21st Century Government
to Cut Waste

President Obama and Vice President Biden launch the Campaign to Cut Waste, which will hunt down and eliminate misspent tax dollars in every agency and department across the Federal Government.

Read the executive order

21st Century Government Latest News

  • Shutting Down Duplicative Data Centers

    Just as our cell phones and computers have gotten progressively more efficient over the past decade, so too have data servers. However, the government has not taken advantage of the increasing efficiency of data storage. Rather than follow the private sector's lead of shrinking the size and number of the facilities used to house the computers that store their data, agencies have gone in the opposite direction.

    Between 1998 and 2010, the Federal government quadrupled the number of data centers we operate.  Moreover, on average these centers have been using only 27 percent of their computer power even though taxpayers are footing the bill for the entire infrastructure, real estate and energy costs. The need for backup power supplies, environmental controls (air conditioning, fire suppression, etc.) and special security devices mean that data centers can consume 200 times as much electricity as standard office spaces.

    While such inefficiency is unacceptable at anytime, cracking down on waste is particularly important in these challenging budgetary times. By shrinking our data center footprint we will save taxpayer dollars, cutting costs for infrastructure, real estate and energy. At the same time, moving to a more nimble 21st century model will strengthen our security and the ability to deliver services for less.

  • Cut Waste and SAVE

    Watch the video announcing the third annual SAVE Award here.

    Today, we launched the third annual SAVE Award (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency) – a contest for federal employees to submit ideas about how to cut waste, save taxpayer dollars, and make government more effective and efficient. 

    Over the past two years, OMB has received more than 56,000 cost-cutting ideas through the SAVE Award from federal employees from across the country. The ideas range from stopping the overnight, express delivery of empty containers to allowing people to make appointments with their Social Security office online and ending the printing and shipping to employees across the country of thousands of Federal Register volumes that could be read online.

    These ideas have made a difference. The President’s last two budgets each included approximately 20 SAVE Award ideas.  Already, those submissions are saving hundreds of millions of dollars, rooting out redundancy and waste, and giving the American people a more accountable government. 

    Wasting taxpayer dollars is unacceptable at anytime, but particularly when we face huge budget deficits.  That’s why this year’s SAVE Award is a critical part of the recently launched Campaign to Cut Waste – an Administration-wide initiative to hunt down and eliminate wasted tax dollars in every agency and department across the federal government. 

    The idea behind the SAVE Award is the belief that federal employees on the front lines know better than anyone where there is waste to cut and how to make government more effective and efficient.  If you’re a federal employee, please take a minute and send us your idea. You will help your government, your fellow citizens, and if you win, will get to present your idea directly to the President. 

    Make no mistake: these ideas alone aren’t going to close the deficit of fix our fiscal situation, but they are critical to making sure that the American people can trust their government to treat every tax dollar with the same care and attention they do.

    So, if you’re a member of the federal workforce, please send us your idea, and for everyone else, stay tuned as we will ask your help in picking the winner.

    As Vice President Biden wrote in an Op-Ed today, “This effort involves more than just eliminating fraud and waste; it means instilling a new culture of efficiency, of responsiveness, of accountability. We're changing the way government does business. We're working to give the American people the government they expect - and deserve.”

    Kenneth Baer is Senior Advisor and Associate Director for Communications and Strategic Planning at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

  • Calling All Federal Employees: We Need Your Help to Cut Wasteful Spending

    Today, Vice President Biden sent an email announcing the launch of the 2011 SAVE Award to federal employees who participated in the SAVE Award in 2009 and 2010. The SAVE Award is a chance for federal employees from across the government to submit their ideas for efficiencies and savings as part of the annual Budget process.

    The Vice President also published an op-ed in McClatchy newspapers about delivering the American taxpayers an accountable government.

    If you're a federal employee, be sure to submit your ideas before July 29, 2011.

    As one of the outstanding federal employees who has participated in the SAVE Award in previous years, you should be the first to know that submissions for the 2011 SAVE Award are open.

    We need your help in identifying ways to cut wasteful federal spending. If you have an idea, take a few minutes right now to submit it -- and let your co-workers know about this great opportunity:

    The SAVE award is a critical part of the Campaign to Cut Waste that President Obama and I announced last month. The Campaign is an Administration-wide initiative to hunt down and eliminate wasteful spending and make government work better. Our goal is efficient spending of every tax dollar, in every agency and department across the federal government.

