Statement of Mark W. Everson and Mark A. Forman
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR MANAGEMENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
MARK A. FORMAN
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND E- GOVERNMENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TECHNOLOGY AND PROCUREMENT POLICY
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SEPTEMBER 18, 2002
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee to discuss the Administration's views on e-government and to comment on legislation pending before the Committee. We welcome your interest and the continued opportunity to work with you to strengthen the initiative.
Electronic Government, also known as e-government, is one of the key elements in the President's Management Agenda. The Presidents e-government initiative seeks to harness the potential of technology to provide high quality services at reduced cost to the American people. This Administration continues to believe that e-government must be integrated with the Administrations other management initiatives: budget and performance integration, strategic management of human capital, competitive sourcing, and improved financial performance. The potential for substantial improvement is greater if all these initiatives are pursued concurrently.
E-government is increasingly becoming the principal means by which citizens engage with their government. An April 2000 report from the Pew Foundation found that 68 million Americans have used government web sites up from 40 million in March 2000. The Federal Register reports that it received 65 million requests to download documents from its website in 2001. And based on a poll commissioned by the Council for Excellence in Government, citizens overwhelmingly believe that e-government leads to better government. The President sees e-government as part of a larger vision for reforming government.
E-government and the Presidents Management Agenda
The President's vision for reforming government emphasizes that "government needs to reform its operationshow it goes about its business and how it treats the people it serves. The vision is guided by three principles:
For the e-government initiative, the strategic question that we face is how to maximize results from the more than $50 billion we invest annually in IT.
E-Government will enable agencies to work together to improve services significantly and reduce operating costs. The e-government initiative is making government more responsive to citizens. Electronic commerce and Internet technology have made daily tasks easier and quicker; the U.S. government is now working to do the same for U.S. citizens.
The e-government initiative encourages and supports agencies to implement and use modern, secure technologies to become more productive, while responding faster and better to the needs of American citizens. The e-government initiative promotes the use of e-business tools by agencies in lessening paperwork burdens. This initiative will provide tools for all levels of government local, state, and federal to work together. Under the e-government initiative, U.S. government websites are already providing an easier, smarter, faster way for citizens to get the services and information they want. As e-government deploys effectively, conducting business with the government becomes easier, more private, and secure.
Our goal is that government services and information not be more than three clicks away when using the Internet. Achieving this vision requires agencies to integrate and simplify their operations.
Earlier this year, OMB released an e-government strategy. This strategy and expected updates to the strategy will result in significant improvements in the federal government, including:
The e-government strategy focuses on four citizen-centered groups, each providing opportunities to transform delivery of services.
Implementing the Strategy
OMB's Associate Director for Information Technology and E-Government has led work on this strategy, focusing on how information technology is managed at an enterprise level within and across agencies, and ultimately serving citizens in a way that is linked to agency missions and performance goals. This resulted in the selection of 24 interagency e-government initiatives in the Presidents Budget.
The e-government projects were selected on the basis of the value they would bring to citizens, while generating cost savings or improving effectiveness of government. The 24 projects achieve these results by simplifying and unifying agency work processes and information flows, providing one-stop access to a variety of services to citizens and enabling information to be collected online once and reused, rather than being collected numerous times. Agencies have since identified additional opportunities for using e-government to work across boundaries to improve performance and reduce costs.
Significant progress has been made on the projects in the last six months, including the launch of several government portals and initiative websites. Examples of these websites and the other Administration e-government projects include:
We have attached a table of the 24 projects and their managing partner agencies for the Committees information.
Barriers to Implementing the Strategy
In order to achieve results from the 24 projects, and to reach the promise of e-government more generally, we have to overcome a number of key barriers that may stand in the way of successful implementation. Recurring barriers include agency culture, lack of a federal architecture, trust, resources, and stakeholder resistance. Several actions we are taking are helping us overcome these barriers, and e-government legislation can increase our chances for success.
Federal Enterprise Architecture
One of the most significant findings to emerge from the e-government initiative came from a review of the federal governments enterprise architecture. An enterprise architecture (EA) describes how an organization performs its work using people, business processes, data, and technology. EAs are modernization blueprints to reform agency operations by aligning business, information, and technology systems to achieve performance objectives.
OMB is leading the development of a Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) with the support of the CIO Council. The purpose of this effort is to identify opportunities to simplify processes and unify work across the agencies and within the many lines of business of the Federal Government. The foundation of the FEA is the Business Reference Model (BRM), which describes the government's lines of business and its services to the citizen independent of the agencies and offices involved. This business-based foundation provides a common framework for improvement in budget allocation, horizontal and vertical information sharing, performance measurement, budget and performance integration, cross-agency collaboration, and e-government, as well as separate component architectures. The lines of business and sub-functions that comprise the BRM represent a departure from previous models of the federal government that use antiquated, stove-piped, agency-oriented frameworks. The BRM is the first layer of the Federal Enterprise Architecture and it is the main viewpoint for our analysis of data, applications and technology. The outcome of this effort will be a more citizen-centered, customer-focused government that maximizes technology investments to better achieve mission outcomes.
