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First Gov  

SEPTEMBER 18, 2002

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee to discuss the Administration's views on e-government and to comment on legislation pending before the Committee. We welcome your interest and the continued opportunity to work with you to strengthen the initiative.

Electronic Government, also known as e-government, is one of the key elements in the President's Management Agenda. The President’s e-government initiative seeks to harness the potential of technology to provide high quality services at reduced cost to the American people. This Administration continues to believe that e-government must be integrated with the Administration’s other management initiatives: budget and performance integration, strategic management of human capital, competitive sourcing, and improved financial performance. The potential for substantial improvement is greater if all these initiatives are pursued concurrently.

E-government is increasingly becoming the principal means by which citizens engage with their government. An April 2000 report from the Pew Foundation found that 68 million Americans have used government web sites – up from 40 million in March 2000. The Federal Register reports that it received 65 million requests to download documents from its website in 2001. And based on a poll commissioned by the Council for Excellence in Government, citizens overwhelmingly believe that e-government leads to better government. The President sees e-government as part of a larger vision for reforming government.

E-government and the President’s Management Agenda

The President's vision for reforming government emphasizes that "government needs to reform its operations—how it goes about its business and how it treats the people it serves.” The vision is guided by three principles:

  • Citizen-centered, not bureaucracy-centered;

  • Results-oriented; and

  • Market-based, actively promoting innovation.

For the e-government initiative, the strategic question that we face is how to maximize results from the more than $50 billion we invest annually in IT.

E-Government will enable agencies to work together to improve services significantly and reduce operating costs. The e-government initiative is making government more responsive to citizens. Electronic commerce and Internet technology have made daily tasks easier and quicker; the U.S. government is now working to do the same for U.S. citizens.

The e-government initiative encourages and supports agencies to implement and use modern, secure technologies to become more productive, while responding faster and better to the needs of American citizens. The e-government initiative promotes the use of e-business tools by agencies in lessening paperwork burdens. This initiative will provide tools for all levels of government – local, state, and federal – to work together. Under the e-government initiative, U.S. government websites are already providing an easier, smarter, faster way for citizens to get the services and information they want. As e-government deploys effectively, conducting business with the government becomes easier, more private, and secure.

Our goal is that government services and information not be more than three “clicks” away when using the Internet. Achieving this vision requires agencies to integrate and simplify their operations.

Earlier this year, OMB released an e-government strategy. This strategy and expected updates to the strategy will result in significant improvements in the federal government, including:

  • Simplifying delivery of services to citizens;

  • Eliminating layers of government management;

  • Making it possible for citizens, businesses, other levels of government and federal employees to find information and get services easily from the Federal government;

  • Simplifying agencies' business processes and reducing costs through integrating and eliminating redundant systems;

  • Enabling achievement of the other elements of the President’s Management Agenda; and

  • Streamlining government operations to guarantee rapid response to citizen needs.

The e-government strategy focuses on four citizen-centered groups, each providing opportunities to transform delivery of services.

  • Individuals: We are focused on building easy to find one-stop-shops for citizens – creating single points of easy access to high-quality government services. Citizens should be able to find what they need quickly and easily and access information in minutes or seconds, instead of days or hours. For example, our portal is expanding to provide potential beneficiaries with instant access to information for all government benefit programs and services through a single web site.

  • Businesses: The Federal government must use the Internet to reduce the burden it places on businesses. The Administration cannot continue to make businesses report the same data to multiple agencies because of the government’s failure to reuse the data appropriately, and failing to take advantage of commercial electronic transaction protocols. The deployment of these technologies will help streamline the myriad of reporting requirements as well as facilitating a more efficient means for business to do business with the government. For example, the goal of the Business Compliance One Stop project is to reduce the burden of business owners by making it easy to find, understand, and comply with governmental laws and regulations.

