Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
CONTACT:Joan Moody
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2004
Interior Releases "Accent on Results" Report on Tax Dollar Savings and Better Service

(WASHINGTON) - The Department of the Interior has released Accent on Results, a report on the department's performance under the President's Management Agenda that highlights tax dollar savings, increased security and better public service. Management achievements range from specific savings-such as $65 million in software and hardware--to initiatives expected to have lasting general impact-such as the department's first-ever, integrated strategic plan replacing eight separate bureau plans.

The report, which can be found at resultaccents.pdf (hard copies available on request), provides details about management improvements and cost savings in resource protection and facilities management, financial systems, security, information technology and public service.

"The Department of the Interior is on a journey toward management excellence-excellence defined by results," Assistant Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett writes in the report.
With eight bureaus, more than 70,000 employees, some 37,000 facilities (second only to the Department of Defense), more than 80 financial management systems and wide-ranging objectives, the department must focus on mission clarity and measurable goals, the report notes. The department's first-ever, integrated departmental strategic plan replaces eight separate bureau plans.

In addition, the department has generated its first-ever department-wide Human Resources Strategic Plan and is using new hiring technologies. One example is the Fire Integrated Recruitment and Employment System Before its development, all recruitment for wildland firefighters was done manually, taking many hours and costing each participating bureau thousands of dollars in labor each year. The new system has automated most recruitment processes, saving the bureaus time and money and increasing the number of qualified applicants by 44 percent.

"At the core of the President's Management Agenda-and our Accent on Results-is an effort to make budgeting decisions based on more and better information about how those dollars are used and how programs might be improved to enhance results," Scarlett notes. Interior believes that the Administration's new Program Assessment Rating Tool, Interior's new strategic plan and its implementation of activity-based cost management across the department all provide building blocks to link budget and performance.

In the field of information technology and electronic government, Accent on Results reports cost savings, improved security and improved customer service.

Through better IT systems management, large savings are on the horizon-and dramatic improvements in IT security are being achieved. Using integrated equipment purchasing, Interior is achieving cost avoidance and direct savings of $65 million over a four- to six-year lifecycle of software and hardware, a savings of more than 40 percent over GSA schedule prices. The department projects more than $250 million in savings through additional IT purchasing improvements.

In the area of security, by testing the industry-recognized top-20 categories of external vulnerabilities on an ongoing basis, Interior reduced its IT security vulnerabilities in just 15 months from 957 per month to zero for the first time in April 2004.

IT systems consolidation improves the ability to maintain secure systems and reduces costs over time. The Bureau of Land Management, for example, has gone from 71 servers to 17, and the Bureau of Reclamation, from 20 to 4.

Service to the public also has been improved through better management of IT systems. Interior's "customers" include 360 million visitors who come each year to federal lands-national parks, wildlife refuges, monuments and recreation areas. A new online integrated recreation reservation system being launched in December 2004 will integrate separate recreation reservation systems, providing one-stop shopping for campsite and related reservations on public lands.

Facilities management is a core challenge for Interior, which operates at about 2,400 locations across the United States and in U.S. island territories. Interior manages nearly every type of facility found in America's towns and cities--wastewater treatment plants, dams, electric generating facilities, houses, hotels, campgrounds, roads, boat docks, stables and even landfills. Best known are the facilities in national parks.

"President Bush is meeting his commitment to invest $4.9 billion to address park maintenance needs," Scarlett says in the report. "The dedicated employees of the National Park Service have undertaken more than 4,000 infrastructure and facility improvements. Visitors will see improved trails, more accessible campgrounds, rehabilitated visitor centers, better roads, stabilized historic structures, and reduced environmental threats through better sewer, water, and drinking systems."

Another innovation in facilities management is Service First-combining offices of Interior's Bureau of Land Management with nearby offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. The effort is yielding lower costs and better customer service, with 20 BLM offices now co-located in California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Twenty-seven additional opportunities have been identified in 11 states.

"Interior has an inspiring mission," the report concludes. "Sometimes it is easier to feel connected to missions out in the field while leading a tour of a park, re-planting native vegetation, building a school, or monitoring an earthquake fault. But administrative tasks and efficient management of resources, though less glamorous, are the building blocks for serving the public well."




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