This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-05-12 
entitled 'Electronic Government: Federal Agencies Have Made Progress 
Implementing the E-Government Act of 2002' which was released on 
December 23, 2004.

This text file was formatted by the U.S. Government Accountability 
Office (GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as part 
of a longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility. Every 
attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data integrity of 
the original printed product. Accessibility features, such as text 
descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes placed at the 
end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, are provided 
but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format of the printed 
version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an exact electronic 
replica of the printed version. We welcome your feedback. Please E-mail 
your comments regarding the contents or accessibility features of this 
document to Webmaster@gao.gov.

This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright 
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed 
in its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work 
may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the 
copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this 
material separately.

Report to Congressional Requesters: 

December 2004: 

Electronic Government: 

Federal Agencies Have Made Progress Implementing the E-Government Act 
of 2002: 

[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-12]: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-05-12, a report to congressional requesters

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The E Government Act (E-Gov Act) of 2002 was enacted to promote the use 
of the Internet and other information technologies to improve 
government services for citizens, internal government operations, and 
opportunities for citizen participation in government.

The act directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and federal 
agencies to take specific actions to promote electronic government. GAO 
was asked to review the implementation status of major provisions from 
Titles I and II of the act, which include provisions covering a wide 
range of activities across the federal government. 

What GAO Found: 

In most cases, OMB and federal agencies have taken positive steps 
toward implementing provisions of Titles I and II of the E Gov Act that 
GAO reviewed. For example, OMB established the Office of E Government, 
designated its Assistant Director for Information Technology (IT) and E 
Government as the officeís Administrator in April 2003, and published 
guidance to federal agencies on implementing the act in August 2003. 
Apart from general requirements applicable to all agencies (which GAO 
did not review), in most cases, OMB and designated federal agencies 
have taken action to address the actís requirements within stipulated 
time frames. For example, OMB established the Interagency Committee on 
Government Information in June 2003, within the deadline prescribed by 
the act. The committee is to develop recommendations on the 
categorization of government information and public access to 
electronic information. Similarly, in most cases where deadlines are 
not specified, OMB and designated federal agencies have either fully 
implemented the provisions or demonstrated positive action toward 
implementation. For example, in May 2003, the E Government 
Administrator issued a memorandum detailing procedures for requesting 
funds from the E Government Fund, although the act did not specify a 
deadline for this action. As stipulated by the act, the E Government 
Fund is to be used to support projects that enable the federal 
government to expand its ability to conduct activities electronically.

Although the government has made progress in implementing the act, the 
actís requirements have not always been fully addressed. In several 
cases, actions taken do not satisfy the requirements of the act or no 
significant action has been taken. In particular, OMB has not ensured 
that specified activities have taken place regarding e-government 
approaches to crisis preparedness (a study and follow-up response), 
contractor innovation (establishment of a program), and federally 
funded research and development (support of an information repository 
and Web site). In these cases, either the actions OMB has taken do not 
fully address the actís provisions, or OMB has not yet made key 
decisions that would allow actions to take place. Until these issues 
are addressed, the government may be at risk of not fully achieving the 
objective of the E Government Act to promote better use of the Internet 
and other information technologies to improve government services and 
enhance opportunities for citizen participation in government.

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO is making recommendations to OMB regarding implementation of the 
act in the areas of e government approaches to crisis preparedness, 
contractor innovation, and federally funded research and development, 
to help ensure that the actís objectives are achieved.

In commenting on a draft of this report, officials from the Department 
of Homeland Security, General Services Administration, and OMB 
generally agreed with its content and recommendations. 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-12.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Linda D. Koontz at (202) 
512-6240 or koontzl@gao.gov.

[End of section]

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

OMB and Agencies Have Made Progress Implementing Major Provisions of 
the E-Government Act of 2002: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments: 

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Objective, Scope, and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Federal Information and IT Management Statutory Framework: 

Appendix III: Implementation Status of Major Provisions from Titles I 
and II of the E-Government Act of 2002: 

Office of Electronic Government: Title I, Section 101 (44 U.S.C. 3602): 

Chief Information Officers Council: Title I, Section 101 (44 U.S.C. 
3603): 

Administration of the E-Government Fund: Title I, Section 101 (44 
U.S.C. 3604): 

Program to Encourage Innovative Solutions: Title I, Section 101 (44 
U.S.C. 3605): 

E-Government Report: Title I, Section 101 (44 U.S.C. 3606): 

Electronic Signatures: Title II, Section 203: 

Federal Internet Portal: Title II, Section 204: 

Federal Courts: Title II, Section 205: 

Regulatory Agencies: Title II, Section 206: 

Accessibility, Usability, and Preservation of Government Information: 
Title II, Section 207: 

Privacy Provisions: Title II, Section 208: 

IT Workforce Development: Title II, Section 209: 

State and Local Government Use of Federal Supply Schedules: Title II, 
Section 211: 

Integrated Reporting Study and Pilot Projects: Title II, Section 212: 

Community Technology Centers: Title II, Section 213: 

Enhancing Crisis Management through Advanced Information Technology: 
Title II, Section 214: 

Disparities in Access to the Internet: Title II, Section 215: 

Common Protocols for Geographic Information Systems: Title II, Section 
216: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Summary Implementation Status of Major Sections from Titles I 
and II of the E-Gov Act: 

Table 2: Actions Required under 44 U.S.C. 3604: 

Table 3: Summary of E-Government Fund Usage, Fiscal Years 2002-2005: 

Table 4: Actions Required under 44 U.S.C. 3605: 

Table 5: Action Required under 44 U.S.C. 3606: 

Table 6: Action Required under Section 203 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 7: Actions Required under Section 204 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 8: Usage Statistics for FirstGov.gov, Fiscal Years 2002-2004: 

Table 9: Actions Required under Section 205 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 10: Actions Required under Section 206 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 11: Actions Required under Section 207 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 12: Actions Required under Section 208 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 13: Actions Required under Section 209 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 14: Actions Required under Section 211 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 15: Actions Required under Section 212 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 16: Actions Required under Section 213 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 17: Actions Required under Section 214 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 18: Actions Required under Section 215 of the E-Government Act: 

Table 19: Action Required under Section 216 of the E-Government Act: 

Figure: 

Figure 1: CIO Council Organization Chart: 

Abbreviations: 

CIO: chief information officer: 

DHS: Department of Homeland Security: 

GSA: General Services Administration: 

ICGI: Interagency Committee on Government Information: 

IPT: Information Policy and Technology: 

IRM: information resources management: 

IT: information technology: 

NARA: National Archives and Records Administration: 

NAS: National Academy of Sciences: 

NIST: National Institute of Standards and Technology: 

OIRA: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs: 

OMB: Office of Management and Budget: 

OPM: Office of Personnel Management: 

PIA: privacy impact assessment: 

PRA: Paperwork Reduction Act: 

RFI: request for information: 

Letter December 10, 2004: 

The Honorable Susan M. Collins: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Governmental Affairs: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Tom Davis: 
Chairman: 
Committee on Government Reform: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Candice S. Miller: 
House of Representatives: 

The E-Government Act (E-Gov Act) of 2002 was enacted with the general 
purpose of promoting better use of the Internet and other information 
technologies to improve government services for citizens, internal 
government operations, and opportunities for citizen participation in 
government. Among other things, the act specifically requires the 
establishment of the Office of Electronic Government within the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) to oversee implementation of the act's 
provisions and mandates a number of specific actions, such as the 
establishment of interagency committees, completion of several studies, 
submission of reports with recommendations, issuance of a variety of 
guidance documents, establishment of new policies, and initiation of 
pilot projects. Further, the act requires federal agencies to take a 
number of actions, such as conducting privacy impact assessments, 
providing public access to agency information, and allowing for 
electronic access to rulemaking proceedings. OMB has linked several of 
the act's provisions to ongoing e-government initiatives that it has 
sponsored.[Footnote 1] While some deadlines specified in the act have 
passed, many required actions do not have statutory deadlines or have 
deadlines that have not yet passed.

This report responds to your request that we review the implementation 
status of major provisions from Titles I and II of the E-Gov Act. To 
address this objective, we analyzed the act, reviewed OMB's fiscal year 
2003 report to Congress on the implementation status of the act, and 
interviewed officials from OMB, the General Services Administration 
(GSA), and other agencies that have specific responsibilities under 
Title II. We included the major e-government sections of the act in 
this review, except for two sections,[Footnote 2] as agreed upon with 
your staff. Within the sections we included, we did not address general 
requirements applicable to all agencies.[Footnote 3] Details of our 
objectives, scope, and methodology are provided in appendix I. Our work 
was conducted in Washington, D.C., from April 2004 to August 2004, in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

Results in Brief: 

In most cases, OMB and federal agencies have taken positive steps 
toward implementing the provisions of Titles I and II of the E-Gov Act. 
For example, OMB established the Office of E-Government, designated its 
Assistant Director for Information Technology (IT) and E-Government as 
the office's Administrator in April 2003, and published guidance to 
federal agencies on implementing the act in August 2003. In most cases, 
OMB and federal agencies have taken action to address the act's 
requirements within stipulated time frames. For example, OMB 
established the Interagency Committee on Government Information in June 
2003, within the deadline prescribed by the act. The committee is to 
develop recommendations on the categorization of government information 
and public access to electronic information. Even when deadlines have 
not yet passed, in all but one case OMB and agencies have taken action 
to implement the act. For example, federal courts have established 
informational Web sites in advance of the April 2005 deadline specified 
by the act, and court officials are taking steps to ensure that the Web 
sites fully meet the criteria stipulated by the act.

Similarly, in most cases where deadlines are not specified, OMB and 
federal agencies have either fully implemented the provisions or 
demonstrated positive action toward implementation. For example, in May 
2003, the E-Government Administrator issued a memorandum detailing 
procedures for requesting funds from the E-Government Fund,[Footnote 4] 
although the act did not specify a deadline for this action.

Although the government has made progress in implementing the act, the 
act's requirements have not always been fully addressed. Specifically, 
OMB has not: 

* ensured that a study on using IT to enhance crisis preparedness and 
response has been conducted that addresses the content specified by the 
act,

* established a required program to encourage contractor innovation and 
excellence in facilitating the development and enhancement of 
electronic government services and processes, or: 

* ensured the development and maintenance of a required repository and 
Web site of information about research and development funded by the 
federal government.

Further, GSA has not contracted with the National Academy of Sciences 
(NAS) to conduct a required study on disparities in Internet access for 
online government services.

In the first three cases, OMB has either taken actions that are related 
to the act's provisions but do not fully address them (in the first and 
second cases) or has not yet made key decisions that would allow 
actions to take place (in the third case). In the last case, GSA is 
seeking funding for the required study in fiscal year 2006. Until these 
issues are addressed, the government may be at risk of not fully 
achieving the objective of the E-Government Act to promote better use 
of the Internet and other information technologies to improve 
government services and enhance opportunities for citizen participation 
in government.

To ensure the successful implementation of the E-Government Act and 
achievement of its goals, we are recommending that the Administrator of 
the Office of E-Government take action to address those instances where 
the act's requirements have not been fully addressed. In commenting on 
a draft of this report, officials from the Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS), GSA, and OMB generally agreed with its content and 
recommendations.

