Testimony

STATEMENT OF
THE HONORABLE KAREN EVANS
ADMINISTRATOR FOR ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT AND
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
BEFORE THE
COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND
GOVERNMENTALAFFAIRS
UNITED STATES SENATE

DECEMBER 11, 2007

Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me to speak about the current status of E-Government.

As you know, this December 17th marks five years since the President signed the E-Government Act of 2002 into law. The passing of this Act was an acknowledgement of the rapid transformation the Internet and information technology (IT) has on the way citizens, private business, and government interact with one another.

In the invitation letter from the Committee, the stated purpose of this hearing is to discuss the progress the government has made in getting services and information online and available to the public, what new technologies could be used to enhance the government’s ability to collaborate and share information, and what challenges remain five years since the enactment of the E-Government Act.

To address this first stated purpose, I will discuss what actions we have taken over the last five years to: 1) address the statutory requirements in the Act; and 2) improve the availability of government information, and services through the effective use of IT.

In regards to the second and third stated purpose, we continue to evaluate technologies to enhance government collaboration, but technology isn’t necessarily the leading factor limiting Federal agencies’ ability to collaborate. At the moment, efforts such as the Federal Enterprise Architecture and the Governmental Lines of Business (LoBs) are used to enhance collaboration among Federal agencies by aligning their business processes at a strategic level which makes it easier for them to partner and work with one another. It’s the challenge of getting these processes institutionalized which is one of the difficulties in getting agencies to collaborate and share information better, and is also one of the remaining challenges for E-Government when looking ahead and attempting to transform services, and get results.

Before addressing what has been accomplished over the last five years, I want to briefly update the Committee on the latest security and privacy metrics across the Federal Government.

Security and Privacy

Title III of the E-Government Act, otherwise known as the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) calls for a comprehensive framework for ensuring the effectiveness of information security controls over information resources supporting Federal operations and assets. Our latest FISMA FY 2007 fourth quarter report shows 88% of all major IT systems across the Federal Government have been certified and accredited while 19 out of the 25 major agencies have Privacy Impact Assessments for 90% or more of applicable systems. Overall we consider FISMA to be successful in helping to meet the goal of improved information security across Federal IT systems and we will continue to work with agencies to increase security and privacy effectiveness while at the same time managing risks to an acceptable level. We will be providing our annual FISMA report to Congress on March 1, 2008.

Statutory Requirements of the E-Government Act

Section 203 - Compatibility of Executive Agency Methods for Use and Acceptance of Electronic Signatures

E-Authentication

The Presidential E-Government Initiative, E-Authentication, provides a trusted and secure standards-based authentication architecture to support Federal E-Government applications and initiatives. This approach provides a uniform process for establishing electronic identity and eliminates the need for each initiative to develop its own solution for the verification of identity and electronic signatures, saving time and money across the Federal Government. E-Authentication’s distributed architecture allows citizens and businesses to use non-government issued credentials to conduct transactions with the Federal Government.

E-Authentication also created the US E-Authentication Identity Federation which allows Federation members to recognize and trust log-in IDs issued by other trusted Federation members. The trusted members issuing these log-in IDs may be other government agencies, academic institutions, or commercial entities, such as banks or other financial services institutions.

As of September 30, 2006, 31 agencies were members of the Federation, with 70 more scheduled to "go live" within the next 12 months. Six credential service providers are also members of the Federation, providing 3rd party credential provisioning and management to E-Government users.

Section 204 - Federal Internet Portal 

USA.gov

As the official Internet portal to government information, USA.gov provides a centralized point of entry where the public can locate government information, benefits, and services. This cuts down on the time spent by individuals trying to locate government information of interest to them.

The public has embraced the usefulness of USA.gov and in FY 2007, it received approximately 97 million visits during the year or 1.87 million visits per week. This last year, USA.gov received numerous national recognitions for the quality and effectiveness in providing government information to the public and was highlighted in July 2007, by Time Magazine in an article entitled, "25 Sites We Can’t Live Without."

The National Contact Center supports USA.gov through 1-(800)-FED-INFO and serves as a single telephone number for obtaining official information about, state, local, and tribal benefits and services in both English and Spanish. Furthermore, GobiernoUSA.gov provides links to Spanish-language government information and the ability to search across the government online in Spanish.

