And the finalists are...

The Industry Advisory Council's Collaboration and Transformation Shared Interest Group has posted the programs selected as the finalists for the organization's sixth annual Excellence.Gov awards program.

The finalists are:

  • Bidirectional Health Information Exchange, Defense and Veterans Affairs departments.
  • Defense Cross-Credentialing Identification System, DOD.
  • Interagency Data Exchange Application, State Department.
  • Disaster Management e-government initiative, Homeland Security Department.
  • Enterprise Human Resources Initiative, Office of Personnel Management.
  • Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs and Premium Collection Project, Social Security Administration.
  • eRulemaking Initiative, Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Transportation Knowledge-Sharing Initiative, Federal Highway Administration.
  • Geospatial One Stop e-government initiative, Interior Department.
  • Homeland Security Information Network, DHS.
  • Joint Medical Asset Repository, Army.
  • Law Enforcement Information Exchange, Navy Department.
  • Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care, Army.
  • National Data Warehouse, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • National Sex Offender Public Registry, Justice Department.
  • National Virtual Pointer System, Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • Net-Centric Diplomacy, State Department.
  • Radio Frequency In-Transit Visibility, Army.
  • Regional Data Exchange System, FBI.
  • Standard Procurement System, DOD.

The five winners will be announced at a ceremony and luncheon Feb. 15 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Maxed out

According to the Constitution, one of Congress' primary duties is appropriating funds for federal agencies. But at times those agencies spend more money than lawmakers appropriated, and Congress wants to know why.

The Antideficiency Act requires agencies to submit reports to Congress and the president detailing any spending that exceeds their appropriated funds. The Government Accountability Office now keeps a database of those reports.

In fiscal 2005, Congress amended the act to require that agencies also send copies of their reports to GAO, and the Senate directed GAO to establish a site that the public could access.

A downloadable PDF file on GAO's Web site summarizes each agency's report and includes information such as the amount of money spent and any remedial action taken.

Final resting places

The Department of Veterans Affairs has nearly doubled the number of records in its public database designed to assist historians, researchers and relatives locate where veterans have been buried.

For some time, the VA has provided information on the gravesites of 3 million veterans buried in its national cemeteries dating back to the Civil War, but the agency recently added nearly 2 million records on veterans buried in private cemeteries.

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