Background: 

The E-Gov Act was enacted into law on December 17, 2002. The act's 
provisions add to a variety of previously established statutory 
requirements regarding federal information and IT management, such as 
the Paperwork Reduction Act, which also prescribes responsibilities 
within OMB for overseeing information and IT management in the federal 
government.[Footnote 5] Appendix II provides further details on the 
statutory framework for federal information and IT management.

Even before passage of the E-Gov Act, OMB was working on e-government 
issues, primarily through its Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs (OIRA) and through the activities of the Associate Director for 
Information Technology and E-Government (the predecessor position to 
the current Administrator of the Office of Electronic Government). In 
February 2002, OMB issued its first E-Government Strategy[Footnote 6] 
and designated 24 high-profile initiatives[Footnote 7] to lead the 
government's transformation to e-government.[Footnote 8]

Title I of the E-Government Act established the Office of Electronic 
Government within OMB, to be headed by an Administrator. The 
Administrator's responsibilities include: 

* assisting the Director in carrying out the act and other e-government 
initiatives, including promoting innovative use of IT by agencies, 
overseeing the E-Government Fund, and leading the activities of the 
federal Chief Information Officers Council;

* working with the OIRA Administrator in setting strategic direction 
for e-government under relevant laws, including the Paperwork Reduction 
Act and the Clinger-Cohen Act; and: 

* working with the OIRA Administrator and other OMB offices to oversee 
implementation of e-government under the act and other laws, including 
the Paperwork Reduction Act, relating to IT management, enterprise 
architecture, information security, privacy, access, dissemination, 
preservation, accessibility of IT for persons with disabilities, and 
other areas of e-government.

Title II of the E-Gov Act contains 16 sections that include a range of 
provisions aimed at promoting electronic government services and 
increasing citizen access to and participation in government. The 
sections of Title II address such topics as maintaining and promoting a 
federal Internet portal to make government information more accessible 
to the public, protecting the privacy of personal information, 
establishing a framework for use of electronic signatures for secure 
transactions with government, and providing online access to documents 
filed electronically with federal courts. Appendix I contains a 
complete list of the Title II sections included in our review.

OMB and Agencies Have Made Progress Implementing Major Provisions of 
the E-Government Act of 2002: 

Overall, OMB and federal agencies have made progress implementing 
Titles I and II of the E-Gov Act. In April 2003, OMB established the 
Office of E-Government (also known as the Office of E-Government and 
Information Technology) and designated its Assistant Director for IT 
and E-Government as its Administrator. Also in April 2003, OMB issued 
its second E-Government Strategy,[Footnote 9] which laid out its 
approach to implementing the E-Gov Act. In August 2003, OMB issued 
guidance to agencies on implementing the act, and in March 2004, it 
issued its first annual report to Congress on implementation of the 
act.[Footnote 10] In its report to Congress, OMB summarized individual 
agency e-gov reports, described actions taken to address the act's 
provisions, and provided details of the operation of the E-Government 
Fund.

As shown in table 1, OMB and designated federal agencies have taken 
steps to implement the provisions of most of the major sections of 
Titles I and II of the E-Gov Act that we reviewed.[Footnote 11] 
Specifically, apart from general requirements applicable to all 
agencies, OMB and designated agencies have already implemented the 
provisions of 7 of the 18 major sections, have actions in progress to 
address provisions of another 7 sections, and have not fully addressed 
provisions of the remaining 4 sections. Each of these 18 sections 
includes many specific provisions, such as developing and issuing 
guidance and policies, conducting studies, initiating pilot projects, 
and establishing specific programs and working groups. Appendix III 
contains details of the specific provisions in each of these sections 
and their current implementation status.

Table 1: Summary Implementation Status of Major Sections from Titles I 
and II of the E-Gov Act: 

Section reviewed: 101: Office of Electronic Government; 
Status[A]: Implemented.

Section reviewed: Chief Information Officers Council; 
Status[A]: Implemented.

Section reviewed: E-Government Fund; 
Status[A]: Implemented.

Section reviewed: Program to Encourage Innovative Solutions; 
Status[ A]: Not fully addressed.

Section reviewed: E-Government Report; 
Status[A]: Implemented.

Section reviewed: 203: Electronic Signatures (excluding 203(b)); 
Status[A]: In progress.

Section reviewed: 204: Federal Internet Portal; 
Status[A]: Implemented.

Section reviewed: 205: Federal Courts; 
Status[A]: In progress.

Section reviewed: 206: Regulatory Agencies[B]; 
Status[A]: In progress.

Section reviewed: 207: Accessibility, Usability, and Preservation of 
Government Information (excluding 207(e)(4), (f)(2) and g(2)); 
Status[ A]: Not fully addressed.

Section reviewed: 208: Privacy Provisions (excluding 208(b)(1)); 
Status[A]: Implemented.

Section reviewed: 209: IT Workforce Development (excluding 209(b)(2) 
and (b)(4)); 
Status[A]: In progress.

Section reviewed: 211: State and Local Government Use of Federal Supply 
Schedules; 
Status[A]: Implemented.

Section reviewed: 212: Integrated Reporting Study and Pilot Projects; 
Status[A]: In progress.

Section reviewed: 213: Community Technology Centers; 
Status[A]: In progress.

Section reviewed: 214: Enhancing Crisis Management through Advanced 
Information Technology; 
Status[A]: Not fully addressed.

Section reviewed: 215: Disparities in Access to the Internet; 
Status[ A]: Not fully addressed.

Section reviewed: 216: Common Protocols for Geographic Information 
Systems; 
Status[A]: In progress. 

Source: GAO.

[A] The E-Government Fund, E-Government Report, and Federal Internet 
Portal provisions of the act, while considered implemented, require 
ongoing and future activities (i.e., annual reports and maintenance of 
the federal Internet portal).

[B] For section 206, we assessed governmentwide implementation by 
reviewing the status of the e-Rulemaking initiative.

[End of table]

OMB and designated federal agencies are taking actions to implement the 
provisions of the act in most cases; however, the act's requirements 
have not always been fully addressed. In several cases, actions taken 
do not satisfy the requirements of the act, or no significant action 
has been taken.

Progress in Implementing Provisions with Statutory Deadlines: 

In most cases, OMB and designated federal agencies have taken 
responsive action to address the act's requirements with statutory 
deadlines, although these have not always been completed within 
stipulated time frames. For example, OMB established the Interagency 
Committee on Government Information in June 2003, within the deadline 
prescribed by the act. The committee is to develop recommendations on 
the categorization of government information and public access to 
electronic information. In another example, as required by section 211, 
GSA developed and issued procedures for the acquisition of IT by state 
and local governments through Federal Supply Schedules, which 
previously had been available only to federal agencies. Although the 
act required that the procedures be issued by January 17, 2003, GSA did 
not finalize the new procedures until May 2004. The agency had issued a 
proposed rule to implement the procedures on January 23, 2003, and an 
interim rule on May 7, 2003.

In one case, OMB has not taken fully responsive action to address the 
requirements of the act. Specifically, OMB did not ensure that a study 
on using IT to enhance crisis preparedness and response was conducted 
that addresses the content specified by the act. Section 214 of the act 
required, within 90 days of enactment, that OMB ensure that this study 
is conducted, and it specifies the content of the study. For example, 
the study was required to address a research and implementation 
strategy for the effective use of IT in crisis response and consequence 
management. OMB was further required to report on findings and 
recommendations from this study within 2 years of the study's 
initiation. According to DHS officials, a study conducted by the MITRE 
Corporation for Project SAFECOM[Footnote 12] fulfills this requirement. 
However, the MITRE study--which was chiefly an assessment of a Web tool 
for disseminating information about solutions to the problem of 
interoperability among first responders' communications systems--did 
not address the content specified by the act. For example, the study 
did not include research regarding use of IT to enhance crisis 
preparedness, nor did it include a research and implementation strategy 
for more effective use of IT in crisis response and consequence 
management. Until the required elements of the study are addressed, OMB 
may not be able to make a fully informed response to the act's 
requirement that it report on findings and recommendations for 
improving the use of IT in coordinating and facilitating information on 
disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

In another case, GSA has not taken fully responsive action to address 
the requirements of the act. Specifically, Section 215 required the 
Administrator of GSA to contract with NAS by March 17, 2003, to conduct 
a study on disparities in Internet access for online government 
services. GSA was to submit a report to Congress on the findings, 
conclusions, and recommendations of the study by December 2004. GSA 
officials reported that they were unable to request funds as part of 
the fiscal year 2003 or 2004 budget cycles because the act passed in 
December 2002, after fiscal year 2003 had begun and the deadline for 
fiscal year 2004 agency budget submissions (August 2002) had passed. 
Although GSA officials did not provide any information regarding their 
actions for fiscal year 2005, they reported that the agency had 
requested the funds authorized in the act for the fiscal year 2006 
budget cycle and was working on compiling an interim study based on 
existing research on disparities in access to the Internet. This 
compilation report is expected to be completed by December 2004 and 
submitted to Congress in OMB's annual report on implementation of the 
act.

For those provisions with future deadlines, OMB and agencies have taken 
action to implement the act. For example, under section 207 of the act, 
by December 2004, the Interagency Committee on Government Information 
must submit recommendations to OMB and to the Archivist of the United 
States on the categorization of government information and how to apply 
the Federal Records Act to information on the Internet and other 
electronic records. The committee structure, work plans, and interim 
products show progress toward meeting this deadline. As another 
example, under section 205 of the act, federal courts are required to 
establish Web sites by April 2005 that provide information such as 
location, contact information, and local and individual rules. By April 
2007, these sites must also provide access to documents that are filed 
electronically. In June 2004, officials from the Administrative Office 
of the Courts reported that all 198 federal courts had established Web 
sites, 10 months before the April 2005 deadline. Court officials also 
reported that the individual court Web sites were making progress 
providing the information stipulated in the act and that 128 of the 
courts already allowed access to documents filed electronically, in 
advance of the April 2007 deadline.

Progress in Implementing Provisions without Statutory Deadlines: 

As with the provisions specifying deadlines, in most cases where 
deadlines are not specified, OMB and federal agencies have either fully 
implemented the provisions or demonstrated positive action toward 
implementation. For example, in May 2003, the E-Gov Administrator 
issued a memorandum detailing procedures for requesting funds from the 
E-Government Fund, although the act did not specify a deadline for this 
action. As stipulated by the act, the E-Government Fund is to be used 
to support projects that enable the federal government to expand its 
ability to conduct activities electronically. Similarly, section 208 
requires the Director of OMB to develop policies and guidelines for 
agencies on the conduct of privacy impact assessments but does not 
stipulate a deadline. In September 2003, OMB issued guidance for 
implementing the privacy provisions of the E-Government Act, including 
guidance on conducting privacy impact assessments.

In two instances in which statutory deadlines were not specified, OMB's 
actions have not yet fully addressed the act's requirements. 
Specifically: 

* OMB has not established a program to satisfy the requirements in 
section 101 (44 U.S.C. 3605), which requires the Administrator to 
establish and promote a governmentwide program to encourage contractor 
innovation and excellence in facilitating the development and 
enhancement of electronic government services and processes. OMB 
officials reported that no program had been established specifically to 
satisfy the requirements of 44 U.S.C. 3605. The OIRA Information Policy 
and Technology (IPT) Branch Chief and other OMB officials stated that 
they believed the mandated program was not necessary because the 
functions of such a program were being accomplished through other 
ongoing OMB initiatives, such as the SmartBuy initiative,[Footnote 13] 
the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) Web portal,[Footnote 
14] and the recently inaugurated "lines of business" 
initiatives.[Footnote 15] Specifically, the officials stated that a 
recently issued request for information[Footnote 16] (RFI) for several 
of the lines of business initiatives addressed the act's requirement 
that, under the stipulated program, announcements be issued seeking 
unique and innovative solutions. However, while OMB's recent RFI 
represents one example of an announcement seeking innovative solutions, 
it does not represent a commitment to issuing such announcements and 
promoting innovative solutions on an ongoing basis. In contrast, 
establishing a dedicated program--as stipulated by the act--would 
represent such a commitment. Until OMB establishes such a program, it 
is at risk of not fully meeting the objective of this section to 
encourage contractor innovation and excellence in facilitating the 
development and enhancement of electronic government services and 
processes.