The usefulness of the National Contact Center and USA.gov can be highlighted in their support for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in its response to breaches of personally identifiable information.1 This response enabled Veterans and other citizens to call the National Contact Center or access USA.gov to learn more about the breach incidents, who to contact, and steps to mitigate and prevent future breaches and allow those who were affected greater peace of mind. For this particular incident which took place in May 2006, the USA.gov page on Veterans Data Security was viewed 515,993 times in a three week period from May 22 to June 11. During the two months of May and June 2006, 26,801 new subscribers signed up for e-mail alerts to learn of updates to the Veterans Data Security page. Additionally, the National Contact Center handled 113,354 calls related to this incident.

Section 206 - Regulatory Agencies 

Regulations.gov

Businesses and individuals can access federal regulations on the Internet, but the process of following and participating in the Federal regulatory process can be time-consuming. The public must know the agencies responsible for developing a regulation in order to view it through individual agency websites or the Federal Register. Additionally, on-line access to comments about regulations, along with other supporting documents, is limited.

Regulations.gov, a government-wide rulemaking portal solves this dilemma by facilitating public participation in the federal regulatory process and improves the public's ability to find, view, and comment on federal regulatory actions. It allows the public to communicate with a wide range of government agencies whose regulations affect their daily lives and acts as a mechanism where Americans can have a voice in influencing upcoming federal regulation.

Collectively, this collaborative multi-agency effort is projected to save the Federal government more than $100 million over a five year period since agencies will not need to deploy or maintain duplicative electronic comment management systems.

Between September 30, 2006 through September 30, 2007, Regulations.gov:

  • Received 71 million hits (5.9 million hits per month), a 26 percent increase in hits compared to FY2006;
  • Enabled the public to view or download more than 32 million pages, an 88 percent increase in pages viewed compared to FY2006;
  • Posted more than 920,000 documents for public access, a 206 percent increase in documents compared to FY2006; and
  • Enabled agencies to post more than 114,000 public submissions (including public comments submitted by paper, email, and fax).

As of October 1, 2007:

  • 26 Federal Departments and Agencies have completed Federal Docket Management (FDMS) implementation which facilitates functionality on Regulations.gov; 
  • Implemented Federal Departments & Agencies represent over 80% of Federal rulemaking output; and
  • Federal Departments and Agencies representing over 90% of Federal rulemaking output will be using FDMS by Q1 FY2008.

Overall, in FY 2007, Regulations.gov has received more than 110,000 public comments on behalf of 100 agencies, and is a prime example of collaborative technology the government is utilizing to increase citizen participation in government and democracy.

Section 207 - Accessibility, Usability, and Preservation of Government Information 

Interagency Committee on Government Information Working Groups

OMB established the Interagency Committee on Government Information (ICGI) in June 2003. The Committee developed and provided recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and NARA to promote cost-effective management of Federal information resources.

Adoption of Standards to Make Government Information more Available

OMB issued the following to agencies in order to improve the availability of government information:

  • Memorandum M-06-02, "Improving Public Access to and Dissemination of Government Information and Using the Federal Enterprise Architecture Data Reference Model," to identify procedures for agencies to organize and categorize information and make it easily searchable (December 16, 2005); and
  • Memorandum M-05-4, "Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites," to promote efficient, effective and consistent use of Federal agency public websites (December 17, 2004).

Records Management

On December 15, 2005, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued, "Guidance for Implementing Section 207(e) of the E-Government Act of 2002,2" to assist agencies in scheduling their electronic records.

Effective management of government records ensures adequate documentation of the policies and transactions of the Federal Government, allows the Federal Government to review and improve its programs, and helps the public obtain information about Federal programs and activities. To achieve these benefits, agencies systematically manage all their records regardless of form and medium (e.g., paper and electronic form) throughout the information life cycle.

OMB continues to work closely with NARA and the General Services Administration (GSA) in support of their records management activities. For example, OMB participates in the Federal Records Council whose role is to provide a forum where upcoming records management policies and developments affecting Federal agencies can be discussed. On August 2, 2007, GSA issued a request for quotes under its SmartBuy initiative to negotiate standards terms, conditions, and discounted prices with vendors providing electronic data and records management software.

