Access America Initiatives
STATUS OF ORIGINAL NPR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY REENGINEERING RECOMMENDATIONS
The National Performance Review's (NPR) Reengineering Through Information Technology, September 1993 accompanying report contained 13 major recommendations. These recommendations, which are discussed in more detail in that accompanying report, consist of 47 specific action items. Of these action items, the Government Information Technology Services (GITS) Board reports that 62 percent are complete, and the other 38 percent are in progress. Following are highlights of information technology reinvention activities.
STRENGTHEN LEADERSHIP IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
IT01 PROVIDE CLEAR, STRONG LEADERSHIP TO INTEGRATE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INTO THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNMENT
Progress to Date
The Government Information Technology Services (GITS) Working Group was created on October 27, 1993 to implement the accompanying report recommendations. A governmentwide information technology strategic vision document was released September 1994. Executive Order 13011 was signed by President Clinton on July 16, 1996 that codified the accomplishments of the GITS Working Group and established the GITS Board to continue NPR information technology implementation and promote information technology innovation. The GITS Board has been meeting monthly since September 1996. Since its inception, GITS has been recognized as providing an environment where information resources across government can be shared, and has accelerated the development and implementation of an information technology infrastructure to make "electronic government" a reality.
IMPLEMENT ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT
IT02 IMPLEMENT NATIONWIDE, INTEGRATED ELECTRONIC BENEFIT TRANSFER
IT03 DEVELOP INTEGRATED ELECTRONIC ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION AND SERVICES
IT04 ESTABLISH A NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT/PUBLIC SAFETY NETWORK
IT05 PROVIDE INTERGOVERNMENTAL TAX FILING, REPORTING, AND PAYMENTS PROCESSING
IT06 ESTABLISH AN INTERNATIONAL TRADE DATA SYSTEM
IT07 CREATE A NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL DATA INDEX
IT08 PLAN, DEMONSTRATE, AND PROVIDE GOVERNMENTWIDE ELECTRONIC MAIL
Progress to Date
In May 1994, Vice President Gore approved the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Task Force's report From Paper to Electronics: Creating a Benefit Delivery System That Works Better & Costs Less -- An Implementation Plan for Nationwide EBT. The EBT Task Force report set the goal of national EBT operations by 1999. As a first step in the implementation of nationwide EBT, the EBT Task Force served as a catalyst to reinvent the way in which federal and state agencies work together in building EBT payment systems. In 1994, the Southern Alliance of States and the federal government jointly developed the requirements and core specifications of the prototype for national EBT operations. Subsequently, other multi-state alliances were formed in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, mid-West, Mountain Plains, and Western regions, comprising more than 40 states. To date, 43 states are either operating EBT systems or have made request for proposal (RFP)/contract awards with a service vendor. The remaining states are involved in planning for EBT implementation. This will convert $120 billion annually in paper-based benefit issuance -- checks, vouchers, food stamps -- to secure, streamlined electronic benefit delivery. In April 1996, the EBT Council approved the QUEST EBT Operating Rules, laying the foundation for a national, commercially compatible EBT program for all private sector participants.
The Customer Service Improvement Team (CSIT) was established by GITS in April 1994. The CSIT worked with federal government organizations to raise awareness about the advantages of using information technology to improve the provision of citizen services and to identify agency opportunities for making operational improvements by using information technology. The CSIT formed a team to identify a federal applications suite appropriate for kiosks. The U.S. Postal Service studied ways to develop and market-test an integrated electronic government service delivery kiosk system, and work is presently underway with the American Library Association to use member libraries as pilot locations for kiosks. Separately, several "one-stop shop" government prototypes have been implemented, e.g. the Web Interactive Network of Government Services (http://www.wings.gov), the U.S. Business Advisor (http://www.business.gov), and the White House home page (http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/Welcome.html). Additionally, the Federal Information Center (FIC) program was established to provide answers to customers' questions about the federal government. The FIC has since expanded its service to all 50 states via a single, toll-free number (1-800-688-9889). GITS has encouraged federal agencies to use FedWorld, an information service operated by the National Technical Information Service, as a distribution point for their information as a means to improve public access to information. FedWorld now disseminates information for all the Cabinet agencies and a host of other federal agencies. In addition to its normal services, FedWorld activated a Web server (http://www.fedworld.gov) in June 1994 that provides a government home page, with hypertext links to all known federal Web services and access to more than 400 other government databases.
