11 great government IT projects

DISA promotes software reuse by making apps open source


GCN Awards(First of 11 projects)
The Open Source Corporate Management Information System (OSCMIS) is a Web-based federal workforce management, workflow and administrative software suite with more than 50 applications and tools to manage human resources, training, security, acquisition and related functions. Built using Adobe ColdFusion and Microsoft SQL Server 2005, the security accredited product suite automates a myriad of agency processes that had previously been done manually or were paper-based. With so much focus on efficiency, transparency and cost-effectiveness in government, OSCMIS is a huge milestone for users throughout government, academia and industry.

Read the full story: DISA makes 50 applications available for others to use and improve

Project at a glance

Organization: Defense Information Systems Agency's Manpower, Personnel and Security Directorate

Project: Open Source Corporate Management Information System

Challenge: The DISA manpower directorate had a number of processes it needed to automate. However, the commercial options for such tasks were limited or too expensive.

Solution: With a development team of only seven programmers, Richard Nelson led the work to develop more than 50 applications. The agency then put the programs under an open-source license, which will allow other organizations to reuse, and even improve, the software.

Effect: More than 16,000 military personnel now use the applications. Also, other government agencies are evaluating the applications for possible use.

Duration: The first applications were developed in 2006. In March, DISA signed a cooperative research and development agreement with the Open Source Software Institute to help manage an open-source distribution of the software.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners or click "next" to see another outstanding agency achievement.

Utah's Public Finance site delivers a transparent view of spending

GCN Awards(Second of 11 projects)
In Utah, the state’s paper request process for public financial information made it difficult to access. The Utah Transparency Advisory Board developed the Web site as an innovative custom application, knowing that data storage and search needed to be optimized. With the new Web site anyone can see how Utah spends every taxpayer dollar. Taxpayers can also easily look for waste, fraud and abuse in state spending. The launch of this site makes Utah the first state in the nation to require localities to provide expenditure data, thus providing taxpayers another level of transparency in government.

Read the full story: Utah's Public Finance sites get up and running on a slim budget, using open-source tools

Project at a glance

Organization: Department of Administrative Services, Division of Finance, State of Utah

Project: Utah Public Finance Web site

Challenge: Creating a Web site to make the finances of public entities in Utah available to citizens.

Solution: Cooperation between Utah's Division of Finance, Department of Technology Services, and partner Utah Interactive, using open-source software and generic and flexible data structures.

Impact: The initial data available includes Utah revenue and expenditure information for the current year. Thousands of visitors have found and downloaded information.

Cost: The total cost to date is $283,251.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners or click "next" to see another outstanding agency achievement.

Medical equipment follows injured soldiers with help from DOD tracking system

GCN Awards(Third of 11 projects)
Advances in aerial medical evacuations have dramatically improved the overall quality of emergency care for military service men and women. DOD’s Patient Movement Items Tracking System (PMITS) electronically tracks and facilitates the recycling of more than 27,000 different items and some $80 million of equipment used for medical airlifts. PMITS seamlessly reports real-time information on the operational status and location of patient movement items anywhere in the world. Through the first four months of 2009, PMITS ensured that none of the medical missions involving the 2,184 individuals who required medically evacuation were canceled or delayed due to a lack of medical equipment.

Read the full story: DOD bar code/database system proved inexpensive to develop and easy to use

Project at a glance

Organization: Department of Defense Military Health System, Defense Health Services System.

Project: Patient Movement Items Tracking System.

Challenge: To create a system for tracking medical equipment as it accompanies patients from the battlefield to convalescent facilities, to enable staff to ensure that needed equipment is available when and where it is necessary.

Solution: The Patient Movements Item Tracking System records the location of medical equipment through bar-code scanning at each stop. The data is stored in a central database that is available to logisticians via a Web interface.

Impact: Officials say there has not been an instance where medical equipment was unavailable for a transport mission. At the same time, independent analysts estimate that the PMITS system saves at least $6 million per year in inventory management costs alone.

Duration: 2004 to present.

Cost: Development cost, $3 million; annual IT cost, $500,000.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners or click "next" to see another outstanding agency achievement.

Data.Gov sparks a government information revolution

GCN Awards(Fourth of 11 projects)
The federal government develops, collects and stores massive quantities of data that are a national asset. Data.gov is a citizen-friendly platform that provides access to searchable Federal datasets. Data.gov acts as a portal to federal agency data sources. The datasets are hosted on agency Web sites, not on Data.gov, but Data.gov makes it easier for the public to find, access, download and analyze non-sensitive government data—including tools in a variety of formats. But the site, which is part of the Obama administration’s Open Government Initiative, establishes a precedent-setting model for putting the public’s data into the hands of the public.

Read the full story: CIO Council set up Data.gov in two months, and third parties are putting the data to use 

Project at a glance

Project: Data.gov

Challenge: The incoming Obama administration had placed an emphasis on government transparency, including the availability of government data wherever feasible. Such data would not only provide citizens more visibility into government affairs but also could spawn new businesses around the repackaging of the data.

