have my weeks off.

A: Well, this outlines all of the pre-implementation activities. I mean, the initial testing began with the vendor itself. They do individual module testing of each piece of TAAMS. They, they do integration testing, which is the entire system put together.

Our user acceptance testing begins next week. While the - - last week and this week, we're putting in some sample transactions into TAAMS. At the same time, we're putting them into Legacy systems so we can see - - I mean, for instance, we want to make sure that TAAMS interfaces with TFAS the way IRMS interfaces with TFAS.

Then we test it all again. Everything that we're doing between now and August 1st, we're going to do again for the IV&V contractor after August 1st. Trial Tr. at 2366-2367.

The final slide discussed by Nessi in his testimony was labeled "Goal Three." The testimony was brief:

Q: This is entitled Goal Three. You talk about the implementation date. You talk about the completion of implementations, budget estimates, and an integrated user-friendly modern business system for managing trust assets. Is this still your goal today, sir? Trial Tr. at 2376.

A: Yes, it is.

This slide states the following:

To meet the Secretary's goals for time, budget and system design.

Implementation date of June, 1999

Complete Implementations by March 2001

Meet budget estimates currently established

Develop an integrated, user-friendly, modern business system for managing trust assets Ex. 82 at 87. Emphasis added.

On cross-examination, Nessi was brought into the following debate by plaintiffs' counsel:

Q: So what will happen in (sic) TAAMS, as I hypothesized before, fails? What will be the impact of that failure on the trust beneficiaries?

A: Are you talking about the TAAMS program, the system itself?

Q: I'm talking about the program and the - - yes, the program.

A: Well, it's a hypothetical question because the system is already working. So it's difficult for me to say what would happen if it failed. It hasn't failed. It's already operational.

Q: Well, I thought you -

A: From an operating standpoint. I mean, it runs.

Q: You mean you turn the key on and the motor is running?

A: May I give you an analogy?

Q: I'm going to give you one.

A: Oh, no, you go first.

Q: You bought a new Ford pick-up truck. You go into the showroom and you turned it on, and the motor was running. Have you done much more than that with respect to TAAMS?

A: I don't think your analogy fits an information technology program.

Q: Well, the reason I ask that is, your testimony is that you still don't know whether TAAMS is going to work. That's why you've got consultants looking at it, that's why you've got a hundred days before further deployment. You don't know if it's going to work?

A: No, I'm absolutely certain it will work, but prudent project management, prudent IT development knows that you have bugs in software, and that's how you get them out, you test through them. TAAMS is - - TAAMS is not an ALMRS. I mean, ALMRS had some other issues, from what I understand, just in terms of development time and some other things. That's not TAAMS. Trial Tr. at 2580-2581, emphasis added.

Plaintiffs' attorney was not convinced by this response and continued to press the issue of what would happen if TAAMS would not work.

Q: If TAAMS - - let me go back to my question. If TAAMS does not work, what is the impact on the trust beneficiary?

A: That's a hypothetical question that I can't answer because there's - - that's not a possibility.

Q: So you don't know how it will impact trust beneficiaries of (sic) the TAAMS system breaks down of fails? Have you considered that?

A: You're asking if I personally have considered that?

Q: Have you personally considered that?

A: As I said earlier, we have legacy systems. They don't go away. They could continued (sic) to be used if TAAMS is not available.

Q: I thought you said that they would not be maintained permanently, so they may not be there.

A: Do you want to give me a time frame as to when TAAMS is going to fail? I mean, are you talking about - - I'm not understanding your - -

Q: Two years, five years, three years.

A: Three years. Well, by that time we would know that TAAMS was working. Trial Tr. 2581-2582

Making no progress with this line of questioning counsel switched subjects:

Q: You said that the failure, or the lack of a system architecture increases the risk of failure?

A: Correct.

Q: Is it acceptable as a trustee to expose the trust beneficiaries to that risk?

Mr. Clark: I'm going to object and ask that the counsel identify what he means by "failure," Your Honor. I think there is a disconnect here between what the witness is talking about and what counsel is inquiring about.

The Court: Overruled. You can answer that.

Witness: I sort of had the same question myself.

The Court: Well, what do you think failure is?

Witness: Well, I'm assuming that you mean that the programs just don't run for a period of time, or the system - - I mean, just like it crashes one day.

By Mr. Levitas

Q: No, I mean more than that. That's why I said "the system."

A: Okay.