    We know that federal employees like you know the most about how government works – and in some cases, doesn’t work as efficiently as it should.

    Over the past two years, federal workers have submitted more than 56,000 cost-cutting ideas to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review through the SAVE Award. The ideas you submitted through the 2009 and 2010 SAVE Awards were sent to the appropriate agency for review and dozens were included in the President’s budget proposals.

    Last year’s winner, Trudy Givens, proposed that the federal government stop printing and mailing copies of the Federal Register to thousands of federal employees each day since the same information is available online. Trudy, her husband and her daughter got a chance to discuss her idea with President Obama in the Oval Office last year.

    You could be this year’s winner and meet with President Obama, so make sure you visit WhiteHouse.gov/Save-Award and submit your idea before July 29, 2011.

    Folks, we know that these ideas alone aren’t going to eliminate the deficit or fix our fiscal situation, but they are critical to making sure the American people can trust their government to spend their tax dollars wisely – and to make sure that we are directing resources to the investments that will create good jobs and grow the economy.

    I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas.


    Vice President Joe Biden

    P.S. Today, I published an op-ed about delivering an accountable government to the American taxpayers. You can read it here.

  • What You Missed: Live Chat on Improving Federal Websites

    On Tuesday, July 12th the White House Director of Digital Strategy Macon Phillips, Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and Director of the GSA’s Center for Excellence in Digital Government Sheila Campbell answered your questions from Facebook, Twitter and WhiteHouse.gov on ways to improve the online experience with Federal websites.

    Watch the live chat on improving federal websites here.

    As part of the continuing efforts of the Campaign to Cut Waste, an initiative launched last month by the President and Vice President to root out wasteful spending, the Administration has put a halt to the creation of new websites and set a goal of halving the number of separate, stand alone sites over the next year, through consolidation of existing sites or shutting down sites that are no longer needed.

  • Campaign to Cut Waste: .gov Effort to Improve Federal Websites

    Yesterday, we took a major step forward in improving how you get government information and services online.  For the first time, the federal government has published the list of all .gov domains managed by federal executive branch agencies– all 1759 of them! 

    Before today, no one – except for the few folks who manage the .gov registry – has had a clear picture of what our federal web space looks like.   Now, anyone can see how many different domains and websites agencies manage, what topics they cover, which sites may duplicate or overlap with others, and which sites are no longer being actively maintained.  As part of President Obama’s Executive Order on Customer Service and Campaign to Cut Waste, we can identify and consolidate unnecessary websites, saving money and providing better service to the American public.

    We invite you to view the list of .gov domains and give us suggestions in the comments section about how we can best use this information to make good business decisions.  If you’re a developer, download the dataset, make discoveries about the data, or provide us with a creative way to visualize the .gov domain.

    In the next several weeks, agencies will review each domain on the list and gather key metrics that will help determine what action to take – to maintain the site, merge the content into another existing site, or eliminate it.  At the same time, we’ll launch a national dialogue to engage the public in conversation about improving federal websites.  We’ll tap into voices from every corner to ensure we have broad input -- from students, teachers, and librarians to the tech industry, scientists, innovators, and anyone who has an interest in improving the online customer experience with government.

    We kicked off this initiative yesterday with a live video chat, and you can see much of that great conversation by watching the #dotgov hashtag on Twitter. We’ve also enabled commenting on the domains dataset. Making government data transparent can spark the creativity of many bright minds across the country, and we hope you’ll explore, discuss, and remix this data, and maybe even use it to map the .gov domain in ways we haven't seen before.

    The .Gov Task Force will oversee all of these efforts, always looking for more ways to keep the conversation going.

  • The President’s Executive Order on Improving and Streamlining Regulation by Independent Regulatory Agencies

    Today, President Obama took the next step in his ambitious and unprecedentedly open process for streamlining, improving, and eliminating regulations – by issuing a new Executive Order asking the independent regulatory agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, to take new steps to ensure smart, cost-effective regulations, designed to promote economic growth and job creation.  

    In a historic initiative, the President has requested the independent agencies to produce plans to reassess and to streamline their existing regulations, and to disclose those plans for public scrutiny. In addition, the President has asked the independent agencies to follow the cost-saving, burden-reducing principles in his January Executive Order on improving regulation.