In April 1994, the Secretary of Treasury and the Attorney General signed an agreement establishing the Federal Law Enforcement Wireless Users Group (FLEWUG), making it responsible for the development of a nationwide wireless telecommunications network for use by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. A Management Plan was developed and used to obtain Congressional support and funding for the program. Funding subsequently became available in FY 1996 and the FLEWUG opened the Public Safety Wireless Network Program Management Office (PSWN-PMO). FLEWUG co-chairs and members actively participate on the governmentwide Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee. The PSWN-PMO has also established a working relationship with the state of Iowa for the purpose of establishing a Public Safety Wireless test-bed, with other test-beds planned.
On June 9, 1995, President Bill Clinton endorsed the Simplified Tax and Wage Reporting System (STAWRS) in a ceremony at the Department of the Treasury. The Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL), and Social Security Administration (SSA), have joined as partners in this effort. Additional partnerships have been established with the states of Montana and Oregon. The Harmonized Wage Code (HWC) initiative was begun as a long-term plan that required major restructuring within the wage and unemployment insurance environment. The HWC initiative was discussed at a STAWRS Stakeholder Conference in September 1996. The Single Point Filing concept for both federal and state wage and tax information (IRS Forms W-2 and W-3, Transmittals of Income Tax Statements) has been developed. Starting in 1994, SSA began capturing certain data fields from scannable paper Forms W-2, and passing the data to the IRS, who added address information to the Form W-2 records. The records were then sorted and distributed to the Project's participating states. For Tax Year 1996, this involved approximately 49 million records to 36 participating states. The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Pilot Project for Form W-2 is being conducted to evaluate the technical feasibility and economic merits to both employers and government of using EDI for the electronic transmission of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, to the SSA. In July 1996, STAWRS conducted its first operational field test for single point electronic filing of Form 941 (Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return) in the EDI format.
GITS established a working group to identify the issues that must be resolved in order to provide improved database access for international trade. The working group identified the legal and statutory issues that may impede the exchange and sharing of information among agencies, the need to develop standard information for international trade, and an inventory of current automated systems in use or under development by federal trade agencies. A Board of Directors was appointed and the International Trade Data System project office was established in September 1995 by Presidential letter. The North American Trade Automation Prototype (NATAP) is a demonstration project of how the North American trade processes and systems of Mexico, the United States, and Canada could function more effectively through the use of common data elements, documents, and processes for commercial customs clearance. This system is currently being field tested in Otay Mesa, CA, with the NATAP scheduled for implementation in six U.S. sites altogether.
In response to the NPR information technology initiative that requires the federal government to "Create a National Environmental Data Index," GITS empowered a working group to identify the agencies with relevant data and to create a prototype of the National Environmental Data Index (NEDI). The prototype of the NEDI was demonstrated using the Web (http://www.nedi.gov) and established a distributed system which links users to agency databases, provides a high level view of the available data, and shows users what information exists.
To further a GITS initiative, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) established an E-Mail Task Force to study the issues associated with implementing governmentwide e-mail. The task force completed its final report on April 1, 1994, presenting nine recommendations for further implementation. GSA established the E-Mail Program Management Office in September 1994, to implement the task force recommendations. GITS provided oversight of the E-Mail Program Management Office through the GITS Electronic Mail Steering Subcommittee (GEMSS), which monitors the Program Management Office activities and recommends approval of the governmentwide e-mail projects to GITS. A two-year plan was issued in March 1995.
Establish Support Mechanisms for Electronic Government
IT09 IMPROVE GOVERNMENT'S INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE
IT10 DEVELOP SYSTEMS AND MECHANISMS TO ENSURE PRIVACY AND SAFETY
IT11 IMPROVE METHODS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACQUISITION
IT12 PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR INNOVATION
IT13 PROVIDE TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TO FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
Progress to Date
The Government Services Information Infrastructure (GSII) provides the fundamental information technology building blocks used to support government services. The GSII plan has been developed and is available on the Internet (http://www.er.doe.gov/production/octr/mics/gsiiplan.html). GITS coordinated the development of the GSII as a joint partnership between government, national laboratories, and universities in coordination with the information technology industry and the nation's broader research and development initiatives. A proposal for implementation of "glue" services or functions critical to infrastructure coordination, development, and operation was developed and distributed. GITS also established a Federal Data Center Consolidation Committee and issued a report in February 1995. OMB followed with a Bulletin directing implementation guidelines. The general data center consolidation completion target date is June 1998. Additionally, a consolidation and integration of federal government private networks empowerment letter was issued in August 1994. GITS finished compiling a list of agency private networks in September 1995. In a further effort to reengineer basic systems for improved delivery of government services, GITS and the NPR sponsored a series of intranet workshops that were held between June and August of 1996.
