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E-GOV

STATEMENT OF G. MARTIN WAGNER
ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR
OFFICE OF GOVERNMENTWIDE POLICY
GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
BEFORE THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION POLICY, INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS AND THE CENSUS
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MARCH 24, 2004


Good Afternoon Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Clay, and Members of the Committee.  I am Marty Wagner, Associate Administrator for the General Services Administration’s Office of Governmentwide Policy.  Thank you for the opportunity to discuss with the Committee GSA’s commitment to Electronic Government (E-Gov) and the progress to date of our efforts.  My remarks will provide an update on GSA’s role in the government wide efforts and successes and challenges of the Presidential E-Government Initiatives from GSA’s view.

GSA has been an active supporter of the development and implementation of the administration’s direction of E-Gov and the other priorities in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) since the PMA was issued in August 2001. GSA supports OMB efforts in E-Gov, not only by participating with other agencies, but also with sponsoring five E-Gov initiatives, and by providing support to the interagency councils (Chief Financial Officers Council, Federal Acquisition Council and Chief Information Officers Council) that help provide the transformation to E-Gov services.  We also help advance the development of the Federal Enterprise Architecture by supporting OMB with program support and systems that help unify the government structures.  Additionally we help OMB with the collection of interagency funds and the management of the E-Gov Fund.

GSA is the managing partner for five E-Gov initiatives (USA Services, Federal Asset Sales, E-Travel, Integrated Acquisition Environment, and E-Authentication) in collaboration with our many partner agencies; helping to develop the plans for four of the five expanded E-Gov lines of business (Financial Management, Human Resources, Grants Management, and Case Management; the fifth, Public Health Monitoring is led by Health and Human Services) and leading SmartBuy, the new government wide enterprise software license program.

GSA is taking a major role to secure greater services for the public at lower costs through E-Gov.   We are helping meet the high demand for E-Gov services, such as assisting the administration in meeting its goal of developing a citizen-centered E-Gov that will result in a major improvement in the federal government’s value to the citizen.  Implementing E-Gov will continue to require extensive coordination with Federal agencies, State and local governments, the general public, industry, libraries and other public interest groups. 

GSA’s role in policy development is as a team leader, bringing together interagency teams to collaborate in developing the government wide policies that will affect them.  In this way, we formulate policies, promote best practices and innovation, conduct training and provide government wide databases – which give our customers tools and support that foster good management across the government. 

PROGRESS ON  E-GOV INITIATIVES

The General Services Administration is actively supporting the President’s Management Agenda.  We supported OMB’s creation of the Quicksilver Taskforce to identify initial opportunities for using the Internet to simplify and unify key processes within the federal enterprise.  GSA is the managing partner for five of the 24 Presidential E-Government Initiatives, which are discussed individually below.

E-Authentication

E-Authentication is an online identity validation service that combines technology, policy and implementation tools to allow for a more uniform application of identity management across government.  E-Authentication enables E-Government by allowing the American public to access government services in a secure, trusted environment with credentials of their choosing – bringing convenience, cost savings, simplicity and trust to the authentication process. 

We have made good progress working with the industry and our partner agencies in a very difficult area, moving from a centralized to a federated architecture approach that is more in line with industry and greatly enhances protection of privacy of citizen information.  We are currently in the early stages of interoperability testing, working with industry to allow citizens to use the same credential with multiple government agencies, and have published of Federal Trust List of Credential Service Providers (both Public Key Infrastructure and PIN/Password).

To help agencies prepare for the migration to E-Authentication we have developed and made available an E-Authentication Risk Assessment (E-RA) tool that provides agencies the ability to assess transaction risk. This tool can be used to fulfill the requirements of the E-Authentication Guidance for Federal Agencies, issued by OMB in December.   Additionally, we have developed and published Credential Assessment Framework (CAF), which maps Credential Service Providers (CSPs) to the OMB assurance levels.  With regard to interoperability, we have adopted an open standards-based baseline architecture and published technical interface specifications and plan on publishing our final architecture and specifications in June.

While we have made great strides, we still face a few challenges.  Currently there is a lack of implementation-ready agency e-government applications that are ready to use E-Authentication and reluctance of agency applications to use E-Authentication.  However, we are confident that OMB’s leadership (pending pilot results and delivery of the final architecture) will encourage a more rapid migration and utilization of  the initiative on the part of agencies and CSPs.

E-Travel

E-Travel is a collaborative, inter-agency initiative, the purpose of which is to realize the efficiencies, cost-savings and increased service associated with a common, automated and integrated approach to managing the Federal Government’s Civilian Agency’s travel function. E-Travel provides a government-wide web-based service that applies world-class travel management practices to consolidate federal travel, minimize cost and produce superior customer satisfaction.  From travel planning and authorization to reimbursement, the E-Travel Service (ETS) will leverage administrative, financial and information technology best practices to realize significant cost savings and improved employee productivity. 