Dissemination of Federal Research and Development

Dissemination of Federal R&D activities is essential to stimulate an exchange of new scientific information and technologies. Furthermore, agency R&D activities are an essential component of many agency functions and missions. Multiple channels have been utilized to increase the public’s access to R&D information including:

  • Science.gov - Science.gov provides search capability across 30 Federal agency R&D databases and provides links to science websites and scientific databases allowing citizens to access the results of Federal research.3 In FY 2007 Science.gov experienced 6.5 million search queries across all of its scientific databases. http://www.science.gov;
  • The RaDiUS database provides the public and agencies with information about federally funded R&D activities. 
  • Currently individual agency responses to the annual E-Government Act Implementation Report lists websites agencies are using to disseminate R&D information relevant to their agency.

Section 208 - Privacy Provisions

Pursuant to section 208, agencies must conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for electronic information systems and collections when certain criteria have been met. Additionally, agencies must translate privacy policies into a standardized machine-readable format and post these policies on agency websites used by the public. Agencies are also required to report annually to OMB on compliance with the requirements of section 208.

A PIA is an analysis of how the Federal government handles personally identifiable information to ensure compliance with applicable privacy laws and polices, determine the privacy risks associated with the information system, and evaluate protections and alternative processes to mitigate these risks. Conducting a PIA appropriately ensures agencies consider privacy concerns and incorporate mitigating measures into the development and operation of the information system.

Agencies are required to conduct a PIA when developing or procuring IT systems or projects which collect, maintain or disseminate information in identifiable form from or about members of the public, and when initiating a new electronic collection of information in identifiable form under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

The E-Government Act requires agencies to make PIAs publicly available. Consistent with the Administration’s policies regarding information dissemination and transparency, OMB interprets this provision to require agencies to post on their websites those PIAs required under the Act to be published.

Reporting on the privacy provisions are incorporated into the quarterly and annual reports agencies submit under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Additionally, OMB has issued policies and guidance to support and assist agencies with ensuring adequate compliance with privacy provisions required under law and policy:

  • Memorandum M-07-16, "Safeguarding Against and Responding to the Breach of Personally Identifiable Information," requires agencies to implement a breach notification policy to protect personally identifiable information in possession of the government. Additionally, the memorandum discusses new and existing security and privacy requirements to reduce the risks related to data breach and mitigate the effects when a breach occurs (May 22, 2007).
     
  • Memorandum M-06-19, "Reporting Incidents Involving Personally Identifiable Information and Incorporating the Cost for Security in Agency Information Technology Investments," provides updated guidance on the reporting of security incidents involving personally identifiable information to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). Additionally, the memorandum discusses new and existing requirements addressing security and privacy in agencies’ FY 2008 budget submissions for IT (July 12, 2006).
     
  • Memorandum M-06-15, "Safeguarding Personally Identifiable Information," reemphasizes to agencies their responsibilities under law and policy to appropriately safeguard sensitive personally identifiable information and train employees on their responsibilities in this area. The memorandum further requires each agency’s Senior Official for Privacy to conduct a review of agency policies and processes, and take corrective action as appropriate to ensure adequate safeguards are in place to prevent the intentional or negligent misuse of, or unauthorized access to, personally identifiable information (May 22, 2006).
     
  • Memorandum M-05-08, "Designation of Senior Agency Officials for Privacy" requires agencies to better coordinate privacy concerns by designating a senior official in charge of overall responsibility and accountability for ensuring implementation of privacy protections. This includes the agency’s full compliance with federal laws, regulations, and policies relating to information privacy, such as the Privacy Act (February 11, 2005).
     
  • Memorandum M-03-22, "Guidance for Implementing the Privacy Provisions of the E-Government Act of 2002," assists agencies in conducting reviews and PIAs addressing how information in identifiable formis handled when the agency uses or develops new IT systems or modernizes existing systems (September 26, 2003).

Section 209 - Federal Information Technology Workforce Development

On July 21, 2004 OMB issued Memorandum M-04-19, "Information Technology Project Manager Qualification Guidance," to assist agencies with ensuring their project managers are appropriately qualified by utilizing the Federal IT Project Manager Guidance Matrix. This matrix helps to define levels of complexity for IT projects, identify appropriate competencies and experience for project managers, and serves as a tool for validating IT project manager credentials.

Currently, agencies’ plans and associated milestones for closing their identified IT workforce gaps are monitored through the Human Capital Scorecard. Through this agencies are seeking to improve across a wide range of positions, but are specifically focused on critical positions, such as:

  • Project Management;
  • IT Security; and
  • IT Architecture.

