Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Interior's IT Transformation Will Cut Costs, Modernize Mission Support with 21st Century Service Delivery
Policy Management and Budget
Overhaul to Save Taxpayers $500 Million, Strengthen Services
WASHINGTON DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today released Interior's information technology (IT) Transformation Strategic Plan, a major efficiency initiative that will leverage modern technology to save up to $500 million in taxpayer dollars by 2020.
The strategic plan is a high-level roadmap to transform the Interior's IT operations for the 21st century, using advances in technology to provide better service for less. The plan identifies an initial set of high priority IT services as part of the transformation process, including a single email system for the department, telecommunications, account management, hosting services, workplace computing services, risk management, and an enterprise service desk (help desk).
“This plan represents good government, plain and simple,” Secretary Salazar said. “By identifying and implementing efficiencies in the way we conduct our business, we'll save time and taxpayer dollars.”
The Interior Department estimates that the initiative will produce $100 million in annual savings from 2016 to 2020, for a cumulative total of $500 million. Major cost-savings are expected from:
a 45 percent reduction in the number of data centers;
a single email system that will cut email system costs by half while improving its overall effectiveness;
a Cloud-based electronic forms system; and
Cloud-based electronic records, documents and content management solutions.
“This plan truly delivers on the President's charge to do more with less and should serve as a model for other agencies,” said Vivek Kundra, the federal government's first Chief Information Officer.
The transformation will be self-funded, in part by capturing savings that are realized through IT efficiencies and reinvesting those funds into subsequent phases of transformation.
Interior's Chief Information Officer Bernard Mazer noted that the missions of the department were a centerpiece of the transformation. “DOI's internal talent will be used throughout the IT Transformation to ensure future IT services meet the needs of our customers, while providing the best value to the American taxpayers,” said Mazer. “The best solution for each service will be pursued, whether it is from internal capabilities or external providers.”
Today's announcement builds upon President Obama's Executive Order in April directing his Administration to leverage technology to strengthen and streamline service and make government work better for the American people. In June, the President and Vice President launched the Campaign to Cut Waste, an Administration-wide initiative to root out waste and identify efficiencies across all agencies in the Federal government.
Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technology, Information and Business Services, Andrew Jackson, emphasized that “throughout the IT Transformation, the Department will leverage our most important IT assets – our employees. Our goal is to minimize adverse impacts and maximize career building opportunities. Employees who are interested in assisting with the transformation efforts can get involved in designing our future.”
Interior will form bureau-led teams to help design the way IT services will be delivered and managed. Professionals from within the department will be involved at every level in order to ensure that the IT Transformation introduces services that meet the needs of customers and can be implemented with minimal disruption on mission-related programs.
Collaboration with Interior Department employees was instrumental in developing the plan. The department's IT leaders held nearly 70 site visits at 35 cities in 18 states, meeting with more than 1,500 employees and soliciting their opinions.
The IT Transformation Strategic Plan describes the department's strategy Secretarial Order 3309, which Secretary Salazar signed in December 2010 to launch this broad IT reform effort. The plan will also guide reform efforts that are presently underway.
“This is a multi-year program involving every facet of the department and will realign how information technology is designed, priced, and delivered in support of customer goals to achieve their missions,” Jackson said.
A copy of the IT Transformation Strategic Plan is available below. Having trouble viewing it? A copy is also available for download here.