E-gov strategy moves forward

April 2003 E-Government Strategy (PDF)

The Bush administration released a new E-Government Strategy April 17 that shifts the emphasis from consolidation of goals to consolidation of actual systems.

"We upgraded it," said Mark Forman. The release of the strategy comes as the E-Government Act of 2002 takes effect, officially making Forman administrator of the Office of E-Government and Information Technology.

Many of the e-government initiatives first outlined in the strategy released February 2002 are now at the point where an initial governmentwide system is being established.

The important lesson of the past year, however, is that joint systems are not enough, Forman said. The old stand-alone systems must also be turned off.

This updated strategy sets a timeline for the deactivation of several old systems. One example is that all of the agency-specific, recreation-related reservation systems are no longer needed as a central reservation system goes online at Recreation.gov, Forman said.

"The truth of it is, you cannot have siloed e-government, you can only have citizen-centered e-government," he said.

The strategy also includes a timeline for implementation of the E-Government Act. Some of the milestones include issuing guidance for privacy impact assessments and the posting of notices on agency Web sites by May 2003, and identifying up to five pilot projects for data integration across agencies by March 2004.

The act authorized $345 million over four years for interagency e-government projects. However, Congress has not followed through on the administration's requests for this central pot of money for consolidation.

In the fiscal 2004 budget, OMB is asking not only for $45 million for the e-gov fund, but also for official authority to give back money saved by consolidation at the agencies involved in the projects, Forman said.

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