Security, e-gov plans stymie some PMA scores

For the second time in a row, some agency scores on the e-government portion of the President’s Management Agenda dipped in the first quarter of the fiscal year because of deficiencies in their IT security and in meeting their e-government implementation plans.

The Office of Management and Budget today released the first scorecard of 2007 detailing two agencies—the Education and Transportation departments—dropping to yellow from green and the Social Security Administration dropping to red from yellow.

Each quarter, the administration gives agencies green, yellow or red scores for their efforts to meet the goals of the five agenda items—human capital, competitive sourcing, financial performance, e-government, and budget and performance integration.

Green means an agency has met all the standards for success, yellow means it has met some but not all and red means there are serious problems. OMB grades each agency on its overall status and on its progress toward implementing the agenda items.

In addition to the scorecard, OMB revamped its management Web site,, focusing on what it means to run effective programs and examples of some in government, said Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management, today during a press briefing on the PMA and the new Web site.

Johnson said the new site is divided into three areas: one that lists management principles, one that provides case studies and one that identifies obstacles the administration should work to eliminate.

Overall, agencies improved their standings on OMB’s report. Johnson said the average agency has 2.5 green scores, 1 red and 1.5 yellows. He said half the scores are green now, as compared to five years ago when 110 out of 130 were red. The Labor and State departments remain the only agencies with all five green scores.

“The average agency is yellow with a greenish hue,” Johnson said. “The average agency has more management capabilities then the best agency did five years ago.”

Johnson said the goal is not to get all agencies to green over the next two years, but for the government to work better. He said he believes at least six agency programs, such as the Defense Department’s security clearance back-up and its supply chain management system, and information sharing across government, should come off the Government Accountability Office’s high-risk list, which the audit agency released earlier this week.

Education, Transportation and SSA all saw their scores fall in e-government after turning in their year-end reports to OMB.

Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT, said agency reports on how they are meeting the Federal Information Security Management Act and how they are integrating e-government had an impact on their grades.

“Education, for instance, went down because looking at their overall security posture, there was some reviewing of the system and they relooking at their processes, So based on the criteria, it results in a downgrade—but it actually improves their effectiveness,” Evans said. “The purpose of the criteria is to improve the security of the agency. It is a minor blip of going down, but in actuality they will be in a better place because of that constant evaluation of getting there.”

Five agencies did improve under the e-government area. The departments of Agriculture and Defense, and the Office of Personnel Management moved to yellow from red, while the Smithsonian and the Justice Department moved to green from yellow.

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