Young touts e-gov successes

Every cabinet level agency finally is using the electronic federal docket system to publish proposed and final rules as of earlier this month.

The Veterans Affairs Department recently implemented the largest end-to-end e-travel system in government.

These are two highlights of the federal e-government effort since 2001, said Tim Young, the Office of Management and Budget’s deputy administrator for e-government and information technology.

Young also said these two are examples of how much the government has changed and where it is heading.

“We have arrived as a community,” Young said Jan. 17 at a lunch sponsored by AFFIRM in Washington. “The simple answer is maturity of technology and the maturity of policy such as enterprise architecture, business case justification and how we manage IT.”

Young repeated a standard OMB mantra of the past few years: The government has moved toward a single, enterprise picture instead of an agency-centric view.

But as the Bush administration enters its final year, Young said, it is good to take stock on agency and governmentwide progress.

“What we have accomplished so far is the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “We see e-government and cross-agency initiatives as instances of good government with the focus on services and not technology.”

Young said the Health and Human Services Department was the final agency to join the E-Rulemaking e-docket system in January.

“It took three years to make this happen and caused some angst among agencies because they had to shut down their own systems,” Young said.

He would not say how many systems have been shut down or how much would be saved because these are numbers coming out in the President’s fiscal 2009 budget request in February.

In 2004, the project lead, the Environmental Protection Agency, estimated that the government would save about $60 million by having a centralized e-docket system.

VA's E-Travel implementation is expected to trim the time to process employee travel vouchers and reduce costs. The Labor Department found that it reduced the amount of time to process travel vouchers from seven to three days and cut the cost to $20 per voucher, Young said.

He added that 15 of 24 agencies have implemented one of the E-Travel providers' systems or are in the process of implementtion, and the other nine should be on their way by 2009.

Young said these and other successes paved the path for new programs, such as the disaster assistance improvement plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is working with the Labor Department’s GovBenefits team to design a one-stop portal for citizens affected by disasters to apply online for assistance.

The site is scheduled to launch by Dec. 31.

Young said he didn’t know of any new initiatives in the works for 2008, but based on the progress of a number of existing initiatives, he expects agencies will find opportunities.

“My focus is on execution and realizing results,” he said. “I also want to institutionalize my office so when the next administration comes, they have a structure to pick what they want to do with e-government.”


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