To develop, supplement, and modernize Federal agency IT workforce skills, the E-Government Act authorized the Information Technology Exchange Program. The program allows members of the Federal IT workforce to work in the private sector and conversely allows individuals from the private sector to bring their skills to the Federal IT workforce. To help agencies implement the program, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) finalized regulations and posted guidance for agencies to use when participating.4

Section 210. Share-in-Savings Initiatives. 

GSA, in consultation with OMB, identified potential Share-in-Savings (SiS) opportunities across government and developed guidance on how to determine mutually beneficial SiS. Previously, the Clinger-Cohen Act directed the use of SiS for selected pilot projects, but agencies were not allowed to keep the savings they recognized. The provision in the E-Government Act allows agencies to retain some of these savings.

Section 211 - Authorization for Acquisition of Information Technology by State and Local Governments Through Federal Supply Schedules

The E-Government Act provides state and local governments the opportunity to utilize GSA's Federal Supply Schedules for automated data processing equipment (including firmware), software, supplies, support equipment, and services as included in Schedule 70. GSA has taken responsive action to address the requirements of this section and on May 18, 2004, GSA published its final rule authorizing acquisitions of IT by state and local governments through Federal Supply Schedules.

Recently GSA awarded agreements under the SmartBuy initiative allowing state and local governments to leverage their purchasing power alongside the Federal Government to attain the latest security encryption products and services at discounted prices so they are better able to manage security risks to their IT systems.

Section 212 - Integrated Reporting Study and Pilot Projects 

OMB’s Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) helps identify the relationships between business and management process and IT systems so agencies can better align their technology investments with their agency.5 By combining and analyzing these relationships from a government-wide perspective, OMB is able to determine how much IT spending is occurring in support of specific lines of business or services, including those which may transcend agency boundaries (e.g. environmental management, law enforcement, human resources, supply chain management, and security management). This analysis also identifies redundancies amongst IT investments (within an agency, or across agencies), thereby highlighting opportunities for potential consolidation, collaboration, or re-use of IT assets.

OMB also continues to work with agencies to evaluate and improve their agency enterprise architectures. During the most recent evaluation (February 2007), OMB assessed 19 of 26 agencies’ enterprise architectures as "effective" as part of the President’s Expanded E-Government Scorecard6. These architectures adequately describe the agency mission and the resources needed to achieve them, and have been used to drive satisfactory program performance and/or cost savings. Since last February, 2 of the 7 underperforming agencies have elevated their architectures to an "effective" level.  OMB continues to work with the remaining 5 agencies to work toward an "effective" rating for the February 2008 assessment.

Section 213 - Community Technology Centers 

The Department of Education sponsored the Community Technology Center Program, from 2000 to 2005, to provide disadvantaged residents of economically distressed urban and rural communities with access to IT and the training to use it.

OMB, in partnership with the Department of Education, the Government Printing Office (GPO), the Institute of Museum and Library Services, NARA, and GSA, completed a study evaluating the best practices of community technology centers, public libraries, GPO’s Federal Depository Library Program, and NARA research rooms.7 The study identified promising practices to expand computer and Internet access to the public and, where applicable, highlighted completed performance evaluations assessing the effectiveness of certain programs.

Section 214 - Enhancing Crisis Management Through Advanced IT 

Disaster Management (DM) is a program of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). DM aims to improve preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery for all hazards by creating the capability to seamlessly and securely share incident information across the Nation’s emergency response community in an effort to minimize the loss of life and property. The Disaster Management Interoperability Services (DMIS) incident management platform provides emergency managers with the ability to collaborate and share information with other DMIS users within their own organizations and with external organizations. The Open Platform for Emergency Networks (OPEN) system is the infrastructure enabling the exchange of information between disparate systems complying with the messaging standards DM is facilitating in support of practitioner requirements. FEMA is working collaboratively with the Office for Interoperability and Compatibility, within the DMIS toolset and OPEN backbone allow agencies to communicate collaboratively with local communities during an emergency.

SAFECOM Initiative

The SAFECOM initiative provides research, development, testing and evaluation, guidance, tools, and templates on interoperable communications-related issues to Federal, state, tribal, and local emergency response agencies. These services create more effective and efficient interoperable wireless communications, and as a result improve public safety response. 

