The U.S. Department of State is the lead institution for the conduct of American diplomacy facilitating the promotion and protection of interests for US citizens globally.
The Department currently operates more than 270 embassies, consulates, and other posts worldwide. These provide policy guidance, program management, administrative support, and in-depth expertise in matters such as law enforcement, economics, the environment, arms control, human rights, counter narcotics, public diplomacy, security, consular services and more.
To collaborate, one of the primary communication methods between these bureaus for government to government communication was a primitive black and white ASCII-based cable system established circa World War II.
The restrictions associated with the legacy cable-based communication system limited the department’s responsiveness and did little to control the human capital costs associated with the need to scale up the number of employees to address the manual effort required to appropriately process the cables in a timely fashion. In addition, the U.S. Department of State was required to become compliant with NARA. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation’s record keeper that archives important business, legal and historical documents forever. The U.S. Department of State like many other organizations are required to submit their files to NARA in PDF/A (the PDF format for Archiving). So the decision was made to look into technology that could revolutionize their antiquated cable system and provide a reliable, yet scalable solution that would store and archive their cables, enable sharing and improve information accessibility through search, while providing protected access to information by employee clearance level. A secondary, but nice-to-have requirement was the capability to enhance communication by including support for rich media options such as fonts, attachments (like images) and support for Microsoft® Outlook® to easily draft cables.
Read the complete white paper: