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Open Government: The Plan

Today, in support of the President's Open Government Directive, the department is proud to unveil its Open Government Plan. We've worked over the past several months to draft a document that would not simply check a box or fulfill a requirement, but that would chart a clear course forward as we mature the department and work with our stakeholders and state, local, and tribal partners to develop the homeland security enterprise. The Open Government Initiative is critical as we work toward these goals, establishing a culture of transparency, public engagement, and active outreach on homeland security issues that directly affect the systems, infrastructure, and people we work to protect.

We focused on the four core principles behind the Open Government Initiative in drafting the plan:
  • Publishing government information online
  • Improving the quality of government information
  • Creating and institutionalizing a culture of open government
  • Enabling a policy framework for open government

The plan mandates a 15 percent reduction of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request backlogs per year at DHS - which we've already decreased by 81 percent over the past four years - to enhance transparency of departmental records and communications.

The plan recommends the expansion of "Virtual USA" - a DHS information-sharing initiative that links disparate tools and technologies to improve communication between first responders during emergencies.

The plan also highlights the Department's efforts to support fusion centers with state and local governments, critical assets in preventing crime and terrorism in communities across the country through two-way intelligence and information sharing between DHS and the rest of the federal government and our state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement partners.

The department also solicited and incorporated public feedback in drafting the plan. We plan to continue this method of public engagement as we develop other initiatives and tools. Look for new ways to engage with the Department in the coming months.

The full plan is available here.

"My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

- President Obama, 01/21/09

Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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