Q: Suppose the interface with TFAS fails. Suppose the data cleanup is not successful. All of those many elements that make up TAAMS. If any of them don't work, and the system, therefore, doesn't work, what is the impact on the trust beneficiary?

A: Well, obviously if any of the systems don't work, it has a very detrimental impact on the beneficiary. I mean, that's obvious. Trial Tr. at 2582-2583.

Later in the cross-examination, the issue of the TFAS and TAAMS interface was raised again:

Q: Is the TFAS interface with TAAMS operational?

A: The programming is - - is completed now, I believe, and we're going to be testing that most of next week and the following week. Trial Tr. at 2623.

And again:

Q: And I also understand that this TFAS/TAAMS interface is not yet fully operational?

A: No. The system right now - - I mean, your answer is - - it's correct.

Q: Okay. Now, when you testified that the TAAMS program and the Billings pilot is up and running, is it up and running without the TFAS interface?

A: The TAAMS system itself is in Billings. It's running, but the interface is not inside the system; the interface is a set of programs between two systems.

Q: Right, and yet this seamless interface between TAAMS and TFAS is a very important innovation in the TAAMS program; is that correct?

A: Yes, that's correct.

Q: So it's fair to say, as I had suggested earlier, that the TAAMS program, the total TAAMS program has not yet become fully operational? You've turned the key on the Ford pick-up, but it hasn't really run yet?

A: If you look at TAAMS and everything that it touches, you're speaking of a point in time. Today, as we sit here, I have not - - I have not checked to see if - - from my perspective, nothing is completely operational till we test it. So the programs may be in place, but it hasn't been tested yet. That testing begins next week. Trial Tr. at 2624-2625.

B. Orr Testimony

Mr. Orr, the Senior Vice President of the vendor supplying the TAAMS system, testified next. He also addressed the implementation of TAAMS and the Billings Pilot test on direct examination:

Q: And as of today, has the TAAMS been fully implemented?

A: It is not fully implemented. It is implemented in the Billings office and also in the agency office in northern Cheyenne in a pilot project. Trial Tr. at 2753-2754.

Later, he addressed the TFAS/TAAMS interface:

Q: Now, when do you expect this interface to be fully functional between TFAS and TAAMS.

A: Well, currently were in pilot mode here, and all the data is not converted at this point in time. We expect to test those interfaces in a parallel mode later in the month of July. We are - - we are currently going through integrated system tests. Next week we will begin a user acceptance test, and we already can test the data communication link. I mean, we know that it works. Our next phase will be to actually take some live file data and pass it back and forth between our systems and TFAS. Trial Tr. at 2777-2778.

The Court questioned the status of the interface:

The Court: I'm sorry, go back one step. What is the status of the interface with TAAMS?

The Witness: Both of the interfaces to MMS and TFAS are written. As far as the computer programs, they are in a test mode.

Referring to a power-point slide presentation he had prepared on TAAMS, Orr continued to testify:

Q: Under that programming phase bullet, it says, "6-99 and beyond." Tell me about programming beyond June of '99.

A: Well, first of all, I want to make sure that everybody understands that while we're in system test right now, we are - - we are continuing to refine and enhance the programs. We are going through a user acceptance test process, and if we have to make adjustments to the system, things that we uncover past the initial design phase, we will continue to do that. Trial Tr. at 2785.

He spoke further about the user acceptance testing:

Q: Lt (sic) me ask you about the next bullet, this "UAT" training and "UAT in Dallas." Can you tell us what "UAT" stands for?

A: Yes. "UAT" stands for "user acceptance test." This week we were training 25 people that will be involved in the user acceptance process. That training was held in Billings, Montana on the live system up there.

Q: And then the "UAT in Dallas"?

A: Next week members of the team will come in on the 7th, and they will begin the actual user acceptance testing phase. Now, this is the first phase of testing where we take actual TAAMS users, allow them to go into the programs, run them. We compare them both back to the statement of work, but also to what their real functionality needs are and made (sic) sure that the programs are operating and doing the job that they were intended to coming out of the design phase.

Q: Okay. I would like to ask a little bit more about training later, but in terms of this, the last bullet on here is IV&V Systems test," July 26 of "99. Can you explain to the Court what an "IV&V Systems test" is, please?

A: This is a test that an independent - - I believe it stands for Independent Verification and Validation, or it may be Independent Validation and Verification. I'm not sure which "v" stands for which. But, basically, there is an independent contractor that has been awarded a contract to come in and review our systems test procedures, our documentation, and the various functions in TAAMS, and we will be working with them from the end of July through September 30th in the system validation process.....

