Federal IT Projects Named

The federal government's de facto CIO has outlined 23 governmental information technology projects his office intends to pay for in coming years.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The federal governments de facto CIO has outlined 23 governmental information technology projects his office intends to pay for in coming years.

The list includes improved electronic tax filings, e-training, one-stop geospatial information, enterprise human resources integration and international trade process streamlining.

The framework for eGov, developed by the E-Government Task Force established in the summer by Office of Management and Budget director Mitchell Daniels, will create intergovernmental teams to develop and launch the initiatives. Mark Forman, executive director of the task force and OMBs de facto federal CIO said that more than 70 people from 30 different agencies worked to piece together the list of projects.

"We now have an action plan and roadmap to e-government," Forman said in a statement.

The plan is an effort by the government to find ways to launch e-government initiatives that cut across government agencies, which have been notoriously difficult to graduate from the idea to reality. Federal agencies receive their budgets through congressionally mandated "stovepipes" with little or no flexibility for cooperation between agencies, yet much of the promise of e-government revolves around joint-government Web projects.

President George W. Bush installed Forman at OMB to oversee federal IT policy, and he set aside $20 million this year to be used for innovative cross-governmental projects. Congress has not yet signed off on that budget. There has been talk in Congress of paring that number down to $5 million, but in a breakfast speech last week Forman said he was confident the full amount would receive a congressional endorsement.

The idea of having an independent reservoir of money to be used on government Web projects has received wide support in the technology industry and in Congress. Senator Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs committee, has submitted a bill calling for a formal federal CIO separate from the OMB, with a larger sum of money to sprinkle around different agencies.

The process behind the current list started in August. More than 175 e-mail responses were received from and 80 interviews were conducted with senior federal and state officials to isolate potentially worthwhile projects. The task force identified 269 potential projects.

The final list is broken down into five government-to-citizen initiatives; six government-to-business initiatives; five government-to-government initiatives; and six internal effectiveness and efficiency initiatives.

For a complete list of the projects, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/pubpress/2001-54.html.