OMB nominee Orszag said he will use IT to improve performance

Peter Orszag, President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, told a Senate committee today that he faces dueling challenges to help steer the economy out of recession while reducing the mushrooming budget deficit.

He said the incoming administration has pledged to improve agencies' performance and strengthen the use of information technology to deliver services and achieve efficiencies in contracting and acquisition. OMB officials with responsibility for IT will work closely with Obama's choice for chief technology officer to make better use of technology, Orszag added.

He also said he would seek better integration of government performance and budgeting. “We can use the budget process when there are problems as leverage to fix them,” he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

As director of the Congressional Budget Office, Orszag frequently testified before Congress on program analyses and cost estimates.

The Obama administration plans to create a set of performance metrics to achieve results and a central repository of performance data that would be publicly available, Orszag said. Obama recently chose Nancy Killefer to lead the performance efforts in the newly created position of chief performance officer and as OMB’s deputy director for management.

“We will launch pilot programs with individual agencies to serve as demonstration projects through which we can test our approaches to improve program effectiveness and efficiency, share best practices, and further improve performance,” Orszag said.

Administration officials also plan to restore the prestige and capability of the federal workforce, including revisiting what work is considered inherently governmental, strengthening federal employee skills and increasing the number of contract officers, Orszag said.

Among plans to promote a more open government, Orszag said OMB would propose creating a Web site that would provide more timely information on contract awards. A committee of agency inspectors general would review problems identified by the site’s users, he added.

The Senate committee also considered the nomination of Robert Nabors, former staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, as OMB's deputy director.


About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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