FirstGov joined by USA Service

The year-old <a href="http://FirstGov.gov">FirstGov.gov</a> federal information portal, developed by the General Services Administration, is ready to take its next step towards transactions.

The year-old FirstGov.gov federal information portal, developed by the General Services Administration, is ready to take its next step towards transactions.

But now its program managers at GSA will have a parallel project called USA Service.

USA Service is one of 23 e-government projects desingated by the Office of Management and Budget to receive special attention and funding. Its purpose is to be a portal to online government transactions, and to give users a uniform look and feel across agencies.

GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy will manage USA Service, as it does FirstGov, but officials are uncertain over the realtionship between the two programs.

'FirstGov is not one of the 23, but it is closely related,' said one source familiar with the programs. 'How it will play might end up being a blend.'

'FirstGov provided a brilliant service. Now it's going to the second step,' said Howard Landon, director of special projects in the Energy Department CIO's office.

Landon was a member of the team that helped select the 23 e-gov initiatives to be funded by OMB [GCN, Oct. 22, Page 1].

Although agency leaders recently met with OMB to start moving on USA Service, they did not decide whether to retain the FirstGov name, how it will blend with the new service or how much to spend on it.

The group did decide to start writing a business case'an analysis of the value, objectives, types of data required, constraints and risks.

Down to business

After the business case is completed late this month, the project will again undergo review by OMB and the President's Management Council, made up of agency chief operating officers who approved the initial 22 projects.

'FirstGov is an information portal as it is now. The other side is a transaction service'that's the way I see it playing out,' Landon said.

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