Annual Report 2003-2004

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OUTPUT 1.2: Secure government communications and security of overseas missions

Output 1.2 Quality and quantity information

Quality indicators

Quantity indicators

Client satisfaction—secure communications network and telecommunications infrastructure

The SATIN system has delivered increased functionality and efficiency to all departmental staff including 89 overseas missions (85 DFAT posts plus four DIMIA/Austrade posts—Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai and Auckland). Eighteen government agencies and ten ministerial/parliamentary offices have been connected to the SATIN High system for secure international communications.

The department sought client views and feedback on the SATIN system through a variety of mechanisms:

External feedback

Internal feedback

Availability and reliability of communications

The department continued to look at ways of streamlining and improving efficiency in the provision of electronic communication services to its clients.

Our provision of upgraded secure mobile communications system (the 'FlyAway unit') ensured ministers and officials had access to secure communications to Canberra from remote or temporary office locations. We provided FlyAway units to staff in the Australian Representative Office in Baghdad, and the new post in Accra. Mobile communications systems accompanied the Prime Minister in two visits to Auckland, and Mr Vaile to the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancún, Mexico. Another unit is permanently on standby for use by the department's rapid response team.

The department continued to assess new technologies, including open source operating systems and applications, improved secure voice systems and improved encryption key delivery and management. We continued to implement the SATIN Global Management System (SGMS)—a comprehensive IT network management system. The SGMS provides improved visibility and control of all elements of the department's IT network—covering router management, network discovery, application response times and servers. By improving our ability to examine and evaluate the department's IT infrastructure the SGMS will ensure that the system's business goals continue to be met.

We negotiated new contracts for the supply of international satellite telecommunications services during 2004. The new services—with implementation starting in July 2004—will enable the department to expand significantly its bandwidth capacity (necessary for the successful operation of the SATIN system at posts) at only a small additional cost.

Client satisfaction—security of overseas missions

Many of our overseas missions operated in challenging circumstances in 2003–04, including the threats of civil disturbance or terrorist attack. We conducted an external review by a management consultant which found that posts believed the department was responsive and efficient in responding to security incidents and managing requests for security equipment or other security measures. We provided advice to posts—often at short notice—on evolving security situations, special security assessments and inspection advisory visits. We kept partner agencies informed of key developing security situations and our management of them. Agencies expressed support for the measures in place and the approach taken. One agency in particular was very appreciative of the ongoing support we provide in responding to their ad hoc requests and in meeting extremely tight deadlines.

We continued to emphasise the critical importance of security awareness for the people who visit and work at our missions overseas. We introduced personal security awareness seminars to our security training, which attracted widespread praise and support from participants.

Quantity information for output 1.2

Indicators 2003–04 2002–03
Number of posts and Commonwealth entities with access to the secure communications network and secure telecommunications infrastructure 117 108
Number of clients1 117 (approx) 113 (approx)
Types of services:
Cables analysed 142 568 146 498
Cable pages printed2 651 913 1 225 660
Number of overseas missions for which security services are provided, including security review services3 88 88
Number of security clearances and reviews processed 622 776

1 This figure reflects the number of agencies and other external work units including seven ministerial and parliamentary offices which receive paper or electronic copies of cables.

2 The drop in printed pages reflects the department's policy of encouraging staff to read cables online rather than having them printed centrally. The demand for printed cables from other agencies also diminished as more joined the SATIN network and had access to cables electronically rather than in printed form.

3 This figure includes our overseas posts and other permanent overseas locations—see Appendix 13: Summary of the overseas network. It also includes an Australian Administrative Centre in Nauru set up to facilitate the processing of applications from asylum seekers.

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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2003–2004
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