Department of Energy

Reduce Duplication of Effort and Increase Standardization

Presently, there is a significant amount of duplication of certain work within the federal government as a whole, and even significant duplication of efforts internal to a given agency. Total government budgets could be reduced substantially, or more of the annual budget could be made available to apply to new work if the duplication was eliminated. While there has been some movement toward efficiency (e.g., Employee Self Service System, GovTrip), there is much room for further improvement. Things like computer systems and software, including computer security, etc. should be mandated to be standard to significantly reduce the cost associated with every organization reinventing the wheel, maintaining their own capabilities, and having very nonstandard systems within and between agencies. As a simple example of this concept, every Department of Energy location currently has its own Information Technology organization which define system specifications, procure and implement associated hardware and software, and then maintain this unique system they created. Further, for DOE, every contractor also has their unique system and significant staff. As a result of this approach, computer systems and security at every site is different. Some are vulnerable, others are overly cumbersome and inhibit efficient work accomplishment. While there may be some instances that legitimately should be exempt (e.g., sensitive national security work), most should be standard. On a national level, a single Agency could be put in charge of secifying and procuring the systems. Then each agency and site would only be required to provide the support staff to implement and maintain. This concept can be applied to many areas beyond IT. IT alone represents a huge cost within our federal budget. This would result in less staff required, more money available for other work (or to reduce budgets), standardization and better overall security (at least in the case of the IT example).

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Idea No. 14203