If the Agencies are scored with this Scoring Mechanism, then barely any Agency will go past score 2. How hopeless is the situation with regards to OCIO Planning, when more transparency and accountability is being demanded.
Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S.2590)
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590) is an Act of Congress that requires the full disclosure to the public of all entities or organizations receiving federal funds beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2007. The website USAspending.gov opened in December 2007 as a result of the act, and is maintained by the Office of Management and Budget. The Congressional Budget Office estimates S. 2590 will cost $15 million over its authorized time period of 2007–2011.
To read the data, one must realize that there are initiatives and investment directed at projects. By auditing the initiatives, a lot of murky projects can be discovered. Already VA has discovered about 45 such projects and immediately they have been put on hold. More such muck is bound to emerge in other agencies.
Art of Abstraction in the Investigational Architecture work – Defeating the Devious Art of Obfuscation
Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework based on Zachman’s EA Framework, Capital Planning and Investment Control along with Enterprise Architecture Transition Planning provides a mechanism to establish ‘Line Of Sight’ (LOS). LOS operates to substantiate the architectural decisions including the budgetary to investment decisions. These help in exposing all the architectural elements, that other-wise lie buried beneath the organization’s enterprise architecture. Based on the exposed architectural elements and the transparent architectural design decisions, the Office Of Management and Budget (OMB) (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/) makes budgetary decisions and also evaluates agencies expenditures, while also recasting the expected budgetary concerns. Furthermore, these lend into U.S. Government Accountability Office. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is known as “the investigative arm of Congress” and “the congressional watchdog.” GAO supports the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and helps improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. GAO’s work includes oversight of federal programs; insight into ways to make government more efficient, effective, ethical and equitable; and foresight of long-term trends and challenges. GAO’s reports, testimonies, legal decisions and opinions make a difference for Congress and the Nation.
In theory FEA, OMB, GAO – All work together in ensuring that millions to billions of dollars spent is put into worthwhile cause for the citizens, and that they are enacted based on scientifically planned decisions. This is an interlocking discipline that brings economics, management, strategy, planning, architecture, technology, sociology etc into a dynamic structure within the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework. Leveraging such a discipline, it is also possible to analyze and identify attempts for obfuscation that is rampant in industry both in the private and the public sector. When millions of dollars are involved, along comes the frailness of humans.
Also, there exists Inspector General’s Office http://www.oig.doc.gov/oig/ , http://oig.hhs.gov. There are several such offices for each Agency, where anyone suspecting fraudulent practices or doubtful decisions can lodge a complain anonymously. Do all these work? Government is by the citizens and for the citizens. It is the duty of the citizens to make it work. So, the answer is when ‘will’ among the people emerges then the system will certainly work. There are many failed examples or systemic breakdowns. Veteran Health administration is one such example. Besides natural entropic conditions, the vile of the human (both in corporate and federal) has contributed to the systemic break-down. And, unfortunately innocent citizens bear its burnt.
In the information age, information from the information superhighway is inundating, also providing much opportunities for obfuscation to be schemed and fraudulently exploited. All such things are planned in the hope of escaping in the morass, until they are discovered by an analytical process. Obfuscation is the biggest evil in the information society.
Enterprise Architecture Framework, especially the Federal Framework in theory has the hope to promote analytical arguments for facilitating any modernization planning enabled by Information Technology and in tackling the emerging monster – Obfuscation.
Non-actionable thoughts are impotent Thought Leadership.