When President Barack Obama first came into office in 2009, he promised to make the government more open and accountable. On Friday, the White House laid out a detailed plan for how it was going to make that happen during the remainder of Obama’s time in office.
The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy issued the second U.S. Open Government National Action Plan, which introduced 23 new or expanded commitments to open government.
“We are impressed by the scope and detail of the plan, as well as the administration’s commitment to continue to engage and refine those commitments for which detailed goals are not yet available,” said Sean Moulton, director of Open Government Policy at the Center for Effective Government, in a statement. “This broad and ambitious plan tackles important open government issues that we have long been advocating, including: 1) strengthening the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 2) improving information about government spending, and 3) continuing to open government data to the public.”
Moulton added that properly implementing the initiatives introduced in the new plan could make openness work for the public and alter how the government does its job.
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The document is a continuation of the first National Action Plan, which the White House released in September 2011. The first plan introduced a set of 26 commitments “that have increased public integrity, enhanced public access to information, improved management of public resources, and given the public a more active voice in the U.S. Government’s policymaking process,” the second plan’s introduction states.
Among the successes of the first plan was the launch of “We the People” Petition Platform,” in which 270,000 petitions were generated by more than 10 million users over two years.
The new NAP introduced 10 initiatives to increase public integrity:
The CIA and NARA will work together to launch new tools to make unstructured data searchable and automate the initial stage in analyzing documents.
NARA’s National Declassification Center will establish a system that automatically notifies appropriate agency representatives when classified materials are up for review.
The new plan also outlines how greater transparency will help the government manage resources more effectively and improve public services.