Solution: Data.gov is a registry of government data, both in its raw machine-readable formats and as part of online Web applications that can format search results for users. It establishes the baseline for agency data formats as well as a one-stop location for developers to find out what government datasets are available.

Impact: The site was set up in less than two months by the Federal CIO Council, in time to mark end of the third month of the new administration. Thus far, the site has gotten more than 30 million hits and has been widely touted as a successful example of bringing more transparency to government affairs.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners or click "next" to see another outstanding agency achievement.

National Data Exchange lets FBI cast its net wider, deeper

GCN Awards(Fifth of 11 projects)
Information sharing is a critical component of today’s public safety mandate. To move key investigative information across disparate systems, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) has developed the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx) for nationwide integration and discovery of criminal justice data. The deployment of N-DEx marks the first time in U.S. history that local, state, tribal and federal criminal data has been openly shared. In the past year, the system has reached new milestones, with more than 51 million records, from 14 contributing agencies. It dramatically enhances public safety by enabling 200,000 law enforcement officers in 18,000 different agencies to effectively work together with actionable information to help solve and prevent criminal and terrorist attacks.

Read the full story: CJIS system uses enterprise architecture, sign-on security to link law enforcement 

Project at a glance

Organization: FBI Criminal Justice Information Services

Project: National Data Exchange (N-Dex)

Challenge: Share crime data among law enforcement agencies at multiple jurisdiction levels.

Solution: Build on the FBI’s service-oriented architecture with secure entry through the existing Law Enforcement Online Web portal, and sophisticated search and pattern-matching engine running on server clusters.

Impact: 200,000 users expected by next year. Investigators report success stories in identifying leads to make arrests they wouldn’t have found before N-Dex’s debut last year.

Duration: Four years, from planning to the final rollout phase in 2010.

Cost: Approximately $100 million.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners or click "next" to see another outstanding agency achievement.

At the Library of Congress, the past has a future

GCN Awards(Sixth of 11 projects)
It took two centuries for the Library of Congress to acquire its 29 million books and 105 million other items. Today, it only takes 15 minutes for the world to produce an equal amount of information in digital form, creating unprecedented archiving challenges for the Library of Congress. The Library is meeting the challenge of digital preservation by developing new tools to transfer large quantities of digital content. To date, more than 3 million files have been transferred and stored using the BagIt specification. Due to the Library’s digital preservation initiatives, more than 1,000 collections of digital content have been selected, captured, preserved, and made available to the U.S. public and online visitors across the globe.

Read the full story: Library of Congress preservation program works with millions of items, terabytes of data in a full spectrum of formats 

Project at a glance

Organization: Library of Congress Office of Strategic Initiatives

Project: National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program

Challenge: Preserving millions of physical items in LOC collections and the terabytes of new data being produced so that they will be accessible in a digital future.

Solution: Cooperation with government, industry and academia to create specifications, standards and tools for handling and preserving digital data in a variety of formats.

Impact: Millions of items have been preserved digitally and made available online, and millions more digital files are being gathered and archived.

Cost: A special appropriation of $50 million funded the program from 2001 through 2007; it now has an annual budget of about $6.5 million.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners or click "next" to see another outstanding agency achievement.

Techipedia helps DOD bring innovative ideas to light

GCN Awards(Seventh of 11 projects)
America’s adversaries in this time of expansive technology growth can quickly incorporate new technology innovations that threaten America and its interests. To meet these threats -- and also exploit innovations, DOD developed DoDTechipedia, a suite of services using Web 2.0 tools that harness crowd-sourcing and collective intelligence tools to assemble the best technology solutions available for the military, faster than ever before. Among other valuable benefits, DoDTechipedia provides the Combatant Commands with better access to internal DOD science and technology innovations. It also assists small technology companies that have never worked with DOD to get their products in front of DOD decision-makers.

Read the full story: Defense Technical Information Center's forums allow information sharing at various classification levels 

Project at a glance

Organization: Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO); Director, Defense Research & Engineering; Defense Technical Information Center: Department of Defense Chief Information Officer

Project: DODTechipedia Suite of Services by the DODTechipedia Team

Challenge: To find a secure way for DOD scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians, as well as affiliated contractors and researchers, to share information on developing technologies. 

Solution: DODTechipedia uses wiki technology to provide an interactive tool available across the DOD community on unclassified and classified networks. DefenseSolutions provides DOD the opportunity to attract ideas from new sources.

Impact: More than 9,000 users have registered for DODTechipedia on the unclassified network, and more than 1,000 articles have been posted. DefenseSolutions has received more than 70 proposed ideas and is working on agreements with a half-dozen submitters.

Cost: The projects were started with $3.5 million of seed funding from the office of the Director, Defense Research and Engineering, under the Office of the Secretary of Defense Undersecretary for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners or click "next" to see another outstanding agency achievement.

