The White House unveiled a new mobile initiative on Wednesday, May 23, that’s intended to reshape how government agencies utilize mobile platforms in serving the public.
To kick-start the initiative, federal CIO Steven VanRoekel and federal CTO Todd Park released a report on mobile strategy titled Digital Goverment: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People, a “12-month road map” to assist agencies meet goals for a more mobile government.
Federal CTO Todd Park announced during Wednesday’s telephone press conference that the White House launched the Presidential Innovation Fellows, a program that will match individuals in private sector, nonprofits or academia with federal government employees to develop innovative solutions.
The Office of Management and Budget will be formulating a governmentwide policy pertaining to Web API (application programming interfaces). Systems will have to be architected to support access to high-value open data and metadata tags, the report said.
“For decades, we’ve been locking government data up in paper files or nonsearchable PDF documents and things like that,” VanRoekel said.
As a method for reducing duplication and cutting costs, VanRoekel is calling on government agencies to take a “governmentwide approach” to IT solutions. Applications or other solutions that have been deployed inside a government agency should be used across other agencies as well, giving multiple agencies access to features they may have otherwise not had access to before, and in addition, allowing the private sector access to those features when appropriate.
Plans to set up a Digital Services Innovation Center will soon be carried out by the U.S. General Services Administration through a centralized effort to help agencies build out shared solutions for a “citizen-centric approach to Web.”
According to Code for America founder and editorial director Jennifer Pahlka, the initiative is a good move for digital government.
“Happily there is also considerable attention given to the importance of a shared platform across agencies, particularly a content delivery platform (or several) that presumably every federal agency can use,” Pahlka wrote in a Wednesday blog post. “This promotes a vision I can get behind.”