SAFECOM is working with existing Federal communications initiatives and key public safety stakeholders to enhance the cross-jurisdictional and cross-disciplinary coordination of interoperable communications. The scope of this community is broad and the customer base includes over 50,000 local and State public safety agencies and organizations and over 100 Federal agencies are engaged in public safety disciplines, including law enforcement, firefighting, public health, and disaster recovery.

To address the most urgent interoperability needs, SAFECOM is supporting DHS’ Office of Emergency Communications’ development and implementation of a National Emergency Communications Plan and The National Communications Baseline Assessment.  The National Emergency Communications Plan supports and promotes the ability of emergency response providers and relevant government officials to continue to communicate in the event of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters, and to ensure, accelerate, and attain interoperable emergency communications nationwide. The National Communications Baseline Assessment provides the first comprehensive assessment of interoperable emergency communication capability, including operability and interoperability, across all levels of government and public sector entities.

Additionally, SAFECOM is helping to ensure all public safety agencies have the necessary tools and resources to meet the immediate demands for interoperability when responding to an emergency. SAFECOM guidance, tools, and templates help guide the migration of the emergency response community’s existing communications systems to work more effectively with greater interoperability.

Disaster Assistance Improvement Plan

In August 2006, the President issued an Executive Order establishing a Disaster Assistance Task Force, which is comprised of 15 agencies, led by DHS.  The Task Force prepared the Disaster Assistance Improvement Plan (DAIP), which was approved by the President in September 2007. Specifically, the Executive Order calls for the Task Force to:

"Recommend specific actions to improve the delivery of Federal disaster assistance which shall include actions to provide a centralized and continuously updated clearinghouse from which disaster victims may obtain information regarding Federal disaster assistance and State and local government and private sector sources of disaster assistance; reduce unnecessarily duplicative application forms and processes for Federal disaster assistance; and strengthen controls designed to prevent improper payments and other forms of fraud, waste, and abuse."

The overall intent of DAIP is to streamline the process disaster victims use to apply for and receive disaster assistance from multiple Federal agencies.

Section 215 - Disparities in Access to the Internet 

GSA and the National Academy of Science conducted a study to develop a methodology and approach for examining disparities in Internet access and how these disparities influence the effectiveness of online government services. The report based off this study was published January 24, 2005.8 It included a review of the nature and causes of disparities in Internet access and examined how the increase in online government services influences the disparities in Internet access and how technology development and diffusion trends may offset these adverse influences.

On April 26, 2004 the President gave a speech emphasizing the need for universal and affordable access to broadband technology, helping to eliminate the disparity in access to the Internet.

  • The President signed into law a two-year extension of the Internet Access Tax moratorium and has called on Congress to pass legislation that would explicitly extend the moratorium to broadband and make the moratorium permanent. Taxing broadband access would increase the cost of broadband for consumers.
     
  • The President signed an Executive Memorandum that implements Federal rights-of-way reforms to streamline the process for broadband providers to get access to Federal lands to build high-speed infrastructure. The reforms will help to minimize burdens on industry allowing for easier construction of broadband service.
     
  • The Administration has supported the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to free new fiber-to-the-home investments from legacy regulations. Deregulating new ultra-fast broadband infrastructure to the home removes a significant barrier to new capital investments thus helping to make broadband access more widely available.

Section 216 - Common Protocols for Geographic Information Systems

Cross-agency coordination of geospatial activities can identify, consolidate, and reduce or eliminate redundant geospatial investments. The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), established by the Office of Management and Budget in 1990 and re-chartered in the August 2002 revision of Circular A-16, has been essential in developing recommendations for better management of technologies, policies, and people necessary to promote sharing of geospatial data throughout all levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, and the academic community. The FGDC includes representatives from Federal agencies, as well as numerous stakeholders representing the interests of state and local government, industry, and professional organizations.

The Geospatial One-Stop initiative, through GeoData.gov, continues to provide one-stop web access to geospatial information, and encourages collaborative planning across the government for future investments in geospatial data while expanding partnerships that help leverage investments and reduce duplication.

In 2007, GeoData.gov experienced increased utilization and support from data providers and end users. In 2007, the number of records in GeoData.gov exceeded 150,000 and the number of visits to the site has increased to approximately 60,000 per month.

Major E-Government Initiatives to Benefit the American Public

Highlighted below are some examples of the Presidential E-Government Initiatives seeking to provide better access to Federal Government information and services.

