Government gets its first FOIA app
July 07, 2015
The Department of Homeland Security released an app that allows users to file FOIA requests straight from their smartphones, a first for the federal government.
David Stegon was a staff reporter for FedScoop and StateScoop from 2011-2014.
Federal agencies have fully completed only three of 10 key action items in the Office of Management and Budget’s 25-Point Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology, according to a new review by the Government Accountability Office.
GAO said that, of the 10 items reviewed, only three were completed by December 2011, while seven were partially completed in the same time frame.
The 25-Point Plan was released in December of 2010 by then Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and Federal Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients to help streamline federal technology.
“The action items that are behind schedule share a common reason for the delays: the complexity of the initiatives. In all seven of the cases, OMB and the federal agencies are still working on the initiatives. However, OMB and federal agencies have established time frames for completing only two of these initiatives,” GAO said.
In a December 2011 progress report on its IT Reform Plan, OMB reported that it made greater progress than GAO determined.
The agencies reported that of the 10 action items, seven were completed and three were partially completed. OMB officials from the Office of E-government and Information Technology explained that the reason for the difference in assessments is that they believe that the IT Reform Plan has served its purpose in acting as a catalyst for a set of broader initiatives, GAO said.
OMB noted that work will continue on all of the initiatives even after it declares the related action items to be completed under the IT Reform Plan, GAO said.
To fix this, GAO made the following recommendations:
- We are recommending that the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Veterans Affairs complete elements missing from the agencies’ plans for migrating services to a cloud computing environment, and identify and report on the commodity services proposed for migration to shared services. All three agencies agreed with our recommendations and identified steps that they are undertaking to address them.
- In addition, we are recommending that the Federal CIO ensure that the action items called for in the IT Reform Plan are completed by the responsible parties prior to the completion of the IT Reform Plan’s 18 month deadline of June 2012 and that the agency provide clear time frames for addressing the shortfalls associated with the IT Reform Plan action items. The Federal CIO agreed with both of these recommendations and stated that OMB intends to complete the action items by the deadline.
- We are also recommending that the Federal CIO accurately characterize the status of the IT Reform Plan action items in an upcoming progress report in order to keep momentum going on action items that are not yet completed. The Federal CIO disagreed with this recommendation and stated that OMB has accurately characterized the completeness of the action items, and therefore, the recommendation does not apply.