Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Lessons Learned Can Be Applied to Other Management Challenges

AIMD-00-290 Published: Sep 12, 2000. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 2000.
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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO (1) identified lessons the federal government has learned from year 2000 applicable to improving federal information technology (IT) management; (2) identified lessons that individual agencies can apply to the management of future IT initiatives; and (3) discussed how the momentum generated by the government's year 2000 efforts can be sustained.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
To improve federal government information resources and technology management, address emerging issues, such as e-government, and sustain the focused attention that was developed to address the Year 2000 challenge, Congress may wish to establish a formal Chief Information Officer (CIO) position for the federal government to provide central leadership and support. A federal Chief Information Officer could bring about ways to use IT to better serve the public, facilitate improving access to government services, and help restore confidence in the national government. With respect to specific responsibilities, a federal CIO could be responsible for key functions, such as developing information resources and technology management policies and standards,overseeing federal agency IT activities, managing crosscutting issues, ensuring interagency coordination, serving as the nation's chief IT spokesman internationally, and maintaining appropriate partnerships with state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector.
Closed – Implemented
This matter has been substantially implemented through enactment of the E-Government Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-347) on December 17, 2002. The act required the establishment of the Office of Electronic Government within the Office of Management and Budget, to be led by a Presidentially appointed administrator. OMB established this office on April 17, 2003. The responsibilities of the Administrator of the Office of Electronic Government, as outlined in the act, substantially address key functions of a federal CIO, as specified in our matter for consideration. For example, the act instructs the Administrator to assist the Director of OMB in (1) establishing policies that set the framework for IT standards; (2) providing overall leadership and direction to the executive branch on electronic government; (3) promoting innovative uses of IT by agencies, particularly initiatives involving multiagency collaboration, (4) leading the federal CIO Council's activities, which are intended to ensure interagency coordination; and (5) sponsoring an ongoing dialog among federal, state, local and tribal government leaders on electronic government in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as leaders in the private and nonprofit sectors to encourage collaboration and innovative approaches in acquiring, using and managing information resources. In addressing these functions, the Administrator of the Office of Electronic Government is positioned to provide the comprehensive and focused leadership that is of paramount importance in helping the federal government invest wisely in future IT projects and provide a secure IT environment.

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