  • Intergovernmental: The Federal government must make it easier for states and localities to meet reporting requirements, while promoting performance measurement, especially for grants. State and local governments will see significant administrative savings and will be able to improve program delivery because the data necessary to measure performance will be more accurate and timely. Moreover, improving the way that information is shared among levels of government will improve the nation’s ability to provide for homeland security. Many of the intergovernmental initiatives are designed to improve homeland security as identified in the President’s Budget and in the National Strategy released in July. For example, one initiative is a portal that will allow us to use the Internet to improve the delivery process for disaster assistance information to serve the public and the emergency response community.

  • Internal Efficiency and Effectiveness: The Federal government must use modern technology to rethink internal processes to reduce costs for federal government agency administration. By using industry best practices in areas such as supply-chain management, financial management, and knowledge management agencies will be able to improve effectiveness and efficiency, eliminating delays in processing, and improving employee satisfaction and retention. A clear model for this is our E-Training initiative,, which is consolidating numerous online federal training capabilities into a premier E-training portal, providing enhanced access to high quality training and competency development for federal employees.

  • This e-government vision was created to address the six chronic internal problems that have built up in the government over time. We are making headway but these bad habits are difficult to break. These chronic problems are:

  • Paving Cowpaths – Agencies have automated existing outdated processes, instead of fixing underlying management problems or simplifying agency procedures to take advantage of new e-business and e-government capabilities.

  • Redundant Buying – Agencies have made unnecessarily duplicative information technology investments.

  • Inadequate Program Management – Many major IT projects have not met cost, schedule, and performance goals.

  • Poor Modernization Blueprints – Few agencies have had plans demonstrating and documenting the linkage between IT capabilities and the business needs of the agency.

  • Islands of Automation – Agencies have built individual capabilities that are not interoperable with one another. Few IT investments significantly improve mission performance.

  • Poor IT Security – Major gaps have existed in agency and government-wide information and IT-related security.

Implementing the Strategy

OMB's Associate Director for Information Technology and E-Government has led work on this strategy, focusing on how information technology is managed at an enterprise level within and across agencies, and ultimately serving citizens in a way that is linked to agency missions and performance goals. This resulted in the selection of 24 interagency e-government initiatives in the President’s Budget.

The e-government projects were selected on the basis of the value they would bring to citizens, while generating cost savings or improving effectiveness of government. The 24 projects achieve these results by simplifying and unifying agency work processes and information flows, providing one-stop access to a variety of services to citizens and enabling information to be collected online once and reused, rather than being collected numerous times. Agencies have since identified additional opportunities for using e-government to work across boundaries to improve performance and reduce costs.

Significant progress has been made on the projects in the last six months, including the launch of several government portals and initiative websites. Examples of these websites and the other Administration e-government projects include:

  • provides access to the information and services of 110 government programs from 11 Federal agencies that represent more than $1 trillion in annual benefits.

  • The Government Online Learning Center, is the first milestone of E-Training and has provided over a million training courses and e-books to federal employees since its launch in July.

  • provides citizens a one-stop online portal to 1900 federal parks and other recreation facilities managed by eight Bureaus in four departments.

  • After the E-Grants website deploys in October, there will be a simple one-stop online place for state and local governments, researchers, faith and community based organizations, citizens and businesses to easily look across 500 grant programs to see what grant may meet their needs. Then the section on grant guides at your local bookstore will no longer be larger than the section on college guides.

  • The improved website, selected by Yahoo as one of the 50 “most incredibly useful websites,” now provides government services within three “clicks” of your mouse, as well as easy navigation and better search capabilities.

  • EZ Tax Filing recently announced a unique private-public partnership to provide citizens easier, secure, and free opportunities to prepare and file their taxes via the Internet.

  • creates the largest clearinghouse ever assembled to help organizations find volunteers and people find volunteer opportunities through more than 50,000 organizations in their hometown, across the country, or across the world.

  • Later this fall, a comprehensive Federal website to provide information about government services and resources for the nation’s 54 million people with disabilities will be released.

  • E-Clearance has deployed an integrated database that will enable significant reductions in the security clearance backlog.

  • Recruitment One Stop expanded the existing capabilities of the USAJOBS.GOV web site to provide a one-stop, streamline federal employment application process, improve service delivery to job applicants, and enhance the government's position as a competitor for top talent. Indeed, the new website hosted the Virtual IT Job Fair, which was initiated in response to the Chairman’s request at a hearing of this subcommittee late last year.

