DFAT tenders first part of communications network program

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has listed its first request for tender under the five-year international communications network (ICN) program.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has released its first major procurement under the international communications network (ICN) program.

The ICN program is a five-year program that is aimed to modernise, replace, and improve the core infrastructure system of the DFAT global communications network, which support government services, including passports, consular services and visas, as well as the Australian government's domestic and international policy objectives, particularly its national security, economic diplomacy, trade and investment promotion agenda.

It will eventually replace the government's existing secure Australian telecommunications and information network (SATIN) that connects to 144 sites in Australia and overseas on a 24/7 basis, including 94 diplomatic posts, minister and state offices, as well as more than 45 Australian government partner agencies. Fujitsu Australia has been providing support to SATIN since 2009, with its  contract due to expire in early 2015. 

According to the request for tender, as part of a 12-month contract, a suitable prime system integrator needs to have the capacity to provide ICT global support centre services and services management capability within the ICN program, and recommend and implement an industry mainstream standard SMT software suite, including its 'out-of-the-box' IT services management processes and workflows. 

DFAT said as part of this process it hopes to seek to enter new arrangements that will see a range of improved management tools and self-service options for the department's global communications network.

Rolling out the ICN is one of two core focuses for the department's chief information officer Tuan Dao, for which the department received over AU$31 million in funding out to 2016-17 in the 2013-14 federal budget. 

Dao's other commitment is implementing the department's new AU$100.8 million passport system , a system that is not expected to go live until next year.

He previously told ZDNet that the ICN changes will include "physical wires, physical switch gear, so all the typical infrastructure we do".

In DFAT's annual report 2012-13, the department noted that the ICN program is a "key plank" of the department's long-term reform agenda, and forms part of the government's "major, whole-of-government initiative that will transform its overseas ICT capabilities and provide modern technology platform into the next decade".