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Senate Testimony: Transparency Drives Results

Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra testified before the Senate Budget Committee's Task Force on Government Performance on efforts to advance open government.

In testimony before the Senate Budget Committee’s Task Force on Government Performance, Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra underscored the critical role of transparency, participation, and collaboration in driving government performance.

The “closed, secretive” approach historically used to oversee more than $70 billion in Federal IT investments failed taxpayers, Kundra argued, leaving them to “spen[d] billions on systems that were mismanaged, poorly planned or ill-conceived from the start.”

In contrast, the IT Dashboard launched on June 30th enables anyone with a web browser to track Federal IT investments and hold the government accountable for results. “Even though it is less than six months old, the IT Dashboard is already changing the way in which agencies manage their IT investments,” Kundra said.  For example, in July 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would temporarily halt 45 IT projects which were either behind schedule or over budget. After a thorough review of each project, 12 of these projects were cancelled.  “We were able to catch these projects, in part, thanks to the IT Dashboard, which helped shed light on the performance of projects across the Federal government,” Kundra concluded.

Similarly, Chopra emphasized that – when coupled with policy leadership and management – “[open government] principles can serve as the foundation for data-driven performance.”  Chopra pointed to specific examples in which the Federal government utilized “low-cost information technologies to do what it uniquely can – making high-quality data available, coordinating standards activities across many disparate actors, moving federally-funded research into development and deployment, hosting prizes and competitions – while leaving it to citizens, companies, non-profits, and academic institutions to build innovative tools and services on top of the platform.”

Read the full testimony of Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra.

Read the full testimony of Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra.

Beth Noveck is United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and Director of the White House Open Government Initiative