Overcoming Funding and Jurisdictional Barriers
Agency investment in information technology is necessary to achieve the e-government vision. The President's Budget is clear about our plans to use capital planning to improve performance, achieve outcomes from investments that match agency strategic priorities, and provide real benefits to the public. As major corporations have adapted to the digital economy, business cases, enterprise architectures, and IT capital planning have become recognized as highly effective practices. This Committee has strongly supported effective IT management practices, and OMB pledges the Administrations full support to employing these practices throughout the government.
Many have expressed specific concerns about the funding required to meet the goals and changes of e-government. As OMBs previous testimony before the Senate on S. 803 noted, we have the room to find money to start e-government projects if we simply stop funding what is not working. The FY 2002 Federal IT Budget portfolio totals approximately $50 billion; in FY 2003, we estimate that almost $52.6 billion will be spent on IT. The FY 2004 Budget process will include a framework for discontinuing IT investments that are no longer relevant, duplicate other systems or redundant business processes, are behind schedule, over budget or not delivering results. Our process includes a review of all IT investments against the BRM.
As mentioned above, in FY 2003, we identified opportunities for cross-agency projects and have worked to leverage investments from a number of partnering agencies for specific projects. For FY 2004, OMB will recommend investments in the Presidents ongoing E-Government initiatives, as well as new e-government investments identified through design of the Federal business architecture. We will use an integrated budget process that compliments each agencys investment portfolio. OMB will use agency budget submissions to identify cross-agency investments. OMB will give priority to agencies that have worked collectively to present and support activities in an integrated fashion. Agency activities should be aligned with those of other agencies where such cooperation can better serve citizens, businesses, governments, and internal Federal operations. The FY 2004 Budget will appropriately reflect such interagency collaboration, and agencies will be expected to demonstrate these efforts in their own Budget submissions.
Separate agency appropriations for e-government make it difficult to budget for, fund, and manage cross-agency projects. To help overcome this barrier, the President included in his FY 2003 Budget, a proposal for a $100 million e-government fund for innovative interagency e-government projects. The fund supports multi-agency e-government projects that are currently too expensive for any one agency budget to bear; such cross-agency e-government projects would have to be considered by multiple authorizing and appropriations committees.
The fund the President proposes leverages cross-agency work in e government that serves citizens and businesses, and could drastically improve citizens' ability to access federal services and federal information online. The fund provides for collaborative e government activities, supporting missions and goals that affect multiple agencies without introducing interagency funding conflicts, and consolidating redundant information technology investments that crossed agency and committee jurisdictions and represented a poor use of taxpayer dollars. The $5 million appropriated in FY 2002 was invested in tools to integrate multiple agency investments, such as GovBenefits, that were new and not redundant with other existing agency expenditures.
Our intent for FY 2003 is to fund similar integrations and achieve consolidation of redundant IT investments, under a fund that leverages other investments in a way that is not feasible through other funding sources. Indeed, as we are successful in using the e-government fund to integrate redundant systems, we can free up those same agency resources to be spent on more productive ways to achieve the missions that appropriated dollars are intended to serve. We have made great strides in implementing this fund in FY 2002.
We are pleased that S. 803 matches both the amounts proposed by the Presidents budget for FY 2003 ($45 million) and FY 2004 ($50 million). Currently, however, the appropriations bill passed by the Senate Treasury-Postal Appropriations Subcommittee also provides for $45 million in FY 2003, while the companion legislation in the House stands at just $5 million. Fully funding the Administrations request as authorized by S. 803 is critical to achieving the promise of e-government. We look forward to working with both the authorizing and appropriations committees to provide for full funding of the Presidents initiative in this area. Moreover, the goals and criteria for the fund set out in the legislation match those of the Presidents e-government fund. The fund will remain a powerful tool to overcome jurisdictional barriers to e-government, making agencies work together to provide information and services to the American people more effectively and efficiently.
E-Government Legislation -- S. 803
We worked with the Senate to revise the e-government bill so that it furthers the Presidents goals in this area. We look forward to working with the Committee on Government Reform, and this subcommittee in particular as well as with the Senate, on any refinements to the bill. This is just one of many important government management areas where we can be a partner with you, Mr. Chairman, and the other members of the subcommittee. I would like to take the opportunity to make some specific comments about the Senate-passed S. 803.
We believe that S. 803 as passed by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs is much improved over the version of the bill as originally introduced. There are many positive aspects of S. 803 to enable open access, efficient government operations, and effective decision-making -- a vision that the President shares.