Army system tracks medical care from battlefield to hospital

GCN Awards(Eighth of 11 projects)
The move from paper medical records to digital records in the warzone and at the battalion aid station level of care reached new levels over the past year with Electronic Medical Record (EMR) advancements made by the Army’s Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4). MC4 integrates various software applications that are used by all Armed Forces onto a variety of ruggedized Army hardware devices, including ruggedized handhelds, laptops, servers, printers and peripherals. MC4 saves the Army time and resources in producing an alternative solution and gives birth to a new EMR “train as you fight” model that better prepare medical units to use and support MC4 in the combat zone, while transitioning the battalion aid stations from paper to EMRs. Over the past year, MC4 deployed 5,500 systems into forward operating combat support hospitals doubled the number of electronic patient encounters captured on its system to more than 10 million.

Read the full story: Army's MC4 comprehensive electronic medical records help improve care for the wounded 

Project at a glance

Organization: Army's Product Management Office

Project: Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care

Challenge: Replace paper-based medical recording and logistics practices with a comprehensive, electronic medical recording and medical logistics system in a tactical environment.

Solution: Integrate, field and support the MC4 system and broaden the use of it to garrison battalion aid stations to facilitate a train-as-you-fight model in the Army.

Impact: Since 2003, more than 12 million electronic patient interactions have been captured via MC4, and 750 units with medical staff in 14 countries have been equipped with MC4. In addition, the Army has trained 40,000 people and fielded 30,000 systems. The result has been improved continuity of care and decision-making for deployed service members and combatant commanders.

Duration: First fielded in 2003.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners or click "next" to see another outstanding agency achievement.

State, CBP work across borders on travel credential program

GCN Awards(Ninth and tenth of 11 projects)
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires US and Canadian travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the United States. The goal is to facilitate entry for U.S. citizens and legitimate foreign visitors while strengthening U.S. border security. Standard documents enable the DHS to quickly and reliably identify a traveler. During the first week of June, more than 1.7 million vehicles and 2.5 million travelers were queried through WHTI with response times of less than two seconds, as a result of the CBP-OIT’s work. WHTI closed a key security gap mentioned in the 9/11 Commission recommendations while helping to facilitate the travel experience for land border crossers.

The WHTI program was further enhanced by the State Department, which, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, developed two new identity documents: a credit card-sized Passport Card for American citizens and an enhanced Border Crossing Card (BCC) for Mexican nationals. The WHTI served as a major accomplishment among multiple agencies; it enabled collaboration with the public, industry partners, and business groups, thus enabling Consular Affairs to meet product demand and improve overall service levels to the public.

Read the full story: Consolidated ID cards and automated checkpoint systems streamline the flow at border crossings 

Project at a glance

Organization: Homeland Security Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Information Technology; State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Consular Systems and Technology Office.

Project: Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

Challenge: Increase security at border checkpoints without adding to travel delays.

Solution: Use license plate readers and radio frequency identification-enabled travel documents to assemble data for the CBP officers.

Impact: More than 1.7 million vehicles and 2.5 million travelers’ identities validated in the first week of operation without any increase in wait time.

Duration: Eighteen months from award of contract (some actions started earlier).

Cost: $352 million, including previously completed air travel portion.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners or click "next" to see another outstanding agency achievement.

USPS upgrades product tracking system while keeping mainframes in place

GCN Awards(Eleventh of 11 projects)
The nation’s citizens rely on an efficient mail shipment service, and expect timely, reliable delivery at reasonable prices. To meet these demands cost-effectively, especially as market forces and the Internet are affecting USPS’ business model, USPS needed greater granularity of information. That required modernizing the USPS’s COBOL-based mainframe environment that supports its Product Tracking System — but with limited resources. The USPS took an innovative software solution, using Integrated Facility for Linux, and other steps, that succeeded in reducing the cost per millions-of-instructions per second by an estimated 50 percent. Together with reduced software and hardware licensing costs, USPS estimates the project resulted in a 40 percent savings while improving internal and external service levels.

Read the full story: After a switch to Linux, IT shop modernizes 15-year-old Cobol system without altering code 

Project at a glance

Organization: U.S. Postal Service

Project: Product Tracking System upgrade

Challenge: To address growing demands from customers for increased visibility of their packages as they travel through the Postal network, USPS needed to upgrade its Product Tracking System to increase the number of packages the system could process, ensure low-cost scalability to meet future demands, and provide more detailed information capabilities for customers.

Solution: After considering several options, including replacing or rewriting the application, IT chose to deploy portions of the Product Tracking System on Linux, running the Cobol application through modernization software – minimizing the amount of code modifications required.

Impact: After successful completion of this modernization approach, the new environment is reducing the future costs by allowing the system to grow on a low-cost Linux platform. The solution also significantly limited any risk involved in upgrading the system by minimizing application changes.

Click here to read about all the 2009 GCN Award winners.


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