* OMB has not yet taken sufficient action to ensure the development and 
maintenance of a repository and Web site of information about research 
and development funded by the federal government, as required by 
section 207 of the act. In its fiscal year 2003 report to Congress, OMB 
reported that an analysis had been conducted of the National Science 
Foundation's "Research and Development in the United States" database 
system and that the system was closely aligned with the act's 
requirements. However, OMB also said it had not yet determined whether 
the National Science Foundation's system would serve as the repository 
required by the act. Until OMB decides on a specific course of action, 
it may not fully meet the objective of section 207 to improve the 
methods by which government information, including information on the 
Internet, is organized, preserved, and made accessible to the public.

Conclusions: 

In most cases, OMB and designated federal agencies have made progress 
in addressing the specific requirements of the E-Government Act of 
2002. OMB and federal agencies made efforts to implement provisions 
before the expiration of statutory deadlines that have now passed, and 
they are also taking positive steps toward implementing provisions 
without deadlines or with deadlines in the future.

Despite the overall progress, in several cases, actions taken do not 
satisfy the requirements of the act, or no significant action has been 
taken. In one case--the requirement to conduct a study in disparities 
in access to the Internet--the responsible agency, GSA, is taking steps 
to address the act's requirements, even though a statutory deadline has 
already passed. In other cases, OMB has either taken actions that are 
related to the act's provisions but do not fully address them, or it 
has not yet made key decisions that would allow actions to take place. 
Specifically, OMB has not ensured that a study on using IT to enhance 
crisis preparedness and response has been conducted that addresses the 
content specified by the act, established a required program to 
encourage contractor innovation and excellence in facilitating the 
development and enhancement of electronic government services and 
processes, or ensured the development and maintenance of a required 
repository and Web site of information about research and development 
funded by the federal government. Until these issues are addressed, the 
government is at risk of not fully achieving the objective of the 
E-Government Act to promote better use of the Internet and other 
information technologies to improve government services to its 
citizens, internal government operations, and opportunities for citizen 
participation in government.

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To ensure the successful implementation of the E-Government Act and its 
goal of promoting better use of the Internet and other information 
technologies to improve government services to citizens, internal 
government operations, and opportunities for citizen participation in 
government, we recommend that the Director, OMB, direct the 
Administrator of the Office of E-Government to carry out the following 
three actions: 

* ensure that the report to Congress regarding the study on enhancement 
of crisis response required under section 214 addresses the content 
specified by the act;

* establish and promote a governmentwide program, as prescribed by 44 
U.S.C. 3605, to encourage contractor innovation and excellence in 
facilitating the development and enhancement of electronic government 
services and processes; and: 

* ensure the development and maintenance of a governmentwide repository 
and Web site that integrates information about research and development 
funded by the federal government.

Agency Comments: 

We received oral comments on a draft of this report from 
representatives of OMB's Offices of Information and Regulatory Affairs, 
E-Government, and General Counsel. We also received oral comments from 
representatives of DHS's Development Science and Technology Directorate 
and GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy. These representatives 
generally agreed with the content of our draft report and our 
recommendations and provided technical comments, which have been 
incorporated where appropriate. GSA officials also provided updated 
information regarding the status of the required actions under the 
community technology centers provision of the act (section 213), which 
has been incorporated in the report.

Regarding our recommendation that OMB ensure that its report to 
Congress regarding the study on enhancement of crisis response 
addresses the content specified by the act (section 214), OMB officials 
agreed that the study conducted by Project SAFECOM did not address the 
requirements of the act. OMB officials stated that a new study would be 
initiated to meet the requirements of the act.

Regarding our recommendation that OMB establish and promote a 
governmentwide program, as prescribed by 44 U.S.C. 3605, to encourage 
contractor innovation and excellence in facilitating the development 
and enhancement of electronic government services and processes, OMB 
officials reiterated their position that OMB's ongoing activities 
address the substance of the required program and that establishing a 
separate new program could introduce delay. The officials stated that a 
recently issued RFI for several of the recently inaugurated "lines of 
business" initiatives is an example of an announcement seeking 
innovative solutions, as required by the act. We made changes to the 
report to reflect that the RFI partially addressed the act's 
requirements. However, while the RFI represents one example of an 
announcement seeking innovative solutions, it does not represent a 
commitment to issuing such announcements and promoting innovative 
solutions on an ongoing basis. In contrast, establishing a dedicated 
program--as stipulated by the act--would represent such a commitment. 
Until OMB establishes such a program, it is at risk of not fully 
meeting the objective of this section to encourage contractor 
innovation and excellence in facilitating the development and 
enhancement of electronic government services and processes.

Unless you publicly announce the contents of this report earlier, we 
plan no further distribution until 30 days from the report date. At 
that time, we will provide copies of this report to the Director of 
OMB, the GSA Administrator, and the Secretary of Homeland Security. In 
addition, the report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site 
at [Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. Should you have any questions about 
this report, please contact me at (202) 512-6240 or John de Ferrari, 
Assistant Director, at (202) 512-6335. We can also be reached by e-mail 
at [Hyperlink, koontzl@gao.gov] and [Hyperlink, deferrarij@gao.gov], 
respectively. Other key contributors to this report included Barbara 
Collier, Sandra Kerr, David F. Plocher, and Jamie Pressman.

Signed by: 

Linda D. Koontz: 
Director, Information Management Issues: 

[End of section]

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Objective, Scope, and Methodology: 

Our objective was to assess the implementation status of major 
provisions of the E-Government Act of 2002, Titles I and II.

Titles I and II of the act contain numerous provisions that cover a 
wide range of activities across the federal government aimed at 
promoting electronic government. Because it was not feasible to conduct 
in-depth assessments of all the provisions of Titles I and II for this 
engagement, we conducted a high-level review of the implementation 
status of major provisions of the act, determining whether actions have 
been taken or are under way to address their major provisions. Listed 
below are the sections included in this review, as agreed.

* Title I, Section 101--Management and Promotion of Electronic 
Government Services: 

* Title II, Section 203--Compatibility of Executive Agency Methods for 
Use and Acceptance of Electronic Signatures: 

* Title II, Section 204--Federal Internet Portal: 

* Title II, Section 205--Federal Courts: 

* Title II, Section 206--Regulatory Agencies: 

* Title II, Section 207--Accessibility, Usability, and Preservation of 
Government Information: 

* Title II, Section 208--Privacy Provisions: 

* Title II, Section 209--Federal IT Workforce Development: 

* Title II, Section 211--Authorization for Acquisition of Information 
Technology by State and Local Governments through Federal Supply 
Schedules: 

* Title II, Section 212--Integrated Reporting Study and Pilot Projects: 

* Title II, Section 213--Community Technology Centers: 

* Title II, Section 214--Enhancing Crisis Management through Advanced 
Information Technology: 

* Title II, Section 215--Disparities in Access to the Internet: 

* Title II, Section 216--Common Protocols for Geographic Information 
Systems: 

We did not include section 201, which provides definitions, or section 
202, which prescribes general requirements applying to all major 
federal agencies, in our review. Similarly, for the sections we 
reviewed, we did not assess the implementation of general requirements 
applying to all federal agencies, such as sections 203(b), which 
addresses agency implementation of electronic signatures; 207(e)(4), 
which requires annual agency reporting on accessibility, usability, and 
preservation of government information; 207(f)(2), stipulating agency 
requirements for making government information available on the 
Internet or by other means; 207(g)(2), requiring agencies to provide 
information for the repository on federal research and development; 
208(b)(1), which stipulates agency requirements related to privacy 
impact assessments; and 209(b)(2) and (4), stipulating requirements for 
agency information technology training programs. For section 206, we 
assessed governmentwide implementation by reviewing the status of the 
e-Rulemaking initiative. Finally, we did not assess Section 210, which 
concerns share-in-savings contracts, since this section mandates a 
separate, more in-depth GAO review on the implementation and effects of 
this provision at a future date.

To assess the implementation status of the major provisions, we 
interviewed cognizant officials from the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB), the General Services Administration (GSA), and other 
agencies that have specific responsibilities under Title II. For 
several sections, the act requires specific actions, such as the 
initiation of pilot projects, establishment of interagency workgroups 
or committees, development and issuance of guidance/policies, conduct 
of a study, or issuance of reports. The majority of these actions 
include statutory deadlines for completion. For provisions with 
deadlines that have passed, we determined whether the requirement had 
been met. For provisions with deadlines that had not yet expired or 
that had no explicit deadline attached, we obtained information on 
actions taken and progress made to date. We analyzed relevant 
documentation, including OMB's fiscal year 2003 report to Congress on 
implementation status of the E-Gov Act. We determined the 
implementation status of the major provisions by comparing the 
information we obtained to the requirements established in the act.

We assessed the overall status of the major sections according to the 
following three categories: 

1. Implemented. A section was assessed as implemented if the 
responsible agency had completed responsive actions to address each of 
the section's requirements that we reviewed.[Footnote 17]

2. In progress. We assessed status as "in progress" if responsive 
action was under way to address each of the section's requirements, 
even if statutory deadlines had not been fully met.

3. Not fully addressed. We assessed a section's status as not fully 
addressed when an agency had taken actions that did not meet the 
requirements specified in the act or had not taken action on 
requirements with imminent or expired deadlines.

Our work was conducted from April 2004 to September 2004, in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards.

[End of section]

Appendix II: Federal Information and IT Management Statutory Framework: 

For more than 20 years before the enactment of the E-Government Act, 
the management of federal information and information technology (IT) 
was governed by a number of issue-specific laws and one law that 
coordinates across those issue areas. Examples of the issue-specific 
laws are the Privacy Act, which governs the protection of personal 
privacy in government records; the Freedom of Information Act, which 
provides for public access to government information; and the Clinger-
Cohen Act, which applies investment control concepts to IT management. 
The coordinating law is the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). Like the 
E-Government Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act gives management 
responsibilities to agencies and oversight responsibilities to the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The PRA, as first enacted in 1980 and as significantly revised in 1995, 
established the concept of "information resources management" (IRM) to 
coordinate information and IT management functions throughout the 
information life cycle, from collection through disposition.[Footnote 
18] The PRA established the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs (OIRA) for governmentwide oversight and stated that the 
Administrator of OIRA should "serve as principal adviser to the 
Director [of OMB] on Federal information resources management 
policy."[Footnote 19] Under the PRA IRM umbrella, OIRA is responsible 
for overseeing: 

* information collection and the control of paperwork, including review 
of agency information collection proposals;

* information dissemination;

* statistical policy and coordination;

* records management, including oversight of compliance with the 
Federal Records Act;

* privacy, including oversight of compliance with the Privacy Act;

* information security, including oversight of compliance with the 
Federal Information Security Management Act;

* information disclosure, including oversight of compliance with the 
Freedom of Information Act; and: 

* information technology, including oversight of the Clinger-Cohen Act 
and promoting the use of information technology "to improve the 
productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of Federal programs, 
including through dissemination of public information and the reduction 
of information collection burdens on the public."[Footnote 20]

The E-Government Act of 2002 added to OMB's statutory PRA duties with 
requirements to promote "electronic government," defined as government 
use of Web-based Internet applications and other information 
technologies to enhance access to and delivery of government 
information and services and to improve government operations.[Footnote 
21] To oversee these electronic government activities, the E-Government 
Act created the OMB Office of Electronic Government, to be headed by an 
Administrator.[Footnote 22] The E-Gov Administrator's responsibilities 
include assisting the Director in carrying out the act and other 
e-government initiatives and working with the OIRA Administrator and 
other OMB offices to oversee implementation of e-government under the 
E-Government Act and other laws, including the PRA.[Footnote 23]

Both the OIRA Administrator and the E-Government Administrator report 
to the OMB Deputy Director for Management, who exercises all functions 
of the OMB Director with regard to information policy and other 
management functions under 31 U.S.C. 503(b), as enacted by the Chief 
Financial Officers Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-576, Nov. 15, 1990).

