OMB begins e-gov act implementation with release of new E-Strategy report

Mark Forman today officially became the administrator for the Office of E-Government and IT within the Office of Management and Budget.

While his job description hardly changes, Forman's new title and the creation of the office marks the beginning of the administration's implementation of the E-Government Act of 2002. President Bush signed the bill into law last December.

Forman also announced the release of the second E-Government Strategy, which updates the progress of the 25 Quicksilver initiatives and agency improvements in cybersecurity. It builds upon the IT information OMB submitted in with its fiscal 2004 budget request.

"When my job was created, the listing of responsibilities was crafted from a [General Accounting Office] report on the best practices of a CIO and most of those still are true," Forman said today in a conference call with reporters. "There are some additional responsibilities and accountabilities that have to do to with outreach that is unique to government, but mostly my position is the same."

The law requires Forman to engage in more state and local outreach, especially with the library community, he said. The law requires Forman's office to work with state, local, and tribal governments, as well as the general public and the private and nonprofit sectors, to find ways to improve government performance in collaborating on the use of information technology.

"For us, the creation of the office is the highlight to the President's Management Agenda, especially the expanding e-government initiative," Forman said. "It is important for the citizen that there is some organization focus on IT spending and on productivity to make sure the government is responsive to the citizenry. The E-Government Act not only locks this into statute, but makes sure this initiative will last into the next administration and beyond."

The strategy, which OMB posted at http://www.egov.gov, offers specific dates and measures for each of the 25 Quicksilver initiatives. For example, by Oct. 31, www.recreation.gov, which provides information on government-owned recreational sites, will have a new online, cross-government reservation system. In addition, the National Park Service's agency-specific reservation system will be deactivated. By July, agencies with legacy systems that allow citizens to participate in the federal rulemaking process will begin migrating those systems to the cross-agency initiative www.regulations.gov.

"Last year when we put together the strategy, we reconciled that we would go to ? joint [IT] solution[s], but now know that is not enough. We now know we have to turn off agency unique solutions and migrate to the joint solution," Forman said.

The report lays out OMB's goals for IT and e-government projects:

*Spending is focused on high priority modernization projects.

*Most IT projects are within 10 percent of their cost, schedule and performance objectives.

*IT systems are certified, accredited or otherwise authorized as being secure.

*E-government projects are operational and producing benefits to the citizen such as improved response time or burden reduction, and benefiting the agency, such as reduced cost and improved service.

*Governmentwide enterprise software licenses are negotiated.

*Redundant IT spending is reduced along six lines of business: criminal investigations, data and statistics, financial management, human resources, monetary benefits, and public health monitoring.

The strategy also outlines the tasks required of Forman's office in the E-Government Act. For example, an interagency commission on government information must be established by May, and standards for agency Web sites must be developed by April 2005.

Post Newsweek Tech Media Staff Writer Gail Repsher Emery contributed to this story.

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