Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fm the Good News Dept: Mobile Computing for State

Mobile ComputingImage by angermann via Flickr

Last week, I wrote about the Hard Skills Training Center, one of the State Department’s $600 million projects with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. There are projects funded under ARRA at FSI and also at passport offices. Part of the Capital Investment Fund for FY 2009 (Stimulus Funds) are the following projects for $33,500,000 under the IT Platform:

Project One: Diplomatic Facility Telephone Systems Replacement - $10,000,000

Project Two: Replacement of Aging Desktop Computers (Global Information Technology Modernization (GITM) - $13,000,000

Project Three: Mobile Computing - $10,500,000

I’m quite sure the replacement of telephone systems and desktop computers would be welcomed everywhere, but the third project on mobile computing and remote access will probably be the most exciting news since Colin Powell got every desk wired for Internet access in the early part of this decade.

Below is a quick summary of the project from the Department’s ARRA plan:

This project will provide technological improvements to the Department of State Mobile Computing platform, increase the number of employees that have mobile access, and ensure continuity of operations for services such as Passport, Visa, and American Citizen Services. This project contains two parallel initiatives designed to expand remote access beyond the current 16,000 employees.

The first initiative will provide all new direct hire employees (approximately 5,000) remote access capabilities in FY2009 using the current systems. The second initiative will overhaul the existing Mobile Computing platform to provide full access to the Department of State’s unclassified resources and applications.

Mobile access is a key business requirement; however, the current infrastructure and devices are limited and do not provide the full functionality that the user requires to fulfill their mission anytime/anywhere. This initiative also increases the ability of employees worldwide to telework, both in support of “green” initiatives as well as responding to a crisis that might limit movement either domestically or overseas.


1) Provide all new direct hire employees with remote access capabilities.

2) Provide diplomats and staff with the full suite of unclassified computer applications and resources when accessing the network from a computer that is outside the Department of State’s network (e.g. home or government provided computer).

3) Increase the number mobile devices supported.

4) Increase the infrastructure to support twice the current mobile workforce.

5) Reduce the carbon footprint of Department of State by enabling more users to telework.

6) Migrate existing Mobile Computing users to the new system.


1) It is estimated that an additional $600,000 is required for FY11 and beyond due to the increased customer base for mobile computing and additional operational staff will be required.

2) These costs will be funded via the Working Capital Fund (WCF) so the out-year costs will be provided by Mobile Computing subscribers, as is the current practice.


The primary measures of project success are:

1) Increasing the number of users that have remote access to unclassified resources

2) Increasing the number of applications available to mobile computing users

Related Item: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: External Program Plan

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