[End of section]

Appendix III: Implementation Status of Major Provisions from Titles I 
and II of the E-Government Act of 2002: 

Titles I and II of the E-Government Act of 2002 include provisions 
covering a wide range of activities across the federal government aimed 
at promoting electronic government. The Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) and other federal agencies likewise have a variety of activities 
under way that address these provisions. This appendix summarizes the 
status of implementation of the act's requirements that we reviewed. As 
noted in appendix I, we did not review all sections of Titles I and II, 
nor did we review the implementation of general requirements applying 
to all federal agencies.

Office of Electronic Government: Title I, Section 101 (44 U.S.C. 3602): 

Section 3602 of Title 44 of the U.S. Code[Footnote 24] establishes the 
Office of Electronic Government (E-Government) within OMB, which is to 
be headed by a presidentially appointed Administrator. The 
Administrator is required to assist both the OMB Director and the 
Deputy Director for Management, as well as work with the Administrator 
of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in setting 
strategic direction for and assisting in implementing electronic 
government. In addition, the Director is to ensure that there are 
adequate resources in OMB to carry out its functions under the act.

OMB has taken responsive action to address the requirements of this 
section. The Office of E-Government was established on April 17, 2003, 
with an Administrator appointed on the same day. OMB officials stated 
that this office, working closely with the OIRA Administrator and 
OIRA's IPT Branch, has taken steps to carry out the functions specified 
in the act. For example, to set strategic direction for electronic 
government, OMB issued an E-Government Strategy in April 2003.[Footnote 
25] OMB officials said they plan to issue an update to the E-Government 
Strategy during the fall of 2004.

OMB had been working on electronic government issues before the E-Gov 
Act was passed and the Office of E-Government officially established. 
For example, OMB issued its first E-Government Strategy in February 
2002,[Footnote 26] which designated a number of high-profile 
initiatives to lead the government's transformation to 
e-government.[Footnote 27] This work was performed through OIRA's IPT 
Branch and supervised by the Associate Director for Information 
Technology and E-Government (a position that was the predecessor to the 
current E-Government Administrator position).[Footnote 28]

OMB officials reported that under the current organizational structure, 
the E-Government Administrator works collaboratively with the OIRA 
Administrator (primarily through working with OIRA's IPT Branch) to 
carry out the requirements of the act. Along with its E-Government 
Strategies, OMB officials cited its oversight of the e-government 
initiatives as examples of setting strategic direction for 
e-government.

Regarding resources for carrying out the functions of the act, OMB 
officials reported that as of June 14, 2004, the Office of E-Government 
consisted of eight full-time positions, including the Administrator, 
Deputy Administrator, Special Assistant, Chief Architect, and four 
Portfolio Managers. In addition, four employees on detail from other 
agencies provide further assistance. Finally, there are 12 employees in 
OIRA's IPT Branch who also support the activities of the Office of 
E-Gov. Accordingly, the IPT Branch chief reports both to the 
Administrator of the Office of E-Government and to the Administrator of 
OIRA.

Chief Information Officers Council: Title I, Section 101 (44 U.S.C. 
3603): 

Section 3603 of Title 44 codifies the establishment, structure, and 
responsibilities of the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council, which 
was established on July 16, 1996, by Executive Order 13011. The CIO 
Council's responsibilities include developing recommendations for 
information and information technology (IT) management policies, 
procedures, and standards; sharing management best practices; and 
assessing and addressing the needs of the federal government's IT 
workforce.

The CIO Council has taken responsive action to address the requirements 
of this section of the act. Membership on the CIO Council includes CIOs 
from federal executive agencies, the OMB Deputy Director for 
Management, the E-Government Administrator, and the OIRA Administrator. 
The E-Government Administrator is to lead the council on behalf of the 
Deputy Director for Management, who serves as the council chair. 
According to its strategic plan for fiscal year 2004, the CIO Council's 
structure and activities are aligned with the applicable provisions of 
the E-Gov Act. (Fig. 1 shows the organization of the CIO Council.) For 
example, the Best Practices Committee has published recommendations and 
experiences on the CIO Council's Web site 
[Hyperlink, http://www.cio.gov] and contributed to the development of 
resources such as its report on Lessons Learned on Information 
Technology Performance Management, which is also available on the Web 
site. In addition, the Architecture and Infrastructure Committee has 
provided models for a component-based architecture, which assists 
agencies in identifying opportunities to share information resources. 
Furthermore, the Workforce and Human Capital for IT Committee is 
working with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to address issues 
regarding recruitment and development of the federal IT workforce.

Figure 1: CIO Council Organization Chart: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Administration of the E-Government Fund: Title I, Section 101 (44 
U.S.C. 3604): 

Section 3604 of Title 44 establishes the E-Government Fund, which is to 
be used to support projects that enable the federal government to 
expand its ability to conduct activities electronically. The Director 
of OMB, assisted by the E-Government Administrator, approves which 
projects will receive support from the E-Government Fund. The 
E-Government Administrator is required to establish procedures for 
accepting and reviewing proposals for funding. In addition, the 
Director of OMB is required to report on the operation of the fund in 
OMB's annual report to Congress on the implementation status of the 
E-Government Act. GSA is responsible for administration of the fund and 
is required to submit to Congress a notification of how the funds are 
to be allocated to projects approved by OMB. Table 2 summarizes the 
actions required by this provision.

Table 2: Actions Required under 44 U.S.C. 3604: 

Action: Develop procedures for accepting and reviewing proposals for 
funding; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Submit a report on operation of the E-Government Fund in the 
annual E-Government Act Report required under section 3606; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: Not later than March 1 of each year.

Action: Submit a notification and description of how the e-government 
funds are to be allocated and how the funds will further the purposes 
of section 3604; 
Responsibility: GSA Administrator; 
Statutory deadline: Funds provided from the E-Government Fund cannot be 
transferred to any agency until 15 days after the notifications and 
descriptions are provided to Congress. 

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

OMB has taken responsive action to address the requirements of this 
section. In May 2003, the agency issued a memorandum detailing 
procedures for requesting funds from the E-Government Fund. The 
memorandum establishes a process for submitting proposals and details 
the process by which OMB will review proposals.

In March 2004, OMB submitted its first annual report to Congress on 
implementation of the E-Government Act. As required by 44 U.S.C. 3604, 
this report detailed the operations of the E-Government Fund for fiscal 
years 2002 to 2003. Also, in accordance with its responsibilities in 
administering the fund, GSA submitted notifications and descriptions to 
Congress on how the e-gov funds were to be allocated and spent for the 
approved projects. Table 3 summarizes the projects funded for fiscal 
years 2002 to 2004, as reported by GSA's notifications to Congress.

Table 3: Summary of E-Government Fund Usage, Fiscal Years 2002-2005: 

Fiscal year: 2002; 
Authorized by the E-Gov Act: N/A; 
Appropriation: $5 million[A]; 
Allocated to projects: $4.89 million.

Fiscal year: 2003; 
Authorized by the E-Gov Act: $45 million; 
Appropriation: $4.967 million; 
Allocated to projects: $5.067 million.

Fiscal year: 2004; 
Authorized by the E-Gov Act: $50 million; 
Appropriation: $3 million; 
Allocated to projects: $3 million.

Fiscal year: 2005; 
Authorized by the E-Gov Act: $100 million; 
Appropriation: N/A; 
Allocated to projects: N/A. 

Source: GAO analysis of GSA data.

[A] Of the fiscal year 2002 appropriation, $100,000 was not allocated 
to e-gov projects. The fiscal year 2003 appropriation of $5 million was 
reduced by the rescission of 0.65 percent under Pub. L. 108-7. The 
unallocated $100,000 from fiscal year 2002 was then added to the 
remaining $4.967 million, for a total of $5.067 million available for 
allocation to e-gov projects in fiscal year 2003.

[End of table]

In fiscal years 2003 and 2004, the amount requested by OMB for the fund 
was close to the amount authorized by the act, yet in the fiscal year 
2005 budget, $5 million was requested although $100 million was 
authorized. An OMB official stated that OMB requested significantly 
less than what was authorized by the act because it was seeking 
authority in fiscal year 2005 to allow surplus receipts in the General 
Supply Fund[Footnote 29] to be spent on e-government projects.

Program to Encourage Innovative Solutions: Title I, Section 101 (44 
U.S.C. 3605): 

Section 3605 of Title 44 requires the Administrator of the Office of 
E-Government to establish and promote a governmentwide program to 
encourage contractor innovation and excellence in facilitating the 
development and enhancement of e-government services and processes. 
Under this program, the E-Government Administrator is required to issue 
announcements seeking innovative solutions as well as convene a 
multiagency technical assistance team to screen proposals. The 
E-Government Administrator is to either consider the screened proposals 
for funding from the E-Government Fund or forward the proposals to the 
appropriate executive agencies. Table 4 summarizes the actions required 
by this provision.

Table 4: Actions Required under 44 U.S.C. 3605: 

Action: Establish a program to encourage contractor innovation and 
excellence; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Issue announcements seeking innovative solutions; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Convene a multiagency technical assistance team to screen 
proposals submitted in response to announcements; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given. 

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

OMB has not fully addressed the requirements of this section of the 
act. OMB officials reported that no program had been established 
specifically to satisfy the requirements of 44 U.S.C. 3605. The OIRA 
IPT Branch Chief and other OMB officials stated that they believed the 
mandated program was not necessary because the functions of such a 
program were being accomplished through other ongoing OMB initiatives, 
such as the SmartBuy initiative,[Footnote 30] the Federal Business 
Opportunities (FedBizOpps) Web portal,[Footnote 31] and the recently 
inaugurated "lines of business" initiatives.[Footnote 32] 
Specifically, the officials stated that a recently issued request for 
information[Footnote 33] (RFI) for several of the lines of business 
initiatives addressed the act's requirement that, under the stipulated 
program, announcements be issued seeking unique and innovative 
solutions. However, while OMB's recent RFI represents one example of an 
announcement seeking innovative solutions, it does not represent a 
commitment to issuing such announcements and promoting innovative 
solutions on an ongoing basis. In contrast, establishing a dedicated 
program--as stipulated by the act--would represent such a commitment. 
Until OMB establishes such a program, it is at risk of not fully 
meeting the objective of this section to encourage contractor 
innovation and excellence in facilitating the development and 
enhancement of electronic government services and processes.