Grants.gov

Grants.gov is a secure, reliable online portal to Federal grants from multiple agencies. Through Grants.gov, state, local, and tribal governments, colleges and universities, non-profits, research institutions, and other organizations have a more effective means to find and apply for grants from more than 1,000 grant programs representing over $400 billion in annual grant funds offered by the 26 Federal grant-making agencies. State and local governments who use to spend hours a day searching for federal grants now spend minutes both searching and applying for grant opportunities. In FY 2007 Grants.gov received 180,861 grant application submissions from the public, an increase of nearly 100% over FY 2006.

GovBenefits.gov

GovBenefits.gov empowers people to make decisions for themselves and their families by providing a single website to access information on more than 1,000 government benefit and assistance programs. GovBenefits.gov significantly reduces the amount of time individuals spend trying to identify and access relevant information about government benefit programs. By answering a few specific questions, individuals are better able to determine which government benefits they may be eligible to receive along with a description and contact information for each program.

To date, GovBenefits.gov is receiving approximately 250,000 visits per month by citizens and has provided nearly 5.5 million citizen referrals to benefit programs.

Recreation.gov

Recreation.gov provides a single site for Americans to plan vacations to Federal recreation sites. This translates into less time and hassle spent navigating and planning vacations to Federal sites and makes it easier for citizens to plan a vacation or arrange reservations at a campsite, cabin, or for a tour at a Federal recreation site. As of March 2007, all 11 Federal partner agencies are providing up-to-date information to the Recreation Information Database which feeds data to Recreation.gov about Federal recreation sites, and 70 percent of all National Park reservations are made online through the website.

GovLoans.gov

Govloans.gov creates a single point of access for citizens to locate information on federal loan programs. This allows the public better access to $310 billion in federal loans each year, either directly from the federal government or through banks issuing federally guaranteed/insured loans. Prior to this initiative, there was no single source on the web for federal loan program information. As a result, citizens had to navigate through an enormous amount of information to find the federal loan programs best meeting their needs. This program reduces the time spent looking and applying for federal loans and provides enhanced customer service. Govloans.gov is increasingly popular with the public and as of the first quarter of FY 2007, all six Federal partner agencies had programs posted on the website which was averaging 38,639 visits per month.

Export.gov

Export.gov makes it easy for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to obtain the information and documents needed to conduct business abroad. U.S. companies with fewer than 20 employees accounted for nearly $32 billion in export sales over the last decade. Despite this encouraging statistic, only 2 percent of SMEs export, and of those doing so, 63 percent export to only one foreign market. Thus growth in export related business represents a huge untapped potential for increased prosperity and employment for SMEs in communities all over the nation.

Numerous surveys have revealed a critical barrier for small exporters is a lack of information about the export process and limited resources for obtaining the information and documents necessary to conduct business abroad. Export.gov makes it easier for SMEs to obtain the information and documents needed to conduct business abroad and in the first quarter of FY 2007, Export.gov averaged 506,124 visits per month.

Business.gov

Business.gov saves businesses time and money by providing a one-stop resource for compliance information, forms and government contacts. For the first time, businesses can go to one website to search for compliance information from multiple U.S. federal government agencies Business.gov reduces the burden on the business community by eliminating the need to search through multiple websites to locate and access government information, services, and legal/regulatory requirements and forms. To date 34 out of the total 40 agencies providing substantive compliance information have submitted information to Business.gov, and the website has averaged 210,947 visitors per month.

ExpectMore.gov

ExpectMore.gov is a website that provides the public with information on how Federal programs perform. It is the result of the The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 requiring the full disclosure of all entities or organizations receiving federal funds beginning in FY 2007, on a website maintained by OMB. ExpectMore.gov was launched in February 2006 and includes information about every Federal program assessed, what its purpose is, how it performs, and what it is doing to perform better. There are over 1000 assessment summaries and detailed assessments available on ExpectMore.gov. By making candid assessments of programs more accessible to the public, ExpectMore.gov raises awareness of what Federal programs are doing to improve. You can easily browse for program assessments by either their rating or topic, or conduct a keyword search on ExpectMore.gov. Each assessment summary provides a brief program overview, some of the key findings of the assessment, and the follow-up actions agencies are taking to address those findings.  Each summary includes links to the program’s website and the search results for similar Federal programs. The summaries also link to the detailed program assessment. There you can find the evidence to support the program’s rating along with the program’s level of funding and actual results achieved.

