Forman defends e-gov selection

OMB's E-Government Strategy

Bush administration officials refuted findings in a General Accounting Office report that the Office of Management and Budget did not have all the necessary data to make an informed selection for the 24 e-government initiatives.

A GAO report, released Dec. 19, criticized the Bush administration for failing to have clear business plans. The GAO report, released by Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, said the 24 e-government projects lacked critical data necessary to assess accountability.

OMB officials, however, said the administration streamlined the process but that they did assess such key details during the selection process.

"We used a commercial e-strategy best practice approach" in the selection process, said Mark Forman, associate director for information technology and e-government at OMB, in a written statement.

The process, which is documented in the Bush administration's fiscal 2003 budget and its e-government strategy, includes the use of a "rigorous multi-attribute scoring algorithm to pick initiatives that meet the strategic criteria," Forman said.

Furthermore, the 24 e-government projects are not new systems. Rather they are consolidations of projects where there were redundancies.

"They were the 24 initiatives — out of an original list of over 300 — that reflected the best opportunities to simplify convoluted government initiatives, reduce redundant paperwork burden and save money by consolidating redundant efforts within 18 to 24 months," he said.

Each project did have a detailed business case, but the cases were developed after the selection process, he said.

"The business cases were part of the fiscal 2003 budget process and have been updated as part of the fiscal 2004 process," he said.

Some of those documents were not given to GAO. It is OMB policy not to release internal budget documents that are "pre-decisional," because those documents have not been updated to reflect budget decisions.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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