Electronic Government:

Challenges Must Be Addressed With Effective Leadership and Management

GAO-01-959T: Published: Jul 11, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 2001.

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Advances in the use of information technology (IT) and the Internet continue to change the way that federal agencies communicate, use and disseminate information, deliver services, and do business. Electronic government (e-government) refers to the use of technology, particularly web-based Internet applications, to enhance the access to and delivery of government information and service to citizens, business partners, employees, other agencies, and entities. This testimony discusses the status of federal e-government initiatives, the key challenges facing the government in implementing these initiatives, and the chief information officer (CIO) approach proposed by the E-Government Act of 2001. GAO found that federal agencies have launched an array of e-government applications, including using the Internet to collect and disseminate information and forms; buy goods and services; submit bids and proposals; and apply for licenses, grants, and benefits. Many of these initiatives have the potential to increase the speed and efficiency with which citizens and businesses interact with the government. However, the government faces several challenges in transitioning to an electronic environment. Among other issues, the government must minimize the risks associated with the dissemination of personal information and maintain a focus on the needs of citizens accessing government Web sites. The E-Government Act of 2001 would create a federal CIO who would address these challenges. The CIO would provide the strong central leadership role needed to provide guidance to federal agencies concerning information resources and technology management.

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