GAO urges unified e-gov plan

"Information Resources Management: Comprehensive Strategic Plan Needed to Address Mounting Challenges"

The Office of Management and Budget must develop a true, detailed, long-term information management strategic plan if agencies are to adapt successfully to their growing dependence on technology, according to the General Accounting Office.

The multiple documents OMB designated to serve as the governmentwide strategic plan each address portions of the information resources management requirement under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, but there is no single, unifying vision for agencies to follow, according to a Feb. 22 GAO report.

Without top-level attention from OMB and a plan to help measure performance and determine long-term resource needs, "the mounting challenges that the government faces in managing information may not be met," said the report, which was prepared for Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

However, OMB does not feel that a single strategic plan could provide any better oversight or guidance for agencies than the policies and documents already in place, OMB Director Mitchell Daniels Jr. wrote in a letter to GAO.

OMB has designated the CIO Council's strategic plan for fiscal 2001-2002, supplemented by policies issued by OMB over recent years, as the governmentwide strategic plan.

According to the GAO report, the council's plan does not provide sufficient details on goals, how those goals link to improvements in agencies' performance, what long-term resources are needed to reach the goals, and what progress has already been made.

The OMB policies and guidance also only address parts of the strategic needs, and because they are not integrated or made formal in any way, they do not clearly communicate an information management vision for the government, the report states.

This lack is particularly apparent in the post-Sept. 11 environment, because "as agencies have struggled with issues involving intelligence gathering, information sharing and dissemination, security, and information technology, it has become increasingly apparent that our government needs to better assess — from a strategic standpoint — all aspects of how it handles information," the report states.

The e-government strategy outlined in the President's Management Agenda and the additional e-government information in the fiscal 2003 budget request represent the first credible attempts at a governmentwide strategic plan, according to GAO. Those documents include the first discussion of how the government will use IT to improve agency performance, identify specific goals and strategies, and provide agency-by-agency status information.

GAO acknowledged that auditors completed the report prior Feb. 27, when the administration released its E-Government Strategy. That document outlines the strategy and milestones for the 24 cross-agency e-government initiatives to be implemented over the next two years.

GAO will continue to monitor the budget and all other documents pertaining to a governmentwide information management strategy, the report states.


  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

  • Cloud
    cloud migration

    DHS cloud push comes with complications

    A pressing data center closure schedule and an ensuing scramble to move applications means that some Homeland Security components might need more than one hop to get to the cloud.

Stay Connected


Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.