Q: So that's basically a 60-day process beginning towards the end of July?

A: Yes, that's what the intended time frame is, I believe. Trial Tr. at 2788-2789.

Finishing his testimony about the user acceptance test:

Q: Now, you had mentioned earlier about the testing that was being done as part of the pilot, and I think you talked a little bit about user acceptance test and the IV&V. That is a process that will be going on for about the next 60 to 90 days?

A: Yes.

Q: How will you use the results of the user acceptance test?

A: Well, the initial user acceptance test we're using as a confirmation process to confirm that the design and the functionality in the systems actually meets the needs of the individual users out in the area and agency offices. So it is a period where they run scripts of data through the system, set up documents, process them through, and if they hit problems or find things that don't fit exactly what they hoped they would, then we can come back in and adjust the design, do the programming or whatever it takes to make it work right, and then we have them go back through that script of the test. Trial Tr. at 2852-2853.

Continuing on to address the target completion date:

Q: Would you characterize the roll-out schedule as an aggressive one?

A: Yes, I would.

Q: And that aggressive schedule doesn't concern you in terms of being able to become fully operational?

A: I'm very concerned about the aggressive schedule, but that doesn't mean I don't believe that we can meet it. Trail Tr. at 2857.

And further on cross-examination:

Q: But the system will be fully implemented when? What (sic) the target date?

A: The target date is for all the area offices to be complete within the Year 2000. The infrastructure project needs to be complete prior to the Year 2000....

Q: So the architecture will have to be complete, all of the details will have to be worked out by the end of this year?

A: I think the details are worked out now. It's simply a matter of installation of the equipment from area to area and agency offices.

Q: But the system will continue to be modified as it's rolled out in new areas with different needs; isn't that correct?

A: No.

Q: There will be no further modifications?

A: The systems - - the information systems infrastructure will not change as a result of the programs changing. The computer programs will still continue to be run in the same environment. Trial Tr. at 2866-2867.

And later:

Q: Now, the system has been rolled out only at one agency; is that right?

A: That is correct, the Northern Cheyenne agency.

Q: When will the other - - when will the system be rolled out in the other - -

A: We're performing training for Fort Belnap and for Fort Peck, currently scheduled for the week of July 19th. So, we train users from those agencies, we will begin bringing those agencies over.

Q: When will all of the agencies need to be using TAAMS?

A: We intend for all the agencies in the Billings area to be up and using it by the end of system test in September.

Q: Okay. I don't quite understand this. I thought that the plan was to test the system for a period of 3 months.

A: It is. We began that test this week.

Q: But you won't be testing it on all of the agencies for 3 months?

A: That's right. We'll be testing it on a manageable set of test data out of Northern Cheyenne and the Billings land title records office. Trial Tr. at 2871-2872.

Moving to the overall roll-out of TAAMS, Orr testified to his view of the plan:

Q: Do you think the roll-out schedule is realistic if you will have to do more manual encoding or mapping than you are doing now in Billings?

A: The roll-out schedule - - the roll-out schedule covers the concept of us delivering TAAMS and performing the setup of the TAAMS system, training the users, but we are very well aware that it will be an ongoing process. For instance, if you look at the overall schedule over time, we will be working in two or three areas at one time, while some of the agency offices continue their work. So the initial roll-out schedule is completely and totally reasonable.

Now, the completion of the actual use of TAAMS may take quite a while past when we go up and roll it out in an area or an agency office, but the volume of data coming up - - in other words, we can set up TAAMS, have it in use and have people putting data into it. In some areas, they may continue that process for a year or more past the time we roll it out, but the term "roll-out" in my mind does not denote completion.

Q: Okay. So Artesia has no responsibility under the contract to ensure that all of the necessary data is input into the system?

A: As a matter of fact, under the terms of the contract, we are only required to install the software at the area office in one agency, and then it becomes the BIA responsibility to install the software at the additional agencies.

Q: And that's true in every area?

A: Yes. Trial Tr. at 2874-2875.

Addressing the question of overall completion of the project he testified:

The Court: So, if you had been standing beside Secretary Babbitt when he gave the press conference they put in evidence, you would have told him he was wrong when he said all of this was going to be done in 2000. It's all going to be started in 2000, but it's not going to be done?

The Witness: I think the desire is to get it done in the Year 2000.

By Ms. Babby:

Q: Do you think that is possible?

