Transparency, social-media policies stuck in limbo

DOD’s social-media policy and the Open Government Directive remain MIA

Two highly anticipated government reports could be published this month: the Defense Department's social-media policy and the White House’s open-government directive.

Government sources and media reports suggest the reports are likely to come this month. But both are weeks overdue.

In July, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn ordered a review to detail the threats and benefits associated with using social-networking tools. An aggressive deadline of Aug. 31 was set and missed.

DOD officials are close to completing the social-networking policy, and a final meeting is scheduled to take place this month for the team negotiating the strategy, said Defense Deputy Chief Information Officer Dave Wennergren.

President Barack Obama’s memo, issued on his first full day in office, laid out his administration’s goals for open government and requested that recommendations be drafted by May 21. Despite getting input from the public and federal government employees, White House officials still have not issued the directive.

Even though the two forthcoming documents are receiving a lot of attention, the delays are not slowing open-government and social-media efforts, several experts say.

For example, — a Web site designed to provide machine-readable data to the public — launched in May. The open-government directive will likely encourage agencies to pursue projects such as, said Molly O’Neill, former assistant administrator and CIO of the Office of Environmental Information at the Environmental Protection Agency and now a vice president at CGI Federal.

Drafting the social-media policy and open-government directive isn't easy because of the reams of laws and regulations federal agencies must follow, O’Neill said.

For example, agencies must comply with the Administrative Procedures Act — enacted in 1946 — when establishing new regulations.

“How do those kinds of things that were written years ago apply today?” O’Neill asked. “What do they mean now that we’re talking about being much more open and using technology to do that? I’m not saying these are barriers, but they are things that need to be addressed.”

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group