  • Project SAFECOM has established a Program Structure with significant State and local representation to improve wireless communications interoperability among first responders at all levels of government.

  • And just today, under the e-Authentication program, we announced a new capability that will facilitate using one digital signature across multiple government activities. Now, a citizen or business can engage in secure transactions without having to buy a new set of credentials for each agency.

We have attached a table of the 24 projects and their managing partner agencies for the Committee’s information.

Barriers to Implementing the Strategy

In order to achieve results from the 24 projects, and to reach the promise of e-government more generally, we have to overcome a number of key barriers that may stand in the way of successful implementation. Recurring barriers include agency culture, lack of a federal architecture, trust, resources, and stakeholder resistance. Several actions we are taking are helping us overcome these barriers, and e-government legislation can increase our chances for success.

Federal Enterprise Architecture

One of the most significant findings to emerge from the e-government initiative came from a review of the federal government’s enterprise architecture. An enterprise architecture (EA) describes how an organization performs its work using people, business processes, data, and technology. EAs are modernization blueprints to reform agency operations by aligning business, information, and technology systems to achieve performance objectives.

OMB is leading the development of a Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) with the support of the CIO Council. The purpose of this effort is to identify opportunities to simplify processes and unify work across the agencies and within the many lines of business of the Federal Government. The foundation of the FEA is the Business Reference Model (BRM), which describes the government's lines of business and its services to the citizen independent of the agencies and offices involved. This business-based foundation provides a common framework for improvement in budget allocation, horizontal and vertical information sharing, performance measurement, budget and performance integration, cross-agency collaboration, and e-government, as well as separate component architectures. The lines of business and sub-functions that comprise the BRM represent a departure from previous models of the federal government that use antiquated, stove-piped, agency-oriented frameworks. The BRM is the first layer of the Federal Enterprise Architecture and it is the main viewpoint for our analysis of data, applications and technology. The outcome of this effort will be a more citizen-centered, customer-focused government that maximizes technology investments to better achieve mission outcomes.

Overcoming Funding and Jurisdictional Barriers

Agency investment in information technology is necessary to achieve the e-government vision. The President's Budget is clear about our plans to use capital planning to improve performance, achieve outcomes from investments that match agency strategic priorities, and provide real benefits to the public. As major corporations have adapted to the digital economy, business cases, enterprise architectures, and IT capital planning have become recognized as highly effective practices. This Committee has strongly supported effective IT management practices, and OMB pledges the Administration’s full support to employing these practices throughout the government.

Many have expressed specific concerns about the funding required to meet the goals and changes of e-government. As OMB’s previous testimony before the Senate on S. 803 noted, we have the room to find money to start e-government projects if we simply stop funding what is not working. The FY 2002 Federal IT Budget portfolio totals approximately $50 billion; in FY 2003, we estimate that almost $52.6 billion will be spent on IT. The FY 2004 Budget process will include a framework for discontinuing IT investments that are no longer relevant, duplicate other systems or redundant business processes, are behind schedule, over budget or not delivering results. Our process includes a review of all IT investments against the BRM.

As mentioned above, in FY 2003, we identified opportunities for cross-agency projects and have worked to leverage investments from a number of partnering agencies for specific projects. For FY 2004, OMB will recommend investments in the President’s ongoing E-Government initiatives, as well as new e-government investments identified through design of the Federal business architecture. We will use an integrated budget process that compliments each agency’s investment portfolio. OMB will use agency budget submissions to identify cross-agency investments. OMB will give priority to agencies that have worked collectively to present and support activities in an integrated fashion. Agency activities should be aligned with those of other agencies where such cooperation can better serve citizens, businesses, governments, and internal Federal operations. The FY 2004 Budget will appropriately reflect such interagency collaboration, and agencies will be expected to demonstrate these efforts in their own Budget submissions.

