Ready for action

Utah and West Virginia are among eight states that already were on the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) before the Army National Guard announced plans to connect field offices to the Pentagon via the network, said Irene Babineau, telecommunications manager for the guard's Readiness Center. Requests for service from others are coming in daily, she added.

As host of this month's Winter Olympics — which will feature security coordinated among more than 60 agencies, including city police and fire departments, statewide agencies, and the FBI and Secret Service — Utah already has more than one operational SIPRNET link.

As an added security feature, the state also has a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, which can be used for sending and receiving top-secret military intelligence, said Maj. James Lord, branch chief for communications plans at the Readiness Center.

Keith Comstock, chief technology officer for West Virginia and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers representative on the federal CIO Council, said that the SIPRNET connection at his state's guard adjutant general office was already installed and being tested, with a scheduled completion date of Feb. 5.

The National Guard walks a fine line between being a federal agency and a state agency, Comstock said, but this initiative is "being driven 100 percent by the feds."

He said the SIPRNET work required only "minimal involvement" of state CIOs, who will be kept in the loop on progress, but little else.

The other states on SIPRNET are Alaska, California, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

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