A: I don't think that I'm qualified to make that prediction.

Q: If you're not qualified, who is?

A: Possibly the Datacom people or somebody else....

Q: Why would the Datacom people?

A: Only because they're the ones working with the data. They'll have a better handle on the numbers of accounts and things there are - - and the error rate going through. Trial Tr. at 2890.

This Court again questioned Orr at the end of his testimony:

The Court: You said this is an aggressive rollout schedule. What do you think are the things that could interfere with continuing to roll out this way? Obviously, if the users don't like next week what you've done so far - -

The Witness: Yes.

The Court: But that would only be probably a temporary delay while you tried to adjust to the things they think they need, right?

The Witness: Yes. Every care had been taken to try to make sure we had enough user involvement. We already have identified just in going through training this week a couple of areas that we know we want to adjust, but none of them constitute what I would consider a schedule breaker.... The data cleanup project is a valid point that has the potential for slowing down how soon everything is fixed, but I wouldn't let that slow down the roll-out of TAAMS....

So I don't see - - you know, if we let that push us back, that would be one potential problem. The other potential problem would be political setbacks. I know that this Court case and other things in Congress could impeded (sic) the roll-out of it. So, in my mind, I'm not nearly as afraid of the technological problems and the things that I'm accustomed to as I am the political and potential congressional problems, the things that I don't understand or can't see.

The Court: Right

The Witness: So, to me, we feel like between now and September 30th is crucial, we finish getting the system up. Every effort is being focussed (sic) on it.

B. Summary of Testimony

The picture painted for this Court was a very rosy one. In summary, The Interior defendants informed this Court through testimony or documentary presentation that:

• A TAAMS pilot would begin in Billings in July 1999 and last for 100 days.

There would be implementation and a full functional test of TAAMS within that time period.

• An official decision would be made the last week of September 1999 to deploy TAAMS to the 12 area (region) offices and the 86 agency offices.

• TAAMS/TFAS interface implementation would be accomplished in July 1999.

• TAAMS implementation would begin with Billings in June 1999 and continue to all 12 regions up to July 2000.

• Live data would be used in the detailed User Acceptance Test (UAT) that was to begin in early July 1999.

• A second UAT was to be performed in August 1999.

• There would be an IV&V test in September 1999 following the August UAT.

• The time between the trial and September 30, 1999 was "crucial" for "getting the system up."

• Complete TAAMS implementation would be accomplished by December 2000 -March 2001.

• The TAAMS "system" was already "working," "operational" and "running."

• There would be no further "modifications" of the system.

• They would get "it done" in the Year 2000.

But today, the TAAMS deployment is limited to the current Title module having been declared the "system of record" in the title plant at the Rocky Mountain Region (Billings) and three other similar title offices. There is no other system module implemented in any other of the 12 Regional locations or at these Regional locations. There is some question as to whether these four title modules are actually running independently of the legacy system and whether they are properly used. The interface with the TFAS financial management system is not completed and the Name and Address information may not be usable with all functions of TAAMS in the current Title module. *fn2

What happened following the Nessi and Orr testimony at trial to bring TAAMS to a point in May 2001 so far removed in the status of its implementation from the projections given to this Court two years ago? When did the Interior defendants first know of the inability of TAAMS to live up to their testimony on its capabilities and its implementation and deployment? What has this Court been told and when about TAAMS' testing, deployment, and implementation that gave it an accurate indication of the status of the Interior defendants' compliance with its orders regarding "fixing the system" and reporting on the status of trust reform (including TAAMS) to this Court?


This court was informed during the trial that there would be user acceptance tests conducted in July and August 1999 (including an IV&V test in September 1999) with a pilot test extending for 90 days into September 1999. Also, that live data would be used in those tests. This statement, repeated in testimony and in the exhibits used to support that testimony, gave a strong indication to the Court of the progress and advanced status of the TAAMS system.

To answer the questions posed by the July 1999 TAAMS testimony juxtaposed against the present state of the TAAMS implementation, Dom Nessi and his assistant at the time of the trial, Frank Lawrence, were interviewed. Their testimony was in substance the following.

A. Frank Lawrence

Frank Lawrence, presently a Trust Resource Specialist working for OST in the Office of Records Management, went to work for Dom Nessi in December 1998, soon after Nessi became TAAMS Project Manager. His assignment was to head up the User Acceptance Team. His responsibility was to prepare to test the TAAMS system once the systems tests conducted by ATS were completed to the point where ...

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