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Transparency Initiatives Already Improving Government, Says Kundra

vivek_kundraIn testimony Tuesday before the U.S. subcommittee on federal financial management, government information, federal services and international security, federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra spoke about how the Obama administration’s Open Government Initiative is already improving the performance of the U.S. government, according to InformationWeek.

“Opening our government allows us to draw upon the knowledge of all Americans, not just those inside the beltway of Washington,” Kundra said at the hearing, which was held to inform the committee of progress the initiative has made.

Since the government’s launch of the Data.gov site 10 months ago, it has expanded from working with 47 sets of data from different agencies to 169 data sets, Kundra said. That data has been used by third-party developers to build innovative applications, such as one that tracks flight-status information at airports.

Kundra also praised the Department of Veterans Affairs, which saved $54 million in taxpayer money by assessing its IT projects and terminating 12 that were significantly behind schedule or over budget.

The department was only able to do this with the help of the Federal IT Dashboard, another transparency initiative that allows people to view information about where the federal government is spending its IT funds, Kundra said.

These innovations are just the beginning of what the administration hopes to achieve with its transparency plans, Kundra said and added that the ultimate vision is to allow people “to create and share dashboards” about government performance and share them with each other “in the same way we share YouTube videos.”

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