Burbano takes on homeland job

Fernando Burbano, former chief information officer at the State Department, has taken on a new role within the department as a senior adviser on homeland security.

Last week Burbano became a senior adviser for homeland security in the deputy secretary's homeland security office within the State Department. It is a new office Burbano said, created to work on and coordinate homeland security issues within the department and to serve as a liaison with new Homeland Security Department.

Burbano said he is working with ambassador Ted McNamara on this effort.

No replacement for Burbano has been named, but in the meantime Bruce Morrison, deputy CIO for operations, is acting CIO.

Burbano said his decision to change jobs was timely. "I've been very interested and active in homeland security within State as well as within federal agencies over the past year," he said. "I decided I might as well make it full time."

Burbano has been CIO at State for more than four years. He was instrumental in developing State's overseas network that would enable embassies to check other government agencies' databases.

The project, still in its infancy, is known as the Overseas Presence Interagency Collaboration/ Knowledge Management System. It would take advantage of existing information scattered in various databases but not tied together in a single network.

The urgency of creating this kind of database sharing was driven home in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when officials discovered that some of the terrorists had obtained visas to enter the United States even though they were on law enforcement watch lists.

Earlier this year, Burbano testified at a congressional hearing and told lawmakers that spending money on technology is not the answer to tightening U.S. borders." Over the next two years, State will spend more than half a billion dollars procuring new information technology," Burbano said. "We must realize that procurement alone is not the answer. We must meet our business needs using existing technology as well as acquiring new."

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