Separate agency appropriations for e-government make it difficult to budget for, fund, and manage cross-agency projects. To help overcome this barrier, the President included in his FY 2003 Budget, a proposal for a $100 million “e-government fund” for innovative interagency e-government projects. The fund supports multi-agency e-government projects that are currently too expensive for any one agency budget to bear; such cross-agency e-government projects would have to be considered by multiple authorizing and appropriations committees.

The fund the President proposes leverages cross-agency work in e government that serves citizens and businesses, and could drastically improve citizens' ability to access federal services and federal information online. The fund provides for collaborative e government activities, supporting missions and goals that affect multiple agencies without introducing interagency funding conflicts, and consolidating redundant information technology investments that crossed agency and committee jurisdictions and represented a poor use of taxpayer dollars. The $5 million appropriated in FY 2002 was invested in tools to integrate multiple agency investments, such as GovBenefits, that were new and not redundant with other existing agency expenditures.

Our intent for FY 2003 is to fund similar integrations and achieve consolidation of redundant IT investments, under a fund that leverages other investments in a way that is not feasible through other funding sources. Indeed, as we are successful in using the e-government fund to integrate redundant systems, we can free up those same agency resources to be spent on more productive ways to achieve the missions that appropriated dollars are intended to serve. We have made great strides in implementing this fund in FY 2002.

We are pleased that S. 803 matches both the amounts proposed by the President’s budget for FY 2003 ($45 million) and FY 2004 ($50 million). Currently, however, the appropriations bill passed by the Senate Treasury-Postal Appropriations Subcommittee also provides for $45 million in FY 2003, while the companion legislation in the House stands at just $5 million. Fully funding the Administration’s request as authorized by S. 803 is critical to achieving the promise of e-government. We look forward to working with both the authorizing and appropriations committees to provide for full funding of the President’s initiative in this area. Moreover, the goals and criteria for the fund set out in the legislation match those of the President’s e-government fund. The fund will remain a powerful tool to overcome jurisdictional barriers to e-government, making agencies work together to provide information and services to the American people more effectively and efficiently.

E-Government Legislation -- S. 803

We worked with the Senate to revise the e-government bill so that it furthers the President’s goals in this area. We look forward to working with the Committee on Government Reform, and this subcommittee in particular as well as with the Senate, on any refinements to the bill. This is just one of many important government management areas where we can be a partner with you, Mr. Chairman, and the other members of the subcommittee. I would like to take the opportunity to make some specific comments about the Senate-passed S. 803.

We believe that S. 803 as passed by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs is much improved over the version of the bill as originally introduced. There are many positive aspects of S. 803 to enable open access, efficient government operations, and effective decision-making -- a vision that the President shares.

Last year, OMB raised concerns with the original version of S. 803, including:

  • Lack of performance standards linking e-government to improvements in agency efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Statutory creation of a Federal CIO, parallel to the DDM.

  • The proliferation of forums created and led by OMB.

  • Many new Federal agency reporting requirements.

In discussions with the Senate, those initial concerns were addressed. Just a few of the improvements to the bill include:

  • Sections have been refined and consolidated and performance goals and measures have been integrated into the activities of each section, tying into an overall performance goal section that has been added to Title II. This will help us ensure that e-government activities are not ends to themselves but means to improve agency delivery of information and services.

  • The bill and its supporting report language include a definition for “enterprise architecture (EA).” This definition is consistent with industry best practices regarding EAs.

  • The sections of the original bill that dealt with government information and dissemination have been consolidated into one section. It is critical to have a comprehensive and integrated approach to this important government function. This bill also makes clear that any disclosure of information, pursuant to this legislation, would be consistent with the protection of information used or held in a national security system.

We are especially supportive of the alignment of several of the activities and initiatives of the bill with the Administration’s initiatives to further e-government, along with the alignment of the authorization of appropriations for those activities with the proposed amounts of the President’s Budget. Some provisions that we supported in last year’s testimony have been refined and improved. These provisions include the sections authorizing our work on the government’s web portal,; the development of a framework to provide for interoperability in using digital signatures for agency programs; authorization for electronic access to agency regulatory dockets; the promotion of open geospatial information standards; and access for persons with disabilities in implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

We also support S. 803’s strong discussion on the importance of privacy for e-government in Section 208 of the bill. Privacy and protecting the privacy of the personal information of citizens is very important to the Administration.

