White House marks digital gov strategy’s first milestones

Federal agencies are making “great strides” toward meeting President Barack Obama’s May 23 directive, “Building a 21st Century Digital Government” during the next year, Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel said in marking the first quarterly anniversary of the initiative.

The comprehensive Digital Government Strategy lays out actions in a 12-month roadmap, which will be updated periodically to track progress in implementing the benchmarks.

Among the first benchmarks, the president directed all agencies to launch a page on their websites to publicly update their progress in meeting the requirements of the strategy in a machine-readable format. Agencies launched their digital strategy pages on Aug. 23, the three-month anniversary of the directive.

Consistent with two milestone actions, agencies have posted candidate data sets and services that will be available “anywhere, anytime, on any device.” They will continue to update their progress as they complete the strategy milestones, the White House website said.

For example, The Census Bureau recently released its first mobile app, called “America’s Economy,” which mashes up Census data with economic statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics, and provides the latest economic indicators that drive business hiring, sales and production decisions throughout the nation in near real time.

The Health and Human Services Department recently updated its AIDS.gov site using responsive Web design, a next-generation Web development method of designing content so that it automatically adjusts to the size of the device that accesses the information.

And the IRS said it is planning to develop a mobile app for its revenue agents that will allow them to accept a paper check from a taxpayer, take a picture, and automatically deposit it for posting to the taxpayer’s account.

All milestones and their timetable are available on the White House site.

The milestones include:

  • The Office of Management and Budget will issue governmentwide open data, content, and Web API policy and identify standards and best practices for improved interoperability (within six months).
  • All agencies will ensure all new IT systems follow the open data, content, and Web API policy and operationalize agency.gov/developer pages (within six months of the release of the open data policy).
  • All agencies will make high-value data and content in at least two existing major customer-facing systems available through Web APIs, apply metadata tagging and publish a plan to transition additional high-value systems (within 6 months of the release of the open data policy).
  • The Advisory Group/Federal CIO Council will release governmentwide bring-your-own-device (BYOD) guidance based on lessons learned from successful pilots at federal agencies.

Links to each of the agency pages and information for developers can be found at the Digital Services Innovation Center’s website.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.


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