E-Government Report: Title I, Section 101 (44 U.S.C. 3606): 

Section 3606 of Title 44 requires the Director of OMB to develop an 
annual e-government status report and submit it to Congress (see table 
5). The report is required to summarize information reported by 
agencies,[Footnote 34] describe compliance with other goals and 
provisions of the act, and detail the operation of the E-Government 
Fund.

Table 5: Action Required under 44 U.S.C. 3606: 

Action: Submit an e-government status report to Congress; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: March 1 of each year.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

OMB has taken responsive action to address the requirements of this 
section. The agency submitted its first annual E-Government Act status 
report to Congress in March 2004. The report was based on individual 
agency e-government reports submitted to OMB in December 2003 and 
supplemented by fiscal year 2005 agency budget submissions, as 
appropriate. OMB's e-government status report contained the required 
elements described above.

Electronic Signatures: Title II, Section 203: 

Section 203 of the E-Government Act addresses implementation of 
electronic signatures to enable secure electronic transactions with the 
government. The provision in this section that we reviewed[Footnote 35] 
directs the GSA Administrator, supported by the Director of OMB, to 
establish a framework that allows for efficient interoperability among 
executive agencies when using electronic signatures, including 
processing of digital signatures. Table 6 summarizes the actions 
required by this provision.

Table 6: Action Required under Section 203 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Establish a framework to allow interoperability when using 
electronic signatures, including processing of digital signatures; 
Responsibility: GSA Administrator, supported by the Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

GSA, with the assistance of OMB and the National Institute of Standards 
and Technology (NIST), has responsive actions under way to address the 
requirements of this section. In December 2003, the Director of OMB 
issued guidance on electronic authentication[Footnote 36] to assist 
agencies in determining their authentication needs for electronic 
transactions, including the use of electronic signatures. The guidance 
directs agencies to conduct e-authentication risk assessments on 
electronic transactions to ensure a consistent approach across 
government. As a follow-up to OMB's guidance, in June 2004, NIST issued 
technical guidance on requirements for electronic transactions 
requiring authentication.[Footnote 37]

OMB reported in its fiscal year 2003 e-government report to Congress 
that the activities of the e-Authentication initiative, managed by GSA, 
begin to meet the requirements of section 203 in establishing a 
framework to allow interoperability. The e-Authentication initiative is 
intended to minimize the burden on businesses, the public, and 
government when obtaining Internet services by providing a secure 
infrastructure for online transactions. The initiative is currently 
focused on setting a framework of policies and standards for agencies 
to use in procuring commercial products to meet their authentication 
needs. In July 2004, the initiative released documentation on its 
technical approach, which is based on an architectural framework that 
allows multiple protocols and federation schemes to be supported over 
time.[Footnote 38] The technical approach includes provisions for the 
use of electronic signatures when conducting electronic transactions.

Federal Internet Portal: Title II, Section 204: 

Section 204 of the E-Government Act requires the Director of OMB to 
work with the GSA Administrator to maintain and promote an integrated 
Internet-based system that provides the public with access to 
government information and services (see table 7). To the extent 
practicable, the federal Internet portal is to be designed and operated 
according to specific criteria; for example, the portal is to provide 
information and services directed to key groups (e.g., citizens, 
businesses, other governments), endeavor to make Internet-based 
services relevant to a given citizen activity available from a single 
point, integrate information according to function or topic, and 
consolidate access to federal information with Internet-based 
information and services provided by state, local, and tribal 
governments.

Table 7: Actions Required under Section 204 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Maintain and promote an integrated Internet-based system that 
provides the public with access to government information and services; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB working with the GSA Administrator; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

GSA has taken responsive action to address the requirements of this 
section. As indicated in OMB's fiscal year 2003 report to Congress, 
FirstGov.gov serves as the federal Internet portal prescribed under 
section 204. FirstGov.gov was launched in September 2000 as an 
interagency initiative, managed by GSA and supported and assisted by 
OMB and federal agencies. With this support and assistance, GSA 
established the portal to provide the public with access to U.S. 
government information and services, and GSA has maintained and 
promoted it since that time.

The portal's design and operation generally adhere to the criteria 
established by section 204. For example, one of the ways the portal 
organizes its content is by key group, including citizens, businesses, 
nonprofits, federal employees, and other governments (state, local, and 
tribal). FirstGov.gov also organizes content according to online 
services rather than organization; this allows the public to conduct 
business with the government via the Internet without having to know 
how the government is organized. According to the FirstGov.gov program 
manager, many citizens do not know what services are federal versus 
state or local, and so FirstGov.gov searches not only federal Web 
sites, but also state sites. In addition, through its browse feature, 
FirstGov.gov links to state, tribal, and local government home pages, 
as well as state services such as departments of motor vehicles and 
state lottery pages. Table 8 provides usage statistics for 
Firstgov.gov.

Table 8: Usage Statistics for FirstGov.gov, Fiscal Years 2002-2004: 

Fiscal year: 2002; 
Unique visitors: 33 million; 
Page views: 91 million; 
Sites that link to FirstGov: 77,000.

Fiscal year: 2003; 
Unique visitors: 63 million; 
Page views: 176 million; 
Sites that link to FirstGov: 129,000.

Fiscal year: 2004[A]; 
Unique visitors: 70 million; 
Page views: 200 million; 
Sites that link to FirstGov: 209,000. 

Source: GAO compilation of GSA-provided data.

[A] Usage statistics for 2004 are projected.

[End of table]

GSA has several activities under way to promote the portal, including a 
nationwide television public service advertising campaign that began in 
June 2003 to educate citizens on how to find and use the information on 
FirstGov.gov. GSA officials estimate that the campaign has been used in 
62 percent of the nation's television markets. In June 2004, GSA's 
Office of Citizen Services and Communications launched a public service 
advertising campaign to encourage citizens to take advantage of federal 
information and services through FirstGov.gov and 1-800-FED-INFO. The 
campaign includes a television public service announcement, prerecorded 
radio messages, and print advertisements for magazines and newspapers.

Federal Courts: Title II, Section 205: 

Section 205 of the E-Government Act promotes public Internet access to 
federal court information. By April 2005, individual courts are 
required to establish and maintain Web sites to provide public access 
to specific types of information, such as location and contact 
information, court rules, case docket information, and opinions. In 
addition, the courts are required to make any documents filed 
electronically available to the public by April 2007. Privacy and 
security rules are to be established by the Supreme Court to protect 
electronically filed documents; however, the Judicial Conference may 
issue interim rules until the Supreme Court issues final rules. 
Finally, individual courts may defer compliance with the requirements 
of section 205 by submitting a notification to the Administrative 
Office of the Courts. Table 9 summarizes the actions required by this 
provision.

Table 9: Actions Required under Section 205 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Establish a Web site; 
Responsibility: Individual courts; 
Statutory deadline: April 17, 2005.

Action: Provide access to electronic filings; 
Responsibility: Individual courts; 
Statutory deadline: April 17, 2007.

Action: Issue interim rules to address privacy and security relating to 
electronic filing and public availability of documents; 
Responsibility: Judicial Conference; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Issue final rules to address privacy and security relating to 
electronic filing and public availability of documents; 
Responsibility: The Supreme Court; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Report to Congress on the adequacy of the Supreme Court's final 
rules to protect privacy and security; 
Responsibility: Judicial Conference; 
Statutory deadline: 1 year after Supreme Court's rules take effect; 
every 2 years thereafter.

Action: Report to Congress on notifications submitted to defer 
compliance with any requirements from section 205; 
Responsibility: Judicial Conference; 
Statutory deadline: April 17, 2004; every year thereafter. 

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

The federal courts have made progress establishing individual Web sites 
for the circuit, district, appellate, and bankruptcy courts, as 
required by this section of the act. Officials from the Administrative 
Office of the Courts reported that as of June 2004, all 198 courts had 
established individual Web sites, 10 months before the April 2005 
deadline. Court officials further reported that individual courts were 
making progress providing the information stipulated in the act on 
their Web sites.

Court officials reported that as of August 2004, 128 of the 198 courts 
had provided public Internet access to their electronic filings, in 
advance of the April 2007 deadline. In addition, court officials 
reported that district and bankruptcy courts will provide public 
Internet access to electronic filings by September 2005, and appellate 
courts will provide such access by 2006.

To address privacy and security concerns, in September 2003, the 
Judicial Conference adopted a policy permitting remote public access to 
criminal case file documents to be the same as public access at 
courthouses, with a requirement that filers remove personal data 
identifiers from documents filed electronically or on paper. While the 
act does not specify a deadline for the Supreme Court to issue final 
rules to protect privacy and security, federal court officials expect 
the Supreme Court to prescribe such rules by 2007. As required by the 
act, 1 year after the final rules take effect, and then every 2 years 
thereafter, the Judicial Conference will be responsible for submitting 
a report to Congress on the adequacy of the final rules to protect 
privacy and security.

To date, no notifications deferring compliance with the requirements of 
section 205 have been submitted to the Administrative Office of the 
Courts. However, the Judicial Conference submitted a report to 
Congress, dated April 2, 2004, noting that because the statutory 
deadlines for the establishment of the individual courts' Web sites and 
access to electronic filings (April 2005 and April 2007, respectively) 
have not passed, there are no notifications to report.

Regulatory Agencies: Title II, Section 206: 

Section 206 of the E-Government Act is aimed at enhancing public 
participation in government by electronic means and improving 
performance in the development and issuance of agency regulations 
through the use of information technology. This section, in part, calls 
for agencies, to the extent practicable, to accept submissions 
electronically (e.g., comments submitted on proposed rules) and to make 
electronic dockets--the full set of material related to a rule--
publicly available online. The Director of OMB is charged with 
establishing a timetable for agencies to implement these requirements 
in its first annual report to Congress on implementation of the act. 
Table 10 summarizes the actions required by this provision.

Table 10: Actions Required under Section 206 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: In rulemaking proceedings, to the extent practicable, provide 
for; 
* electronic submission of comments; 
* electronic dockets to be made publicly available online; 
Responsibility: Federal agencies; 
Statutory deadline: Timetable for agency compliance to be established 
by the Director of OMB.

Action: Establish a timetable for agency compliance with section 206; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: By the first annual report to Congress required 
under 44 U.S.C. 3606. 

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

OMB and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have actions under 
way to address the rulemaking requirements of this section. OMB 
designated the e-Rulemaking initiative, managed by EPA, as the vehicle 
for addressing these requirements of section 206. In January 2003, 
[Hyperlink, http://www.regulations.gov] was launched, which enables 
citizens and businesses to search for and respond electronically
[Footnote 39] to proposed rules open for comment in the Federal 
Register.[Footnote 40] The ability to search full rulemaking dockets--
the complete set of publicly available material (i.e., economic 
analyses, models, etc.) associated with a proposed rule--is not yet 
available; its availability is contingent on the development of a 
governmentwide electronic docket system.

In its fiscal year 2003 report to Congress, OMB established a goal of 
completing migrations to the common federal docket management system by 
September 2005, with agencies beginning migrations to the central 
system in September 2004. According to the e-Rulemaking director, this 
timetable is contingent on funding. The director stated that an 
operational version of the electronic docketing application would be 
ready by September 2005.

