Obama Orders More Technology Cuts
White House aims to limit mobile devices and move information online to eliminate wasteful spending.
Specifically, Obama's executive order has mandated that agencies establish new policies to ensure they're not distributing mobile devices, tablets, or laptops that are going unused, according to the order.
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The White House in a statement highlighted successful efforts already undertaken by some agencies to eliminate this type of waste. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, used to spend millions of dollars each year for unused mobile phones and aircards, but has, so far, saved $10.5 million by performing annual audits of the technology.
Similarly, the Department of Commerce disconnected 2,648 wireless lines this year that showed no usage for the past three months, saving $1.8 million on their way to an expected $3 million in savings by the end of the year. Some of the lines were assigned to retirees and former staff, according to the administration.
[The Obama administration is partnering with industry to help boost employment. See White House, Google Develop Job Search Tool For Vets.]
Obama also has ordered agencies to reduce printing costs by providing written information electronically and limiting production of hardcopy documents whenever possible.
Efforts already underway by the Department of the Treasury should reduce printing costs 24% in fiscal year 2012 by increasing paperless transactions with the public, according to the administration. In the first five years of the effort, the department expects to save more than $500 million and 12 million pounds of paper.
The government also cut by 85% the number of copies of Federal Registers that agencies received within the past year by making it available online. The change was the result of a suggestion by Trudy Givens, the winner of the president's 2010 SAVE award, which asks for ideas from federal employees about how to save money.
Along those lines, the White House also unveiled Wednesday this year's four SAVE award finalists, two of which are technology-related. Kevin Korzenieski, a Treasury employee in Washington, suggested the feds stop purchasing U.S. Code books for all new attorneys since the information is available online.
And Faith Stanfield, a Social Security Administration (SSA) employee from Ohio, suggested her agency stop printing and mailing OASIS magazine--which currently is distributed to about 90,000 SSA employees--and make it available online instead.
Wednesday's order builds upon President Obama's Campaign to Cut Waste, a broad effort unveiled in June to eliminate wasteful spending across all agency investments, including technology. A key part of the plan was to shut down 50% of federal websites and put a freeze on creating new ones until the end of the year.
Our annual Federal Government IT Priorities Survey shows how agencies are managing the many mandates competing for their limited resources. Also in the new issue of InformationWeek Government: NASA veterans launch cloud startups, and U.S. Marshals Service completes tech revamp. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)