A GITS-sponsored interagency working group was created and produced uniform privacy protection practices and generally acceptable implementation methods for information systems. After conducting two public hearings, a final privacy protection practices and methods report was published in June 1995. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed digital signature and encryption capabilities. NIST distributed the Secure Hash (FIPS 180) and Digital Signature (FIPS 186) Standards, the Data Encryption Standard (FIPS 46), and the Key Escrow Standard (FIPS 185), which were approved by the Secretary of Commerce. Additionally, NIST drafted generally accepted principles and practices for information security. The final document was published as NIST Special Publication 800-14, "Generally Accepted Principles and Practices for Securing Information Technology Systems" in September 1996 and is available on the Internet at the Computer Security Resource Clearinghouse that was sponsored by GITS and contains alert databases, industry software patch information, technical journals, advisories, and general reference materials (http://csrc.nist.gov).
Consistent with the original NPR recommendation, OMB Circular A-130, Appendix III entitled "Security of Federal Automated Information" was published in final form on February 20, 1996. The new Appendix III addresses information security in strategic planning, Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act reporting, awareness training, contingency planning, and emergency response capabilities. The Director of the National Security Agency has evaluated classification and safeguard practices for the purposes of improving security within rapidly changing technological and threat environments. The National Communications System, working with the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, drafted proposed amendments to current telecommunications legislation designed to improve public switched network (PSN) security, sponsored numerous forums for the exchange of network security information, and published studies in the areas of network analysis and threats to the PSN. The Information Security Oversight Office established the National Industry Security Program Policy Advisory Committee to examine cost reduction and redundant requirements in the protection of classified information. In addition, the Deputy Secretary of Defense approved the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual in October 1994, that outlines procedures used to protect classified special access program information and activities.
GITS established a computer and network security research and development coordination team under the Federal Networking Council in June 1994. Referred to as the Collaborations in Internet Security (CIS), the CIS has established testbeds at several federal agencies that address public key infrastructures, Kerberos, advanced authentication, incident response, Fortezza, National Voluntary Laboratories, digital signatures, privacy, secure Web technologies, and secure messaging. The Federal Networking Council released the first volume of the Draft Internet Security Plan in the latter part of 1995. A workshop was held in May 1996, to coordinate and obtain information for the second volume of the Internet Security Plan. The plan is available on the Internet (http://www.fnc.gov).
The delegation of authority level for purchases by federal agencies was increased in June 1995. Interim rules were revised to further increase delegation thresholds with the passage of the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996. The heads of ten major agencies have signed pledges to expand use of commercial credit cards. The GSA Advantage! electronic ordering and payment system has been implemented and is accepting payment via IMPAC. Agency heads have directed the use of IMPAC for small purchases. The burdensome Maximum Order Limitations have been removed. Now agency orders under $2,500 can be placed with the vendor of choice. The Electronic Commerce Acquisition Program Management Office was established and reports of its activities were issued. The Federal Acquisition Computer Network (FACNet) became operational January 1995, with Central Contractor Registration system capability available the fall of 1995.
The FY 1996 budget guidance from the OMB addressed performance measures to identify agency information technology savings for reinvestment. A new section 15.2(a) (5) in the FY 1996 version of OMB Circular A-11 addresses information technology driven savings from reengineering. In May 1994, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy initiated a governmentwide pilot project concerning performance-based service contracting. GSA has signed a pledge to conduct performance-based service contracting for information technology. Work at OMB is ongoing with agencies to prepare and justify multi-year funding for information technology projects, with OMB Circular A-11 including supporting language. Major agency bureaus that have multi-year funding include the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Lastly, the Interagency Management Council for FTS2000 and GITS are co-sponsors of a pilot program to seed innovative multi-agency information technology projects. Ongoing funding for these projects is being provided from the current Information Technology fund. In FY 1995, there was one call for proposals in October 1994, with 13 projects selected for funding at a total of $5,015,000. In FY 1996, there were two calls for proposals, in October 1995 and March 1996, with 11 projects selected for funding at a total of $6,215,000.
A study including participant interviews was conducted to determine the training needs of non-technical senior political appointees and career senior executives. A paper covering the findings of the study has been published. An education workshop was held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology March 25-26, 1995. The Office of Personnel Management has published new Executive Core Qualifications that reflect information technology requirements. A draft Guide to SES Qualifications has been written containing information technology competencies. Resource requirements to establish an Information Resources Management Institute based on the concept of a virtual university have been identified. A guidance document for information technology training, IT Training -- Vital for Enhanced Productivity and Quality Services to the Public, was published in October 1994. Further, agencies have been advised to include information technology training components in all information technology contracts.
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