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9/9/2009
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Gov 2.0: Open Government Directive Nearly Ready

At the Gov 2.0 Summit, federal CTO Aneesh Chopra said the order, due soon, will outline steps agencies can take to be 'hardwired' for transparency, collaboration, and participatory government.

The Office of Management and Budget is a few weeks away from releasing an Open Government Directive that outlines steps federal agencies can take to "hardwire the capability" for transparency, collaboration, and participatory government into their organizations and processes, federal CTO Aneesh Chopra said Wednesday at the Gov 2.0 Summit in Washington.

The directive will be based on several underlying principles, Chopra said. One is that there must be a structured approach to open government, including a schedule for the public release of government data in machine-readable formats. "You'll clearly see that" as part of the plan, Chopra said.

A second guiding principle is that government agencies should engage the public in developing open government plans and publish their completed plans. Chopra said the government will also unveil additional "government 2.0" Web sites or tools along the lines of Data.gov and the IT Dashboard.

The Open Government Directive was called for by President Obama in his "Transparency and Open Government" memo, issued on Jan. 21, his first full day in office. Obama directed federal CTO Chopra to work with the OMB and the Administrator of General Services to describe "specific actions" agencies could take to implement the principles of open government.

At the time, Obama gave Chopra 120 days to get the Open Government Directive on his desk. However, as Chopra pointed out at Gov 2.0 Summit, his confirmation as federal CTO took 120 days. The directive is now due for release in the next three or four weeks, he said.

In an interview after his keynote presentation, Chopra said that he doesn't expect the Open Government Directive to require a substantial, near-term investment in new technologies by government agencies as they attempt to comply with the directive. "A lot of the platforms we describe in Open Government are really not that costly," Chopra said. "By definition these platforms are light."

Separately, Chopra said that the government will soon expand the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In April, the White House announced the first 20 members of that council, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Microsoft chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie. Chopra said he will use the council as a sounding board for his own decision making.
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