Accessibility, Usability, and Preservation of Government Information: 
Title II, Section 207: 

Section 207 of the E-Government Act requires the Director of OMB to 
establish an Interagency Committee on Government Information (ICGI) to 
develop recommendations on the categorization of government information 
and public access to electronic information. The Director of OMB is to 
issue guidance for agency Web sites and establish a public domain 
directory of federal government Web sites. Further, OMB is required to 
ensure the development and maintenance of a governmentwide repository 
and Web site that integrates information about research and development 
funded by the federal government. The ICGI is to submit recommendations 
to the Director of OMB on policies to improve reporting and 
dissemination of information related to research performed by federal 
agencies and federally funded development centers. Table 11 summarizes 
the actions required by this provision.

Table 11: Actions Required under Section 207 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Establish an Interagency Committee on Government Information 
(ICGI); 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: June 17, 2003.

Action: Submit recommendations to OMB on the adoption of standards for 
categorizing and indexing government information; 
Responsibility: ICGI; 
Statutory deadline: December 17, 2004.

Action: Issue policies based on the above ICGI recommendation; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: December 17, 2005.

Action: Submit recommendations to the Director of OMB and the Archivist 
on the adoption of policies and procedures for applying the Federal 
Records Act to government information on the Internet and other 
electronic records; 
Responsibility: ICGI; 
Statutory deadline: December 17, 2004.

Action: Issue policies based on the ICGI's recommendation for the 
above; 
Responsibility: Archivist; 
Statutory deadline: December 17, 2005.

Action: Develop guidance for agency Web sites; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: December 17, 2004.

Action: Establish a public domain directory of public federal 
government Web sites; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: December 17, 2004.

Action: Develop and maintain a governmentwide repository and Web site 
of research and development funded by the federal government; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB, in consultation with the Director of 
the Office of Science and Technology Policy; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Submit recommendations to the Director of OMB on policies to 
improve reporting and dissemination of information related to research 
performed by federal agencies and federally funded development centers; 
Responsibility: ICGI, working with the Director of the Office of 
Science and Technology Policy; 
Statutory deadline: June 17, 2004. 

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

Although OMB and the ICGI have taken steps toward complying with many 
of the provisions of this section, no significant action has been taken 
on one of them. Among the steps toward compliance is OMB's 
establishment of the ICGI on June 17, 2003; the committee consists of 
representatives from the National Archives and Records Administration, 
representatives of agency CIOs, and other relevant officers from the 
executive branch. The ICGI consists of an Executive Committee under the 
auspices of the CIO Council, as well as four working groups: 
Categorization of Government Information, Electronic Records Policy, 
Web Content Management, and E-Gov Act Access. The E-Gov Act Access 
working group was tasked with addressing the requirements of section 
213 (community technology centers) and section 215 (disparities in 
access to the Internet). The Executive Committee is co-chaired by 
OIRA's IPT Branch Chief and the Department of Commerce CIO.

ICGI's working groups have made progress toward meeting the deadlines 
for developing the various recommendations prescribed in section 207. 
In August 2004, the Categorization of Government Information working 
group published for public comment a recommendation for search 
interoperability, in preparation for the required December 2004 
submission of recommendations to OMB. In June 2004, the Electronic 
Records Policy working group, tasked with developing recommendations on 
the application of the Federal Records Act to government information on 
the Internet and other electronic records, released a report on 
barriers to effective management of government information on the 
Internet and other electronic records.[Footnote 41] The Web Content 
Management working group is assisting OMB with its responsibilities to 
issue guidance on standards for agency Web sites and establish a public 
domain directory of federal government Web sites. In June 2004, this 
working group submitted a report to OMB on recommended policies and 
guidelines for federal public Web sites.[Footnote 42] As for 
establishment of the public domain directory and subject taxonomies, 
the working group intends to build on the existing directory and 
taxonomies of the federal Internet portal prescribed under section 204.

OMB has not yet taken significant action to ensure the development and 
maintenance of a repository and Web site of information about research 
and development funded by the federal government, as required by the 
act. In its fiscal year 2003 report to Congress, OMB reported that an 
analysis had been conducted of the National Science Foundation's 
Research and Development in the United States (RaDiUS) database system 
and that the system was closely aligned with the act's requirements. 
However, OMB also said it had not yet determined whether RaDiUS would 
serve as the repository required by the act. Until OMB decides on a 
specific course of action, it may not fully meet the objective of 
section 207 to improve the methods by which government information, 
including information on the Internet, is organized, preserved, and 
made accessible to the public.

According to the executive sponsor of the Web Content Standards working 
group, the ICGI has addressed the requirement to make recommendations 
on policies to improve reporting and dissemination of federal research 
results in its June 2004 report on recommended policies and guidelines 
for federal public Web sites.

Privacy Provisions: Title II, Section 208: 

Section 208 of the E-Government Act is aimed at ensuring sufficient 
protection for the privacy of personal information as agencies 
implement electronic government. Section 208 requires the agencies to 
prepare a privacy impact assessment (PIA), which is an analysis of how 
information is handled in order to determine risks and examine 
protections for systems that collect information in a personally 
identifiable form (that is, information that could identify a 
particular person). Also, the act requires the Director of OMB to 
develop and issue guidance for completing the PIA. In addition, the 
Director of OMB is to develop guidance for privacy notices on agency 
Web sites accessed by the public. Finally, section 208 states that the 
Director of OMB is to issue guidance requiring agencies to translate 
privacy policies into a standardized machine-readable format. Table 12 
summarizes the deliverables required by this provision.

Table 12: Actions Required under Section 208 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Develop PIA guidance; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Develop guidance for privacy notices on agency Web sites used 
by the public; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Develop guidance for machine-readable privacy policies; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

OMB has taken responsive action to address the requirements of this 
section. In September 2003, OMB issued guidance on implementing the 
privacy provisions of Section 208 that included requirements for PIAs 
as well as privacy policies for Web sites. OMB requires that agencies 
report compliance with the PIA and Web site privacy policy requirements 
in their agency-specific annual e-gov reports. In addition, OMB has 
built privacy compliance requirements into the budget process by 
requiring agencies to conduct a PIA for each major information 
technology system. Other efforts made by OMB to oversee agency PIA 
development include speaking engagements, agency-specific meetings, 
and workshops. Rules for agency Web site privacy policies including 
notices were also outlined in OMB's privacy implementation guidance and 
took effect on December 15, 2003. Finally, the guidance document 
included requirements for translating Web site privacy policies into 
standardized machine-readable format.

IT Workforce Development: Title II, Section 209: 

Section 209 of the E-Government Act requires the Office of Personnel 
Management (OPM), in consultation with OMB, GSA, and the CIO Council, 
to conduct activities aimed at improving the skills of the federal IT 
workforce. OPM is required to develop governmentwide policies so that 
executive agencies can promote the development of performance standards 
for training as well as uniform implementation of workforce development 
requirements. OPM is also required to submit a report to Congress on 
the establishment of an IT training program. Additionally, OPM is 
required to establish procedures for administration of an IT Exchange 
Program, report to Congress on existing IT Exchange Programs, and 
submit biennial reports to Congress on the operation of such programs. 
Table 13 summarizes the actions required by this provision.

Table 13: Actions Required under Section 209 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Conduct activities aimed at improving the skills of the federal 
IT workforce (i.e., analyze the personnel needs of the federal 
government related to IT and identify where current training does not 
satisfy the needs of the federal workforce); 
Responsibility: OPM, in consultation with OMB, the CIO Council, and 
Administrator of GSA; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Issue governmentwide policies to promote the development of 
performance standards and uniform implementation of IT workforce 
development by executive agencies; 
Responsibility: OPM, in coordination with OMB; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Submit report to Congress on establishment of a governmentwide 
IT training program; 
Responsibility: OPM, in consultation with the CIO Council and the 
Administrator of GSA; 
Statutory deadline: January 1, 2003.

Action: Prescribe regulations for the administration of the IT Exchange 
Program; 
Responsibility: OPM; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Submit report to Congress on existing exchange programs; 
Responsibility: OPM; 
Statutory deadline: December 17, 2003.

Action: Submit report to Congress on the status of the IT Exchange 
Program; 
Responsibility: OPM; 
Statutory deadline: Not later than April 30 and October 31 of each 
year.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

OPM, GSA, and the CIO Council all have efforts under way in IT 
workforce development that address the requirements of this section of 
the act. These efforts include baseline activities such as surveying 
the personnel needs of the federal government related to IT as well as 
information resources management. In a June 2004 report,[Footnote 43] 
we highlighted that the CIO Council's Workforce and Human Capital for 
IT Committee, in consultation with OPM and OMB, developed the Clinger-
Cohen Assessment (CCA) survey.[Footnote 44] This survey was conducted 
via the Internet in September 2003 to collect information regarding 
federal employee IT competencies, skills, certifications, and 
specialized job activities. The data collected by the CCA survey 
provided agencies with an "as is" IT workforce baseline for use in 
developing IT training programs that would close the gap between the 
current and necessary federal IT skills. OPM officials reported that 
the survey would be performed every year to give agencies a measure of 
their progress in closing skills gaps.

As we reported in June 2004,[Footnote 45] OPM has not yet issued 
policies that encourage the executive agencies to promote the 
development of performance standards for workforce training. However, 
OPM has established milestones for the development and issuance of such 
policies and estimates that guidance will be communicated via the CIO 
Council and OPM's Human Capital Officers in November 2004.

In August 2004, OPM issued its report on the establishment of a 
governmentwide IT training program. The report establishes an IT 
framework based on the Clinger-Cohen "Core Competencies" developed by 
the CIO Council. The E-Government Act was enacted on December 17, 2002, 
leaving OPM approximately 2 weeks to prepare the required report. 
Consequently, OPM officials instead provided an interim report to 
Congress in June 2003 that provided a descriptive view of existing 
governmentwide IT training programs, noting that a more comprehensive 
report would be provided at a later date.

In January 2004, OPM published a proposed rule in the Federal Register 
on the establishment of an IT Exchange Program. OPM officials reported 
that they reviewed public comments and drafted a final rule but could 
not give an estimate as to when the final rule would be published. As 
required by the act, OPM provided Congress with a report on existing 
exchange programs in December 2003. In addition, OPM submitted reports 
to Congress in April 2003 and April 2004, both of which stated that the 
IT Exchange Program had not yet been established.

State and Local Government Use of Federal Supply Schedules: Title II, 
Section 211: 

Section 211 of the E-Government Act provides for the use of Federal 
Supply Schedules[Footnote 46] by state and local governments for the 
acquisition of IT. The GSA Administrator is charged with establishing 
procedures to govern the use of Federal Supply Schedules by state and 
local governments. The E-Government Administrator is required to report 
to Congress on the implementation and effects of state and local 
government use of these schedules. Table 14 summarizes the actions 
required by this provision.

Table 14: Actions Required under Section 211 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Establish procedures to govern the use of Federal Supply 
Schedules for the acquisition of IT by state or local governments; 
Responsibility: Administrator of GSA; 
Statutory deadline: January 17, 2003.