Last year, OMB raised concerns with the original version of S. 803, including:
In discussions with the Senate, those initial concerns were addressed. Just a few of the improvements to the bill include:
We are especially supportive of the alignment of several of the activities and initiatives of the bill with the Administrations initiatives to further e-government, along with the alignment of the authorization of appropriations for those activities with the proposed amounts of the Presidents Budget. Some provisions that we supported in last years testimony have been refined and improved. These provisions include the sections authorizing our work on the governments web portal, FirstGov.gov; the development of a framework to provide for interoperability in using digital signatures for agency programs; authorization for electronic access to agency regulatory dockets; the promotion of open geospatial information standards; and access for persons with disabilities in implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
We also support S. 803s strong discussion on the importance of privacy for e-government in Section 208 of the bill. Privacy and protecting the privacy of the personal information of citizens is very important to the Administration.
The Senates e-government bill also reauthorizes the Government Information Security Reform Act (Security Act). The Security Act, and OMB information and IT security policy, have established a government-wide process where agencies identify their IT security performance gaps and develop and manage corrective action plans to close those gaps. This process has led to a better and more detailed understanding by the agencies, OMB, and the Congress of the Federal governments IT security weaknesses. Since enactment of the Security Act in November 2000 and completion of the first reports to Congress under that statute in 2001, OMB has discerned a substantial increase in senior management attention to the security of information and IT. We have accomplished major improvements -- for example, we have for the first time a baseline set of data on agency security performance and agencies have developed plans of action and milestones to close their security performance gaps. Additionally, OMB has taken steps to further integrate security into the budget process by directly tying these corrective action plans to the budget request for an IT investment.
The Security Act has received wide support throughout the executive and legislative branches and OMB agrees that reauthorization is a vital step toward maintaining the progress made over the last two years. Unfortunately, without action, the Security Act will expire this November. While our work on IT security would continue without reauthorization of this important legislation, the signal that security is a diminished priority in the eyes of Congress could cause the government to lose momentum in this critical area.
Mr. Chairman, your leadership in the development of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) clearly indicates that we agree on this critical priority. Like the e-government bill, FISMA would also extend indefinitely the salient provisions of the Government Information Security Reform Act of 2000. The Administration looks forward to working with the House to address final issues with this legislation as well as to secure enactment; however, we have a concern with one element of the version of FISMA that was attached in the HR 5005, the House Homeland Security Bill and look forward to your leadership in restoring the original language.
Finally, one area that we believe important to address in an e-government bill concerns the financing of cross-agency initiatives to improve service to the citizen and reduce operating costs. As of now, it is difficult for agencies to join together IT solutions because funding streams reflect agency silos. Our early successes in e-government demonstrates that consolidating and integrating overlapping IT investments can improve service to the citizen, while freeing up more dollars to go to the mission for which they were appropriated. In simple terms, the choice for the government is whether to buy one computer as opposed to two computers to perform the same function. Congressional authorization for greater consolidation of IT investments across jurisdictions would go a long way toward improving government efficiency and effectiveness. We look forward to working with the Congress on building such language into legislation.
Office of Electronic Government
The original S. 803 requirement for a Federal CIO has been transformed into the creation of an Office of Electronic Government in OMB, to be headed by an Administrator of Electronic Government reporting to OMBs Deputy Director for Management (DDM). Senate passage of S. 803 under this construct aligns with how OMB is currently managing its e-government initiatives. We created the office of the Associate Director for IT and E-Government to ensure that e-government and associated information technology policy objectives are fully integrated with the Presidents Management Agenda, and the Senate bill reflects this objective.
The Administration does not support requiring the head of this Office of Electronic Government to be confirmed by the Senate. In a period where Congress and the Administration are working together to reform the confirmation process by reducing the number of positions that are unnecessarily subject to Senate approval, we do not see how introducing another lengthy confirmation process would help this and future Administrations to find qualified candidates, and allow those individuals to begin carrying out their responsibilities quickly. Senate confirmation does not determine the importance of the position we value the position as one of five pillars of the Presidents Management Agenda; the priority for this position is set by the Presidents priority for management reform. The Congress will properly continue to confirm the Deputy Director for Management, who is accountable for all Federal management issues, including the integration of technology with financial management, human capital, and other key priorities.
The Administration is gratified with the attention Congress is giving to e-government. S. 803 includes many provisions that will promote the expansion of the Administrations e-government initiatives. We are eager to work with Congress, and this subcommittee in particular, on any further refinement to the bill so as to ensure enactment of constructive e-government legislation. It is critically important for Congress to endorse a cross-agency approach to e-government. Our intent is to improve the delivery of services and access to information for the American people. We can work together to achieve these important goals.