Labor launches E-Gov plan

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao yesterday unveiled the department’s strategic plan for electronic government, as a move toward creating a “digital department,” she said.

The plan links with the administration’s management agenda and chiefly includes existing electronic government initiatives or IT management steps required by law, such as the Government Information Security Reform Act and the Clinger-Cohen Act.

However, Labor has repackaged its electronic government initiatives under four headings:

  • Customer relationship management

  • Organizational capability

  • Enterprise architecture

  • Security and privacy.

  • Labor’s strategy cited the activities of existing projects such as the and Web sites as examples of the customer-oriented systems it seeks to achieve via the plan.

    The strategic plan recognizes that Labor’s ability to create a digital department ultimately depends on congressional funding. “Therefore, the department will continue to work closely with [the Office of Management and Budget] and Congress to ensure support for the e-government framework,” according to the document.

    Under the plan, Labor will implement a public-key infrastructure across the department to replace existing methods of encryption and authentication. The PKI implementation will require smart cards as the storage medium for digital certificates. The plan does not describe a schedule for implementing PKI at Labor.

    The plan also states that the department now relies on three e-mail systems: Novell Groupwise, Unix Sendmail and Microsoft Exchange. Conflicts among the systems lead to delays of up to four hours in message sending, as well as difficulty in sending attachments. The plan calls for an integrated e-mail system without specifying a schedule for its implementation.

    “Our plan provides the blueprint for transforming the Labor Department into a digital department,” Chao said in a statement. “We are leading the way into the 21st century by offering American citizens an easy way to interact with the federal government.”

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