Accountability and Transparency have been the focus for many years

ARRA is nearly a trillion dollars over a relatively few years. In terms of scale, the closest single block of expenditure that is represented by that scale is the budget of the DoD. In FY09, that budget was over $500B, not counting the war appropriations. Clearly, the efforts that DoD has accomplished over the last 2 or 3 years to achieve taxpayer accountability and transparency for DoD are the closest set of reusable design patterns to achieve a scalable set of solutions to meet the needs of recovery.gov.

DoD Design patterns for achieving accountability and transparency are varied and not necessarily in sync with each other. But they have some very well established and accepted commonalities with much of the discussion that I have seen all accross the current dialogue, with the exception of one. In order to deal with the means to articulate the mechanisms of change on such a scale, enterprise architecture must be the basis of that change. GAO and the DoD have embraced that concept, as has OMB through the FEA. In fact, it was congress that enforced that approach in the National Defense Authorization Act of FY05.

The DoD approach is based on change as articulated through EA, Governance of change through CPIC and Investment Management and a technical approach based on SOA principles and technology. Recently, at the DoD SOA Symposium in April of this year, many real solutions for data visibility, service governance and change management were presented. OMB participated in the event.

Without going significantly deeper, the DoD approach incudes realizations of such concepts as Data Virtualization, unantipated user discovery of services and data, trust in authoritative data, data mediation and integration and most importantly Information Assurance and user authorization and attributes.

The idea is simple, build from what has already been learned and proven. Join forces with the DoD business operations to achieve the focused requirements of recovery.gov and you establish the basis of solving even greater needs for accountability and transparency that have been wanted and needed for decades.

Why is it important?

For well over a decade, the Federal Government has been grappling with accoutability and transparency of taxpayer funds. Initiatives have lived and died attempting to resolve issues like "unqualified audit opinions" for Federal Departments and Agencies and proliferation of IT to achieve stovepiped functional capabilities.

It can readily be documented that 100′s of millions of dollars have been spent just articulating what accountability and transparency even means. What has been missing in achieving this goal is two basic enablers. The first is the technology to achieve a solution that is scalable to both the size of the Federal Government and the broad spectrum of unique requirements embedded within the various Federal Departments and Agencies.

The second enabler missing is the will and determination to overcome the obsticles that naturally occur in an organization the size of the Federal Government.

The economic conditions facing the taxpayers of the U.S. warrent the response that the ARRA has enabled and the recovery.gov initiative is that commitment to the taxpayer that not only is that response happening, but it will be effective, efficient and focused on meeting the goal of re-establishing the U.S. as a global financial leader and posied for growth for future generations. It can be thought of as that "JFK – Go to the moon by the end of the decade" focus that has been lacking in so many of the mechanisms of change needed by this country. Now we can apply that focus to real Government Accountability and Transparency for the taxpayer. And not just for ARRA funds, but for all Government.

ARRA is nearly a trillion dollars over a relatively few years. In terms of scale, the closest single block of expenditure that is represented by that scale is the budget of the DoD. In FY09, that budget was over $500B, not counting the war appropriations.

Clearly, the efforts that DoD has accomplished over the last 2 or 3 years to achieve taxpayer accountability and transparency for DoD are the closest set of reusable design patterns to achieve a scalable set of solutions to meet the needs of recovery.gov. GAO has been moderately supportive of these efforts and approaches, but has questioned the committment.

The committment being choked by the limited funds applied to achieving the solutions. The synergy of the ARRA committment and DoD approaches could very well achieve a sustainable outcome in the timeframe being promised to the American Taxpayers.

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