Two agencies meet e-gov standards

Two of 26 federal agencies met the Office of Management and Budget's e-government standards of success, and 19 showed progress in meeting those milestones, according to the first report to Congress on the E-Government Act of 2002.

The report, released this week, outlines compliance with the act, an explanation of how the e-government fund was allotted and an agency-by-agency view of e-government activities. The report is based on agency reports submitted to OMB last December.

The National Science Foundation and the Office of Personnel Management were recognized for meeting all criteria for implementing the e-government initiative in the President's Management Agenda. Others showed improvement in developing plans.

The report outlined these criteria for e-gov success:

* Using a modernization blueprint to focus information technology investments on priority agency functions.

* Justifying investments with business cases that adequately address security, performance, and project and risk management.

* Managing major projects so they're on time and within budget.

* Securing at least 90 percent of systems and correcting security weaknesses.

* Avoiding redundant or agency-unique IT projects.

According to the report, $4.9 million of the $5 million appropriated for the e-government fund in fiscal 2002 went to nine initiatives, with the remaining money carrying over to fiscal 2003. The General Services Administration's E-Authentication initiatives received the largest chunk of the fiscal 2002 money, $2 million, to develop an automated risk assessment tool for governmentwide use, and certify and accredit the E-Authentication Gateway. Other initiatives received $100,000 to $800,000 each.

In fiscal 2003, OMB received $500,000 of the nearly $5 million appropriated for the first phase of an initiative to analyze IT investments across specific lines of business to identify opportunities for common solutions. OMB received an additional $600,000 for the second phase, continuing the development in four areas: financial management, human resources management, case management and federal health architecture. The Small Business Administration's Business Gateway initiative received $1.6 million in fiscal 2003, and other projects received funds ranging from $200,000 to $800,000.

To get money from the central fund, projects must, among other things, adhere to capital planning and investment control procedures, have a financing strategy identifying commitments from other agencies, and show that it does not duplicate existing projects.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) said that although the report shows some success, it also indicates that more work needs to be done since many agencies have just begun to comply with several of the provisions.

"The report represents an important milestone in the progress made as a result of the E-Government Act, and it will provide a useful framework for ongoing Congressional oversight," said Lieberman, the act's co-author.

He said he also plans to ask the General Accounting Office to review the government's compliance with the act.

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