Access granted: DOD makes OpenGov site more accessible

Feedback prompts department to make a Web site more accessible and detailed.

The Defense Department has made it easier to access documents and information on its Web site that supports the Obama administration's open government plan. The department has also released an updated version of the plan.

According to InformationWeek, the move is in response to feedback that not enough detail was provided in the plan when it was released this April. To fix this, DOD added a “Link Library” to its open government Web site. The library is designed to more easily allow users to access information about the plan more easily. The plan's goal is to use technology to make federal activities more transparent.

The library is comprised of four sections: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reading rooms, regulations, financial data and technology and science. The FOIA reading rooms provide access to a range of DOD documents, publications and videos. The regulations section provides access to department-related notices, draft rules open for public comment and other materials available at Regulations.gov.

Financial data resources include information about the department’s budget and spending, including budget requests, congressional authorization and appropriation data and solicitations.

The technology and science link provides information from the Defense Technical Information Center. Visitors can access information from the technical report library, research and development summaries, a biomedical research database, and a search capability across multiple department and federal scientific and technical catalogs.

Changes to DOD's open government plan include a daily e-mail message delivery of previews of major briefings, speeches and events. Users can sign up for the service at “Today in DOD.” 

In July, the department will create an “Express Route” for submissions to the Data.gov information repository. Accessible material on the site will include PDF files, almanacs, fact books and statistical data, datasets released under FOIA, datasets of press release information, aggregated material that has been issued through press releases or other sources.

Additional datasets will be released on DOD's open government site this summer. This information will include aggregated casualty data, recruiting and retention data, and process data from the Business Transformation Agency that describes key activities, relationships and information exchanged for the department’s business operations.

DOD has also added a “Blue Button” capability to its TRICARE Online site. The new feature allows users to download their personal health data, such as medication and allergy profiles, demographic information and a personal health summery to a read-only file on their computers.

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