State jump starts overseas network

ORLANDO, Fla. — The State Department has put forward more than $1 million from its own budget to start developing a plan that will bring the 40 agencies with overseas presences onto a single unclassified network by 2003.

The network, called for by the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel in November 1999, will provide a single Internet interface and replace the many networks developed within the various federal agencies working outside of the United States. This will allow all 40 agencies working overseas to communicate with each other in a unified fashion and share information through a common network.

The president's fiscal 2001 budget calls for $17 million to perform several pilots, including two of the overseas network at two embassies. In addition, the State Department has reallocated about $1.1 million of its own fiscal 2000 budget to begin development plans for those pilots.

"This will allow us to hit the ground running with some preliminary plans and designs" when the $17 million comes through in October, said Fernando Burbano, chief information officer at State, speaking at the Information Processing Interagency Conference here. The OPAP report can be found at on the State Department's Web site.

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