Top federal executives must take charge of the effort to put
government services online if any substantive progress is to be made,
according to a recent memo distributed to the President's Management
The memo, prepared by Commerce Deputy Secretary Robert L. Mallett,
sets forth an ambitious plan for creating an online government. Mallett
wants the PMC, a body of top management officials at major agencies, to
endorse the plan.
In the memo, Mallett said he has made the expansion of electronic
delivery of government programs and services his personal mission.
"I have become increasingly convinced that the PMC must lead an
aggressive program to accelerate the conversion to an electronic
government," he wrote.
Despite several initiatives to put government services online, there
is still no unified command to lead the way, Mallett wrote. The PMC is
the perfect organization to take the reins of the e-government project
because "we, as the primary operational managers of [the] agencies,
must take a leadership role by setting forth a program that challenges
our people to work together to do more."
In December 1999, the Clinton administration unveiled
a plan to create a mega-Web site and other online initiatives aimed
at improving electronic delivery of government services.
According to Mallett, more needs to be done. "There are many
efforts ongoing to encourage this change, but they are not
well-connected, and do not create a cohesive, coordinated effort to
induce substantive change," he wrote.
Mallett also pointed out that, to date, most government Web sites
have served only to increase the cost of providing services because they
don't take advantage of the cost savings that the Web can provide if it
is used as a delivery channel.
To truly take advantage of Web-based technologies, government
agencies must pull together to coordinate service delivery, Mallett
said. He proposed that the PMC create a plan for such a governmentwide
effort by July 1, 2000.
In addition to an overarching strategy, Mallett suggested several
specific goals, starting with pilot projects that create one-stop
shopping for three major government service areas: exports, grants and
The government's one-source Web site should be more than a page of
links, Mallett said. Each agency should be linked to the central
government Web site so that transactions are integrated. For example, a
grant request on the central Web site should automatically be entered
into the grants system of the appropriate agency, Mallett said.
The memo includes many of the same initiatives outlined in the
December Clinton administration plan, such as creating a Web site for
all government forms. But Mallett places the burden on the PMC to make
By June 2000, all PMC members should have a communications plan for
promoting the e-government program, he said.
"If the PMC is to add value to this conversion, then my view is
that we get on with it, knowing full well that it will take more time
than necessary, more money than Congress may want to appropriate, and
more patience from the public than we have any right to expect," he