Action: Report to Congress on the implementation and effects of the use 
of Federal Supply Schedules for the acquisition of IT by state or local 
governments; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government; 
Statutory deadline: December 31, 2004.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

GSA has taken responsive action to address the requirements of this 
section. On May 18, 2004, GSA issued its final rule authorizing 
acquisition of IT by state and local governments through Federal Supply 
Schedules.[Footnote 47] Although the act required that the procedures 
be issued by January 17, 2003, GSA did not finalize the new procedures 
until May 2004. The agency had issued a proposed rule to implement the 
procedures on January 23, 2003, and an interim rule on May 7, 2003. GSA 
officials noted that the use of these schedules on the part of vendors 
as well as state and local governments is voluntary. The deadline for 
the required implementation report has not yet passed; OMB officials 
reported that they plan to report to Congress in December 2004.

Integrated Reporting Study and Pilot Projects: Title II, Section 212: 

Section 212 of the E-Government Act requires the Director of OMB to 
oversee a study and report to Congress on progress toward integrating 
federal information systems across agencies. In addition, in order to 
provide input to the study, the Director of OMB is required to 
designate up to five pilot projects to encourage integrated collection 
and management of data and interoperability of federal information 
systems. Table 15 summarizes the actions required by this provision.

Table 15: Actions Required under Section 212 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Designate no more than five pilot projects to encourage 
integrated collection and management of data and interoperability of 
federal information systems; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB, in consultation with agencies; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Action: Submit a study and report to Congress on the progress toward 
integrating federal information systems across agencies; 
Responsibility: Director of OMB, in consultation with agencies; 
Statutory deadline: December 17, 2005.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

OMB has actions under way to address the requirements of this section. 
In March 2004, OMB announced the launch of a task force to examine five 
government lines of business: case management, federal health 
architecture, grants management, human resource management, and 
financial management. OMB officials stated that the lines of business 
initiatives also serve as the pilot projects required under section 
212. Similar to the management of the 25 e-government initiatives, the 
lines of business initiatives are to be led by agencies designated as 
managing partners. The managing partners for all five initiatives are 
to submit business cases in September 2004 for the fiscal year 2006 
budget cycle.

OMB officials also reported that the study they are required to conduct 
under section 212 is ongoing; the deadline for this report has not yet 
passed. OMB officials stated that their study will address the lines of 
business initiatives, as well as the Federal Enterprise 
Architecture.[Footnote 48] OMB officials said they plan to report on 
the results of the study via the annual E-Government Act implementation 
report to Congress.

Community Technology Centers: Title II, Section 213: 

Section 213 of the E-Government Act requires the Administrator of the 
Office of E-Government to ensure that a study is conducted to evaluate 
the best practices of community technology centers, which provide 
Internet access to the public, and submit a report to Congress on the 
findings of this study by April 2005. In addition, this section 
requires the E-Government Administrator, in consultation with other 
agencies, to develop an online tutorial that explains how to access 
government information and services on the Internet. Table 16 
summarizes the actions required by this provision.

Table 16: Actions Required under Section 213 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Conduct a study and submit a report to Congress evaluating the 
best practices of community technology centers; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government; 
Statutory deadline: April 17, 2005.

Action: Develop an online tutorial that explains how to access 
government information and services on the Internet and provides a 
guide to available online resources; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government, in 
consultation with the Department of Education and the Institute of 
Museum and Library Services; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

OMB and other agencies have actions under way to address the 
requirements of this section of the act. According to a GSA official, 
OMB assigned the responsibility for section 213 to a newly created E-
Gov Act Access working group established under the Interagency 
Committee on Government Information. The E-Gov Act Access working group 
consists of a cross section of agencies with an interest in access 
issues and includes representation from agencies such as the Department 
of Education, the Government Printing Office, and the Department of 
Housing and Urban Development. According to the working group's co-
chair, the group plans to meet the April 2005 statutory deadline for 
the required study evaluating the best practices of community 
technology centers. Additionally, the group plans to consider options 
for developing an online tutorial in December 2004.

Enhancing Crisis Management through Advanced Information Technology: 
Title II, Section 214: 

Section 214 of the E-Government Act addresses the coordination and 
availability of information across multiple access channels and 
improving the use of IT in disaster preparedness, response, and 
recovery. A study is required to evaluate the use of IT for the 
enhancement of crisis preparedness, response, and consequence 
management of natural and manmade disasters. Also required is a report 
to Congress on the findings of the study as well as recommendations. 
Finally, the Administrator of the Office of E-Government is to initiate 
pilot projects in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management 
Agency (FEMA) or report other activities to Congress that involve 
maximizing the use of IT in disaster management. Table 17 summarizes 
the actions required by this provision.

Table 17: Actions Required under Section 214 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Conduct a study on the enhancement of crisis response; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government in 
consultation with FEMA; 
Statutory deadline: March 17, 2003.

Action: Submit a report on the study including findings and 
recommendations; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government; 
Statutory deadline: 2 years after contract entered into for the study.

Action: Initiate pilot projects or report to Congress on other 
activities; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government in 
consultation with FEMA; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

OMB and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have not yet taken 
actions that are fully responsive to the requirements of this section 
of the act. A study provided by DHS officials to address enhancement of 
crisis and response did not contain the required contents as stipulated 
in section 214. The study was conducted by the MITRE Corporation for 
Project SAFECOM[Footnote 49] in December 2002 and completed in March 
2003. DHS officials stated that the study addresses the section 214 
requirement to conduct a study on enhancement of crisis response. 
However, our analysis indicates that the study in general did not 
address the use of IT to enhance crisis preparedness, response, and 
consequence management of natural and man-made disasters, as required 
by section 214. Specifically, the study did not include a research and 
implementation strategy for effective use of IT in crisis response and 
consequence management. The act states that this strategy should 
include the more effective use of technologies; management of IT 
research initiatives; and incorporation of research advances into the 
information communication systems of FEMA and other federal, state, and 
local agencies responsible for crisis preparedness, response, and 
consequence management. Furthermore, the study did not discuss 
opportunities for research and development on enhanced technologies for 
potential improvement as determined during the course of the study. OMB 
officials agreed that the study conducted by Project SAFECOM did not 
address the requirements of the act. OMB officials stated that a new 
study would be conducted to meet these requirements. Until the required 
elements of the study are addressed, OMB may not be able to make a 
fully informed response to the act's requirement that it report on 
findings and recommendations for improving the use of IT in 
coordinating and facilitating information on disaster preparedness, 
response, and recovery.

According to OMB officials, pilot projects expected to enhance the goal 
of maximizing the use of IT are not planned. Instead, the focus of 
OMB's efforts has been on other activities, such as the Disaster 
Management[Footnote 50] and SAFECOM programs, which work with industry 
communities to improve the requirements and develop standards for 
information sharing and coordination of responsiveness. OMB officials 
stated that they would determine at a future time whether initiation of 
pilot projects is necessary.

Disparities in Access to the Internet: Title II, Section 215: 

Section 215 of the E-Government Act requires the GSA Administrator to 
contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a study 
on disparities in Internet access for online government services. GSA 
is to submit a report to Congress on the findings, conclusions, and 
recommendations of the study by December 2004. The report is required 
to address (1) how disparities in Internet access influence the 
effectiveness of online government services, (2) how the increase in 
online government services is influencing the disparities in Internet 
access and how technology development or diffusion trends may offset 
such adverse influences, and (3) related societal effects arising from 
the interplay of disparities in Internet access and the increase in 
online government services. Table 18 summarizes the actions required by 
this provision.

Table 18: Actions Required under Section 215 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Conduct a study with NAS via the National Research Council on 
disparities in Internet access for online government services; 
Responsibility: GSA Administrator; 
Statutory deadline: March 17, 2003.

Action: Report to Congress on the study setting forth the findings, 
conclusions, and recommendations of the National Research Council; 
Responsibility: GSA Administrator; 
Statutory deadline: December 17, 2004.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

GSA has not fully addressed the requirements of this section, because 
it has not yet commissioned the required NAS study on disparities in 
Internet access for online government services. Although the act 
authorizes $950,000 to be spent on the study and report, a GSA official 
stated that no money had yet been appropriated. GSA officials reported 
that they were unable to request funds as part of the fiscal year 2003 
or 2004 budget cycles because the act passed in December 2002, after 
fiscal year 2003 had begun and the deadline for fiscal year 2004 agency 
budget submissions (August 2002) had passed. Although GSA officials did 
not provide any information regarding their actions for fiscal year 
2005, they reported that the agency had requested the funds authorized 
in the act for the fiscal year 2006 budget cycle. Pending appropriation 
of the requested funds, GSA plans to enter into a contract with NAS for 
the study, but notes that the report on the study will not be completed 
within the statutory deadline of December 2004.

In keeping with the purpose of this section, GSA officials and the 
Interagency Committee on Government Information's E-Gov Act Access 
working group are working on compiling an interim study based on 
existing research on disparities in access to the Internet. The 
existing research includes, for example, Hart-Teeter poll results and 
Pew Internet and American Life Project studies. This compilation report 
is expected to be completed by December 2004 and submitted to Congress 
in OMB's annual report to Congress on the implementation status of the 
act.

Common Protocols for Geographic Information Systems: Title II, Section 
216: 

The purpose of section 216 of the E-Government Act is to reduce 
redundant data collection and information and promote collaboration and 
use of standards for government geographic information (see table 19). 
An interagency group is to establish common protocols that maximize the 
degree to which unclassified geographic information from various 
sources can be made electronically compatible and accessible, as well 
as promote the development of interoperable geographic information 
systems technologies.

Table 19: Action Required under Section 216 of the E-Government Act: 

Action: Facilitate the development of common protocols for the 
development, acquisition, maintenance, distribution, and application 
of geographic information; 
Responsibility: Administrator of the Office of E-Government, in 
consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, and working with the 
Director of OMB through an interagency group; 
Statutory deadline: No deadline given.

Source: GAO analysis of the E-Gov Act.

[End of table]

A variety of actions are under way to address the requirements of this 
section of the act. According to OMB, the interagency group referred to 
in the act is the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), which was 
organized in 1990 under OMB Circular A-16. The FGDC is intended to 
promote the coordinated use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial 
data on a national basis. The FGDC is chaired by the Secretary of the 
Department of Interior, with the Deputy Director for Management at OMB 
serving as Vice-Chair, and is made up of representatives from 19 
cabinet-level and independent federal agencies.[Footnote 51]

OMB also established the Geospatial One-Stop[Footnote 52] initiative in 
2002 to facilitate the development of common protocols for geographic 
information systems by bringing together various stakeholders to 
coordinate effective and efficient ways to align geographic 
information. In addition, the purpose of the Geospatial One-Stop is to 
make it faster, easier, and less expensive for all levels of government 
to obtain necessary geospatial data in order to make programmatic 
decisions.

Actions taken by FGDC to promote collaboration include creating a 
standards working group made up of federal and state agencies, 
academia, and the private sector. The working group has developed, and 
FGDC has endorsed, a number of different geospatial standards, 
including metadata standards, and it is currently developing additional 
standards. The committee's working group also coordinates with national 
and international standards bodies to ensure that potential users 
support its work.

(310709): 

FOOTNOTES

[1] For detailed information on the progress of the 25 initiatives 
sponsored by OMB, see GAO, Electronic Government: Initiatives Sponsored 
by the Office of Management and Budget Have Made Mixed Progress, GAO-
04-0561T (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 24, 2004).

[2] We did not include section 202, which prescribes general 
requirements applying to all major federal agencies. Further, we did 
not review section 210, which concerns share-in-savings contracts, 
since this section mandates a separate, more in-depth GAO review on the 
implementation and effects of this provision at a future date.

