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 January 8, 2010

Armywide News

Department of Defense highlights
open government initiatives

The Department of Defense (DoD) is undertaking broad efforts to increase the transparency of DoD operations and to make DoD information more easily accessible to the public as it implements the White House Open Government Directive issued in late December.

DoD has completed its transition to a new public Web site at http://www.Defense.gov ,designed specifically to provide access to the most-requested information and allow visitors to ask questions about DoD operations as part of the Data.gov initiative to provide easier access to federal government raw data.

DoD has just made available for public analysis data about the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), which allows servicemembers and other Americans overseas to vote in federal elections.

This builds on almost 200 DoD news feeds added to Data.gov earlier this year, and is the beginning of a larger effort to make important raw data available to the public.

The following provides more details on these DoD initiatives:

• A New Public Web site. In August of 2009, the Department of Defense launched a new home page at http://www.Defense.gov, and has completed the transition from the old Web site at http://www.DefenseLink.mil.

The new Web site provides quick access to information that is most sought by Web site visitors, including DoD social media sites, the Pentagon Channel and DoD news stories. Prominent on the new home page is a new “We Want to Hear From
You” that allows visitors to ask questions about the DoD and explore frequently asked questions and answers.

The site also includes an easy-to-use central listing of dozens of Web sites maintained by different offices of the DoD and the military services, listed both by topic and organization. The index is available at http://www.defense.gov/RegisteredSites/RegisteredSites.aspx, and makes it easy for the public to find information on topics ranging from military budgets and manpower to a database of defense-related imagery (photos and videos).

• Data.Gov. DoD continues to add datasets to the Data.Gov project, beginning with almost 200 links to RSS feeds with news releases and other updates from the Pentagon, each military service and commands around the world.

DoD increased the transparency of the FVAP by posting raw data about the process by which members of the uniformed services and Merchant Marine, their eligible family members, and all citizens residing outside the United States can vote in all federal elections.

The data, available for download in raw form, includes voter success in casting ballots, participation rates, age, ranks, regional voting locations, home voting region, how the vote was cast (mail, fax, other) as well as survey data covering how voters and voting officials rated the effectiveness of absentee voting (effectiveness, ease, problems, etc).

Public analysis of this data may lead to improvements in the voting process for Americans overseas, making it easier for servicemembers and others to participate in federal elections.

DoD will continue to add to Data.Gov and implement the new Open Government Directive, making more easily available important public data maintained by DoD’s many components.

(Submitted by the U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Public Affairs.)


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