IRS File Free

The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) File Free program allows eligible taxpayers to prepare and electronically file their tax returns over the Internet using commercial software for free. The File Free program creates a single point of access to free on-line preparation and electronic tax filing services to reduce the burden and cost to taxpayers who have limited income. This results in faster and more accurate returns for taxpayers and reduced fears about transmitting personal tax information to third parties. As of March 29, 2007, 2.9 million returns were electronically filed through the File Free program.

Expanding Electronic Tax Products for Businesses

Expanding Electronic Tax Products for Businesses reduces the tax-reporting burden on businesses while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations. This results in timely and accurate tax information and increases the availability of electronic tax filing. Benefits include reducing the number of tax-related forms businesses must file, providing timely and accurate tax information to businesses and increasing the availability of electronic tax filing. Since FY 2006 Expanding Electronic Tax Products for Businesses has achieved its goal of having 100% of targeted IRS business related tax forms available for electronic submission.

E-Vital

E-Vital assists states in automating and streamlining the current paper-bound processes used to collect, process, analyze and disseminate death records among government agencies through an electronic, web-based system called Electronic Death Registration (EDR). EDR results in more accurate and available death record information and allows ordinary citizens a less troublesome and less burdensome process to arrange for things such as survivor benefits in their time of grief. As of January 1, 2007, 58% of US states, jurisdictions, and territories have been awarded EDR contracts to assist in developing and building EDR systems.

Looking Ahead

When looking ahead, we see many of the Presidential E-Government Initiatives as foundational services positioning the government to be more collaborative, transparent, and accountable through the use of information technology. Initiatives such as Regulations.gov provide an environment to allow for a collaborative approach, truly fostering E-Democracy which brings citizen participation in government back to a more personal level. In fact, the purpose of many of the initiatives is to provide a more citizen-centered approach toward the delivery of government services so the people themselves are not just recipients, but also active participants, in how these services are delivered.

Helping to further this goal of a more citizen-focused government will be the CIO Council, whose role it is to serve as the principal interagency forum for improving practices in the design, modernization, use, sharing, and performance of Federal Government agency information resources. Through this top level coordination, the CIO Council will continue to play a key role in the future for promoting, and working to implement the next generation of E-Government services which takes advantage the successes and lessons learned from the past five years. The Council will leverage the Presidential E-Government Initiatives and Lines of Business (LoBs) which have matured and are ready to move on to the next level of service for a more citizen-centric, collaborative approach toward the delivery of government information and services.

Conclusion

Today, people demand and expect electronic services from their government. The advancements in the private sector in providing user-friendly and time saving electronic services have shown the public the benefits these capabilities can provide. There is an expectation by the American people for their government to deliver the same high quality services while also protecting their privacy. As I have discussed today through highlighting the numerous accomplishments we have achieved over the last five years, the Federal Government is making significant strides towards meeting these expectations with effective, collaborative, time-saving electronic services and providing citizens with increased opportunities to participate in government while managing the risk associated with these services, such as data protection.

The E-Government Act of 2002 has proven to be a pivotal piece of legislation enabling the Federal government to recognize and take action on the changes the Internet and information technology have on society and government. Reauthorization of the E-Government Act will further promote online access to government information and services, and show a commitment to implementing convenient and time saving electronic services. In addition, a well-informed citizenry is essential to a healthy democracy and the new provisions on best practices for search functionality included in the reauthorization language will leverage advances made in search technology, to help ensure government information and services remains easily accessible by everyone. Lastly, reauthorization will allow the intent and purpose of the E-Government Act to continue to be a driving force behind providing increased opportunity for the American public to participate in government.

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1 The website can be found at: http://www.usa.gov/dataincidents.shtml.

2 NARA’s "Guidance for Implementing Section 207(e) of the E-Government Act of 2002," can be found at: http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/bulletins/2006/2006-02.html.

3 The list of databases can be found at: http://www.science.gov/searchdbs.html.

4 The OPM IT Exchange Program guidance can be found at: http://www.opm.gov/leader/hrd/lead/itep/overview.asp.

5 The FEA is described in more detail at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/egov/a-1-fea.html.

6 The results of the February 2007 Enterprise Architecture assessment are described in more detail within "OMB 2007 EA Assessment Results" at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/egov/a-2-EAAssessment.html.

7 This study can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/inforeg/section_213_report_04-2005.pdf.

8 This report can be found at: http://www.cio.gov/documents/icgi/report.pdf.