The Senate’s e-government bill also reauthorizes the Government Information Security Reform Act (Security Act). The Security Act, and OMB information and IT security policy, have established a government-wide process where agencies identify their IT security performance gaps and develop and manage corrective action plans to close those gaps. This process has led to a better and more detailed understanding by the agencies, OMB, and the Congress of the Federal government’s IT security weaknesses. Since enactment of the Security Act in November 2000 and completion of the first reports to Congress under that statute in 2001, OMB has discerned a substantial increase in senior management attention to the security of information and IT. We have accomplished major improvements -- for example, we have for the first time a baseline set of data on agency security performance and agencies have developed plans of action and milestones to close their security performance gaps. Additionally, OMB has taken steps to further integrate security into the budget process by directly tying these corrective action plans to the budget request for an IT investment.

The Security Act has received wide support throughout the executive and legislative branches and OMB agrees that reauthorization is a vital step toward maintaining the progress made over the last two years. Unfortunately, without action, the Security Act will expire this November. While our work on IT security would continue without reauthorization of this important legislation, the signal that security is a diminished priority in the eyes of Congress could cause the government to lose momentum in this critical area.

Mr. Chairman, your leadership in the development of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) clearly indicates that we agree on this critical priority. Like the e-government bill, FISMA would also extend indefinitely the salient provisions of the Government Information Security Reform Act of 2000. The Administration looks forward to working with the House to address final issues with this legislation as well as to secure enactment; however, we have a concern with one element of the version of FISMA that was attached in the HR 5005, the House Homeland Security Bill and look forward to your leadership in restoring the original language.

Finally, one area that we believe important to address in an e-government bill concerns the financing of cross-agency initiatives to improve service to the citizen and reduce operating costs. As of now, it is difficult for agencies to join together IT solutions because funding streams reflect agency silos. Our early successes in e-government demonstrates that consolidating and integrating overlapping IT investments can improve service to the citizen, while freeing up more dollars to go to the mission for which they were appropriated. In simple terms, the choice for the government is whether to buy one computer as opposed to two computers to perform the same function. Congressional authorization for greater consolidation of IT investments across jurisdictions would go a long way toward improving government efficiency and effectiveness. We look forward to working with the Congress on building such language into legislation.

Office of Electronic Government

The original S. 803 requirement for a Federal CIO has been transformed into the creation of an Office of Electronic Government in OMB, to be headed by an Administrator of Electronic Government reporting to OMB’s Deputy Director for Management (DDM). Senate passage of S. 803 under this construct aligns with how OMB is currently managing its e-government initiatives. We created the office of the Associate Director for IT and E-Government to ensure that e-government and associated information technology policy objectives are fully integrated with the President’s Management Agenda, and the Senate bill reflects this objective.

The Administration does not support requiring the head of this Office of Electronic Government to be confirmed by the Senate. In a period where Congress and the Administration are working together to reform the confirmation process by reducing the number of positions that are unnecessarily subject to Senate approval, we do not see how introducing another lengthy confirmation process would help this and future Administrations to find qualified candidates, and allow those individuals to begin carrying out their responsibilities quickly. Senate confirmation does not determine the importance of the position – we value the position as one of five pillars of the President’s Management Agenda; the priority for this position is set by the President’s priority for management reform. The Congress will properly continue to confirm the Deputy Director for Management, who is accountable for all Federal management issues, including the integration of technology with financial management, human capital, and other key priorities.


The Administration is gratified with the attention Congress is giving to e-government. S. 803 includes many provisions that will promote the expansion of the Administration’s e-government initiatives. We are eager to work with Congress, and this subcommittee in particular, on any further refinement to the bill so as to ensure enactment of constructive e-government legislation. It is critically important for Congress to endorse a cross-agency approach to e-government. Our intent is to improve the delivery of services and access to information for the American people. We can work together to achieve these important goals.