[3] Examples include 203(b), which addresses agency implementation of 
electronic signatures; 207(e)(4), which requires annual agency 
reporting on accessibility, usability, and preservation of government 
information; 207(f)(2), stipulating agency requirements for making 
government information available on the Internet or by other means; 
207(g)(2), requiring agencies to provide information for the repository 
on federal research and development; 208(b)(1), which stipulates agency 
requirements related to privacy impact assessments; and 209(b)(2) and 
(4), stipulating requirements for agency information technology 
training programs. For section 206, we assessed governmentwide 
implementation by reviewing the status of the e-Rulemaking initiative.

[4] As stipulated by the act, the E-Government Fund is to be used to 
support projects that enable the federal government to expand its 
ability to conduct activities electronically.

[5] P.L. 96-511 (Dec. 11, 1980) and P.L. 104-13 (May 22, 1995). For 
more detailed information regarding the Paperwork Reduction Act and its 
relationship to the E-Government Act of 2002, see appendix II.

[6] Office of Management and Budget, E-Government Strategy (Washington, 
D.C.: Feb. 27, 2002).

[7] Based on analysis by the E-Government Task Force, 23 initiatives 
were originally selected in September 2001. A 24th, e-Payroll, was then 
added by the President's Management Council. In 2002, a decision was 
made to separate the e-Clearance initiative from the Integrated Human 
Resources initiative, resulting in the current count of 25 projects. 

[8] For more information about the selection of the initiatives, see 
GAO, Electronic Government: Selection and Implementation of the Office 
of Management and Budget's 24 Initiatives, GAO-03-229 (Washington, 
D.C.: Nov. 22, 2002).

[9] Office of Management and Budget, E-Government Strategy (Washington, 
D.C.: April 2003).

[10] Office of Management and Budget, FY 2003 Report to Congress on 
Implementation of the E-Government Act (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 8, 
2004).

[11] Appendix I contains details of how we assessed the overall 
implementation status for each section.

[12] For more information about Project SAFECOM, see GAO, Project 
SAFECOM: Key Cross-Agency Emergency Communications Effort Requires 
Stronger Collaboration, GAO-04-494 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 16, 2004).

[13] The SmartBuy initiative, managed by GSA, is aimed at reducing 
costs and improving quality in federal purchases of commercial software 
through the use of enterprise licenses.

[14] The FedBizOpps portal, also managed by GSA, serves as a single 
government point of entry for federal government procurement 
opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are able to publicize 
their business opportunities by posting information directly to 
FedBizOpps. Through one portal, commercial vendors seeking federal 
markets for their services and products can search, monitor, and 
retrieve opportunities solicited by the federal contracting community.

[15] In March 2004, OMB announced the launch of a task force to examine 
five government lines of business: case management, federal health 
architecture, grants management, human resources management, and 
financial management. 

[16] In April 2004, OMB issued an RFI to provide industry and 
government service providers with an opportunity to describe solutions 
and implementation approaches for achieving the goals of three of the 
lines of business (financial management, human resources, and grants 
management).

[17] Some of the act's sections require ongoing actions, such as annual 
reporting or the maintenance of a Web site. We did not consider such 
ongoing activities when assessing whether provisions had been 
implemented.

[18] P.L. 96-511 (Dec. 11, 1980) and P.L. 104-13 (May 22, 1995). See 
Paperwork Reduction Act Amendments of 1984, Senate Report 98-576 (Aug. 
6, 1984); Federal Management Reorganization and Cost Control Act of 
1986, Senate Report 99-347 (July 31, 1986), pp. 12-17 and 52-59; and 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Senate Report 104-8 (Feb. 14, 1995). 

[19] 44 U.S.C. 3503. In addition to its responsibilities under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act, OIRA reviews agency regulations under the 
authority of presidential executive orders.

[20] 44 U.S.C. 3504(h)(5).

[21] 44 U.S.C. 3601(3).

[22] 44 U.S.C. 3602(a) and (b).

[23] 44 U.S.C. 3602(c)-(f).

[24] In referring to specific provisions of Title I, section 101, of 
the E-Government Act, we refer to Title 44 of the U.S. Code, because 
section 101 of the act amends the U.S. Code. In discussing Title II, 
which does not amend the U.S. Code, we refer to the relevant sections 
of the E-Government Act: sections 203 to 216.

[25] Office of Management and Budget, E-Government Strategy 
(Washington, D.C.: April 2003).

[26] Office of Management and Budget, E-Government Strategy 
(Washington, D.C.: Feb. 27, 2002).

[27] GAO, Electronic Government: Selection and Implementation of the 
Office of Management and Budget's 24 Initiatives, GAO-03-229 
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 22, 2002). These initiatives currently number 
25; in 2002, a decision was made to separate the e-Clearance initiative 
from the Integrated Human Resources initiative.

[28] In June 2001, OMB established the position of Associate Director 
for Information Technology and E-Government to oversee IT policy, the 
CIO Council, and the Administration's proposed E-Government Fund.

[29] This fund, which is managed by GSA, is supplied by a 0.75 percent 
fee paid by federal agencies that buy IT goods and services using 
governmentwide acquisition contracts.

[30] The SmartBuy initiative, managed by GSA, is aimed at reducing 
costs and improving quality in federal purchases of commercial software 
through use of enterprise licenses.

[31] The FedBizOpps portal, also managed by GSA, serves as a single 
government point of entry for federal government procurement 
opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are able to publicize 
their business opportunities by posting information directly to 
FedBizOpps. Through one portal, commercial vendors seeking federal 
markets for their services and products can search, monitor, and 
retrieve opportunities solicited by the federal contracting community.

[32] In March 2004, OMB announced the launch of a task force to examine 
five government lines of business: case management, federal health 
architecture, grants management, human resources management, and 
financial management.

[33] In April 2004, OMB issued an RFI to provide industry and 
government service providers with an opportunity to describe solutions 
and implementation approaches for achieving the goals of three of the 
lines of business (financial management, human resources, and grants 
management).

[34] Section 202(g) of the E-Government Act of 2002 requires agencies 
to submit annual reports to OMB that address the status of e-government 
initiatives relevant to the agency. On November 21, 2003, OMB issued 
reporting instructions to the agencies and required submission of 
reports by December 15, 2003.

[35] Section 203 (b), which we did not review, directs executive 
agencies to ensure that their methods for use and acceptance of 
electronic signatures are compatible with the relevant policies and 
procedures issued by the Director of OMB. The Government Paperwork 
Elimination Act (section 1703 of Pub. L. 105-277, 44 U.S.C. 3501 note) 
requires the Director of OMB to develop procedures for the use and 
acceptance of electronic signatures. 

[36] Office of Management and Budget, Electronic Authentication 
Guidance for Federal Agencies, Memorandum M-04-04 (Washington, D.C.: 
Dec. 16, 2003).

[37] National Institute of Standards and Technology, Electronic 
Authentication Guideline, Special Publication 800-63 (Gaithersburg, 
Md.: June 2004).

[38] General Services Administration, Technical Approach for the 
Authentication Service Component Version 1.0 .0 (Washington, D.C.: June 
28, 2004).

[39] In cases where agencies accept only paper submissions, 
www.regulations.gov allows a user to fill out a Web form and print 
comments, and it provides a mailing address to the user for mailing the 
comments directly to the agency. Even if an agency accepts electronic 
submissions, a user has the option to fill out the Web form and mail 
the comment directly to the agency.

[40] For a more detailed examination of the first phase of this 
initiative, see GAO, Electronic Rulemaking: Efforts to Facilitate 
Public Participation Can Be Improved, GAO-03-901 (Washington, D.C.: 
Sept. 17, 2003).

[41] Electronic Records Policy Working Group, Interagency Committee on 
Government Information, Barriers to the Effective Management of 
Government Information on the Internet and Other Electronic Records 
(Washington, D.C.: June 2004).

[42] Interagency Committee on Government Information, Recommended 
Policies and Guidelines for Federal Public Websites (Washington, D.C.: 
June 9, 2004). 

[43] GAO, Information Technology: Training Can Be Enhanced by Greater 
Use of Leading Practices, GAO-04-791 (Washington, D.C.: June 2004). 
This report also provides more detailed information on governmentwide 
IT workforce development efforts.

[44] For more detailed information on the survey results, see CIO 
Council, Clinger-Cohen Assessment Survey (2003) Analysis of Survey 
Results (Washington, D.C.: May 2004). 

[45] GAO-04-791.

[46] The Federal Supply Schedule Program, which is directed and managed 
by GSA, is designed to provide federal agencies with a simplified 
process for acquiring commonly used commercial supplies and services at 
prices associated with volume buying.

[47] Federal Register, Volume 69, No. 96 (Tuesday, May 18, 2004), 
28,063-28,066.

[48] According to OMB, the purpose of the Federal Enterprise 
Architecture, among other things, is to provide a common frame of 
reference or taxonomy for agencies' individual enterprise architecture 
efforts and their planned and ongoing investment activities.

[49] For additional information, refer to GAO, Project SAFECOM: Key 
Cross-Agency Emergency Communications Effort Requires Stronger 
Collaboration, GAO-04-494 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 16, 2004).

[50] Disaster Management is a program managed by the Department of 
Homeland Security that provides federal, state, and local emergency 
managers with online access to disaster management-related information, 
as well as planning and response tools.

[51] The E-Government Act requires that NIST have representation within 
the interagency group. However, NIST is not directly involved in the 
interagency group, but representatives are able to participate via the 
Department of Commerce, which houses NIST.

[52] For more information regarding Geospatial One-Stop, refer to GAO, 
Geospatial Information: Better Coordination and Oversight Could Help 
Reduce Duplicative Investments, GAO-04-824T (Washington, D.C.: June 23, 
2004).

GAO's Mission: 

The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of 
Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional 
responsibilities and to help improve the performance and accountability 
of the federal government for the American people. GAO examines the use 
of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides 
analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make 
informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO's commitment to 
good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, 
integrity, and reliability.

Obtaining Copies of GAO Reports and Testimony: 

The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no 
cost is through the Internet. GAO's Web site ( www.gao.gov ) contains 
abstracts and full-text files of current reports and testimony and an 
expanding archive of older products. The Web site features a search 
engine to help you locate documents using key words and phrases. You 
can print these documents in their entirety, including charts and other 
graphics.

Each day, GAO issues a list of newly released reports, testimony, and 
correspondence. GAO posts this list, known as "Today's Reports," on its 
Web site daily. The list contains links to the full-text document 
files. To have GAO e-mail this list to you every afternoon, go to 
www.gao.gov and select "Subscribe to e-mail alerts" under the "Order 
GAO Products" heading.

Order by Mail or Phone: 

The first copy of each printed report is free. Additional copies are $2 
each. A check or money order should be made out to the Superintendent 
of Documents. GAO also accepts VISA and Mastercard. Orders for 100 or 
more copies mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. 
Orders should be sent to: 

U.S. Government Accountability Office

441 G Street NW, Room LM

Washington, D.C. 20548: 

To order by Phone: 

Voice: (202) 512-6000: 

TDD: (202) 512-2537: 

Fax: (202) 512-6061: 

To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs: 

Contact: 

Web site: www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm

E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov

Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470: 

Public Affairs: 

Jeff Nelligan, managing director,

NelliganJ@gao.gov

(202) 512-4800

U.S. Government Accountability Office,

441 G Street NW, Room 7149

Washington, D.C. 20548: