Administration to shutter 1,000 federal websites

Campaign creates new board of fraud and waste watchdogs

The Obama administration plans to shut down or consolidate about half of the government's 2,000 websites withing a year as part of its new Campaign to Cut Waste, which builds on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Vice President Joe Biden will lead the campaign. The administration plans to stop the creation of new websites and has a goal of closing or consolidating about 500 sites in the next few months and cutting the number of stand-alone sites by 1,000  over the next year, according to a statement from Biden's office. 

The Office of Management and Budget, under Biden's direction, will lead the effort, according to Jeffrey Zients, Chief Performance Officer and OMB's Deputy Director for Management.

The administration plans to set up a central website that will track government spending across all programs and at all levels.

The same day as Biden's announcement, President Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing the campaign. The order creates a new oversight and accountability board and requires Cabinet members to meet regularly with Biden to share their progress on cutting waste.


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"Over the last two years, we have been slashing waste across government, and today we are putting Washington on notice: The president and I are committed to changing the way government works, and we are stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars,” Biden said.

He emphasized the importance of transparency in the government’s ability to root out waste and said the American people can be some of our best watchdogs.

The new oversight board's 11 members will include agency inspectors general, chief financial officers, an official from the Office of Management and Budget, and other members designated by the president. The group will work closely with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and its chairman, Earl Devaney, whom Biden credited as the Recovery Act’s "point guy."

The order also directs agencies' chief operating officers to lead performance and management reform efforts, including those related to IT, and holds CFOs responsible for achieving cost savings. COOs and CFOs are expected to report their results to OMB on a regular basis.

The campaign aligns with the administration’s Accountable Government Initiative, which was launched last year. As part of that program, OMB officials reduced contract spending and began the process of consolidating federal data centers and eliminating excess federal real estate.

In a video message posted at WhiteHouse.gov, Obama said making government more efficient has been a priority of his administration.

“But as we work to tackle the budget deficit, we need to step up our game,” Obama said. “No amount of waste is acceptable — not when it’s your money, not at a time when so many families are already cutting back.”

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

Reader Comments

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 smurphy Phoenix, Az

This is just one step of many that need to be taken to reduce redundant government spending; it is not the only step being taken. And there is a lot more cost involved in supporting websites besides just the hosting fee, there is the manpower costs for the people behind the website. In government when you don’t have the people to do the job you contract it out and IT work is the most expensive contracted service in government today.
By reducing the Federal websites by 10%, 2400 is 10% of 24000, they will actually save a couple of millions dollars. The exact amount depends on what the website did and how often it was updated or maintained.

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