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Why This Paper?

As we approach the end of the Twentieth Century, the Department of State is facing unprecedented change in the conduct of international relations and at the same time is experiencing tremendous changes in Information Technology (IT). The world is indeed becoming smaller as nations and individuals are increasingly interconnected by high speed global networks and ready access to a wealth of information from the Internet and other sources.

This paper describes a strategic vision for the IT environment the Department of State would like to establish during the first five years of the new millennium. The vision reflects the changing nature of international diplomacy and the revolutionary changes occurring in IT. Our purpose is to create a consensus vision of how IT can best be used to support the Department through 2005. The result will be the creation of an electronic diplomac capability ("e-Diplomacy") to assist us as we pursue our global interests.

This paper was developed initially in draft form by the Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM) with input from other bureaus, and then reviewed with all Department organizations. Bureau feedback was very positive and indicated broad consensus and support for the vision articulated in the paper. Given the high levels of consensus, IRM will develop new IRM Strategic and Tactical Plans, architectures, and budget plans that reflect the consensus vision.

Because this paper focuses on changes that will be instituted between now and 2005, several of the proposed concepts represent significant departures from the status quo and raise provocative questions and issues. Successful implementation will require changes in organizational culture, as well as overcoming substantial challenges. Some may require changes in legislation or executive orders, and will require coordination with other foreign affairs and partner agencies and Congress.

Security requirements and controls will be fully designed and integrated into the future IT environment, and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) will play a major role in planning and deploying the specific IT solutions to make this vision a reality. Overseas networking strategies and options will be explored and developed in conjunction with the Diplomatic Telecommunications Service Program Office (DTS-PO). Personnel issues, such as hiring and retention, will be resolved in conjunction with the Bureau of Personnel (PER) and the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). While this document is not intended to answer all of the questions, it does explore the most pressing and controversial issues in Chapter 7.

Although the vision presented in this document focuses on the period after the Year 2000, the Department intends to move forward more rapidly with some of the concepts. For example, we are proceeding aggressively to improve the Departmentís networking, security, messaging, and training capabilities through the development of the new Strategic and Tactical plans. These initiatives will begin to move us toward our vision for the next millennium.

I am pleased to present this consensus IT vision and am convinced that achieving the goals presented in this paper will position the Department well for the diplomatic challenges ahead.

Fernando Burbano
Chief Information Officer


Chapter 1: Introduction

Table of Contents