Optical/IP Networks

W Does Cisco

SAN JOSE -- Don't panic if the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) home base seems deserted today. It's not a plague or alien invasion.

Well, not exactly. It's a visit from the heads of state -- President George W. Bush and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Technically, employees aren't being chased out, but Cisco is suggesting they consider telecommuting today "due to the expected parking lot and road closures," a spokeswoman says.

Wonder if this guy's gonna show up.

In place of its employees, Cisco can expect the usual flood of protesters who tail Bush. The company has drawn up one of those "free assembly zones" to accommodate them, and there will be law enforcement on hand. The spokeswoman wouldn't give out numbers of cops or vehicles expected.

The Republican duo is visiting Cisco's San Jose headquarters to participate with CEO John Chambers in a panel discussion on future competitiveness in America.

The crux of the discussion will probably be Bush's "American Competitiveness Initiative" aimed at keeping the U.S. workforce on a par with China and India. The 10-year, $136 billion plan was drafted with guidance from Silicon Valley executives and venture capitalists and unveiled during Bush's State of the Union Address in January. It includes proposals to make the R&D tax credit permanent and to add $50 billion to federal research budgets in the physical sciences. As part of the initiative, Bush also created a National Math Panel to look into improving mathematics education.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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