U.S. Digital Service to Congress: We’ve Made A Measurable Impact

dencg/Shutterstock.com

The government’s technology tiger team gives an update on what it accomplished in 2017 and the projects it has in process.

The U.S. Digital Service—a program-turned-office that helps agencies fix major digital problems—released its annual report to Congress Tuesday with a rundown of ongoing projects and a list of successes from 2017.

The service was created in 2014 in the wake of the catastrophic early failure of the Healthcare.gov Obamacare website and later established as part of the Office of Management and Budget. Since that time, the idea has expanded into other agencies, with Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department standing up their own teams.

“We made a measurable impact,” Matt Cutts, USDS acting administrator, said in the report. “From recovering failed systems to consolidating services and designing intuitive interfaces, we are building more secure, efficient and modern government services with and for the American people.”

The report cites 11 ongoing projects at six agencies, plus several governmentwide procurement initiatives:

  • Veterans Affairs: Simplifying veteran-facing services through Vets.gov and streamlining appeals processing.
  • General Services Administration: Improving government consumer identity with Login.gov.
  • Small Business Administration: Modernizing small business certification programs.
  • Homeland Security Department: Modernizing the immigration system and relaunching the Trusted Traveler programs.
  • Defense Department: The Hack the Pentagon bug bounty and helping military families move with Move.mil.
  • Health and Human Services: Implementing Medicare payment changes and modernizing health data access with APIs.
  • Procurement: Transforming federal IT with Digital IT Acquisition Training.

Cutts estimates these projects will save the government $617 million and 1,475 labor-years over the next five years.

“It is an honor to build products that directly improve the lives of millions of people,” he wrote. 

Natalie Moore, a product manager at the Veterans Affairs Digital Service who worked on a tool to help veterans who were discharged under non-standard circumstances, agrees with that sentiment. She joined USDS after serving a tour with the Peace Corps in Africa.

“I thought that experience living in a rural village doing work would be the most challenging mission-driven work that I would do. But I was lucky enough to find USDS,” she told Nextgov. “Government can be a really challenging environment, as well. But the mission is still really meaningful.”

Moore sees USDS and the individual agency shops as key to the digital future of the federal government.

“We’re at an interesting point now where we’re able to work on really amazing projects that help millions of people,” Moore said. “One of the things that we continue to look at is the number of people—the impact. We try to work on things that really end up impacting large amounts of people. I think staying true to that will be really important as we’re growing.”

Moore also cited the service’s other main values as key components of USDS’s mission and future: hire and empower great people; find the truth, tell the truth; optimize for results, not optics; go where the work is; design with users, not for them; and create momentum.

“I feel like, if we stay true to those values, five, 10 years down the road we should be in a good spot.”

  USDS - Report to Congress

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.