While synchronizing agency funding and staffing resources will remain a challenge, E-Travel has been a true success story.  We are well on track to meeting the September 2006 deadline by which agencies must use ETS.

To date, we have successfully provided a common government-wide online booking engine during initial phases of project. And we have developed a government-wide 
inventory and business case defining cost/benefits and high-level agency migration requirements.  Currently a full pilot to evaluate and test the service is underway and eTravel is on track for full operation this year.

Federal Asset Sales

Federal Asset Sales will identify, recommend, and implement improvements for asset recovery and disposition, making it easier for agencies, business, and citizens to acquire  Federal assets.  Initial marketplaces are targeted around personal property and real property assets.

We have taken key steps to accomplish this goal.  For instance, we have completed a study of government utilization and donation practices.  Additionally, we are pursuing focused sales initiatives with target agencies.  On February 4, the President issued an Executive Order for Federal Real Property Asset Management.  The Executive Order authorized the creation of a  Federal Real Property Council, which will consist of senior real property officials from the agencies.  The early efforts on real property asset management from the FAS initiative will be incorporated into the FRPC’s work as they proceed with their goals.

Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE)

The goals of the IAE are to create a simpler, common integrated business process for buyers and sellers that promotes competition, transparency and integrity; increase data sharing across all Federal Agencies to enable better business decisions in procurement, logistics, payment and performance assessment; and take a unified approach to obtaining modern tools to leverage investment costs for business related processes.  Several modules are now in operation, including Business Partner Network, Federal Business Opportunities, Excluded Parties Listing System, and Contracts Directory Online.

The IAE has made steady progress and has been well supported by the federal acquisition community.  To date, we have launched a Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS); issued Business Rules for Intra-governmental Transactions; merged SBA Pro-NET with Central Contractor Registration (CCR); registered all agencies for intra-governmental transactions; launched Federal Technical Data Solution (FedTeDs.gov) to post sensitive but unclassified documents; and implemented a number of additional measures to secure and support the IAE.

USA Services

The goal of USA Services is to provide citizens with timely, consistent responses about government information and services.  To accomplish this goal, GSA has worked to develop and deploy a government-wide citizen service initiative that employs the latest in Internet technology and industry best practices. 

M.J. Jameson, GSA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Communication has taken the lead on USA Services.  She will address this initiative in detail during her testimony during this hearing.

EXPANDED E-GOV INITIATIVES (also referred to as the Lines of Business)

GSA has been requested to assist agencies to identify a common solution, develop a target architecture, and develop business cases for the following four Lines of Business (Financial Management, Human Resources, Grants Management and Case Management), by September 2004.  GSA will develop a Request for Information to industry vendors.  The questions in the RFI will drive responses that surface major issues around significant IT and business process consolidations and/or shared service providers, including architecture concerns; and, issues related to key migration strategies.  The fifth new line of  business, Public Health Monitoring, is being led by HHS.

SMARTBUY

SmartBUY, while not an e-Gov initiative, supports the overall direction  to “leverage the government’s buying power to achieve lower software licensing costs and equal or better terms and conditions” with enterprise-wide software licensing.   GSA was established as the executive agent for SmartBuy.   Since we began in 2003, much has occurred and been learned, but the original principal of SmartBUY remains the same.  Our first agreement is with ESRI.  GSA signed an agreement with ESRI for enterprise-wide licenses for geospatial software, which should bring $57.5m in cost savings over five years. 

As we move forward with SmartBUY, we have learned a number of valuable lessons.  First, the government must understand its requirements (and installed base) rather than relying on software vendor information.  Second, the government should identify publishers to involve with SmartBUY rather than validate unsolicited proposals.  And third, we must identify key users of software and involve them in negotiations

Our future efforts with SmartBuy will reflect those lessons learned and will be driven by aggregated agency requirements.

CONCLUSION

On a broad view, the E-Gov initiatives ultimately impact the processes and procedures of all federal government agencies.  The strategic challenges for the E-Gov initiatives include:

• Governance of cross-enterprise programs where agency “users” need to remain involved to ensure citizen centered service is being enhanced on a continued basis;
• Improved funding alignment that meets the requirements of the e-Gov Initiative Program and individual agency missions;
• Development of a “collaborative environment” where process improvements are adopted by all agencies needing a service or E-Business product; and
• Linking policy effectively to technology driven process improvements.

In spite of many challenges, the five General Service Administration e-Gov Initiatives have made significant progress.

GSA will continue to work with OMB and with other Federal agencies, industry and State and local governments to help ensure the success of the E-Gov initiatives and related efforts.  Our support of OMB and the advancement of E-Gov includes GSA’s role in providing policy support for its five e-Gov initiatives, coordination of new E-Gov initiatives including the new lines of business, and coordinating the funding mechanisms such as the Council funding and EGov fund.  Collectively, we believe these efforts will help succeed in transforming the government where on-line services are the norm.