It would have sucked to give up a decent gig in the private sector for a promised 3 or 4 year tour with USDS, only to get cut after 1 year, especially since most employees end up moving from out of state to the DC area with all the accompanied costs.
I've seen similar situations at the state level where good programs that help people get their lives in order and get off government programs are cut under the banner of saving money... mostly targeted by politicians who are upset by government programs.
Also, I’ve never heard of the USDS but it’s a fantastic idea. There are lots of people in tech talking about how unfulfilling it is to work on optimizing ads all day and would totally take a pay cut in exchange for meaningful work. They should be advertising themselves more heavily.
I can't chalk it up to stupidity any more I think at this point it has to be malicious.
If a gov dept is well run then their mates can't sell the same service at a massive markup.
Your idea makes sense if you're talking about an organization in the hundreds, but an organization the size and breadth of the VA already has the responsibility to do this job, and given their budget and headcount, they should be able to do this job and have the specialists required to get it done.
The range and depth of the information/services on here really have blown me away in the past few years. I've personally used it to renew my passport and driving licence, get information for my taxes and seek information for a legal matter. Truly brilliant service (rare for a UK IT project)
> In the private sector, these kinds of numbers would not lead to a 50 percent cut in budget. Instead, you’d clearly invest further with that kind of return. Considering the ambitious goals set out in the President’s Management Agenda, the Trump Administration should double down on better support for the public, our troops, and our veterans. The best way to do that is clearly through investments like USDS.
Why would you halve the budget of a team that's yielding a more than 400% ROI (in terms of cost savings)?
Because that goes against the official doctrine that the state is wasteful? Why do it inhouse when it could be outsourced to someone for twice the price that will return the money in kickbacks as campaign contributions?
More data makes hiding corruption harder, so I'm not sure if it really gives 400% to the decision makers.
https://www.usaspending.gov (Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Obama, McCain, Carper, Coburn)) has more fine-grained spending data, but not credit-free immutable distributed ledger transaction IDs, quantitative ROI stats, or performance.gov and #globalgoals goal alignment. We'd need a metadata field on spending bills to link to performance.gov and SDG Goals, Targets, and Indicators.
"Transparency and Accountability"
IIRC, here on HN, I've mentioned a number of times -- and quoted in the full from -- the 13 plays of the USDS Digital Services Playbook; all of which are applicable to and should probably be required reading for all government IT and govtech: https://playbook.cio.gov/
There are forms with workflow states that need human review sometimes. USDS helps with getting those processes online in order to reduce costs, increase cost-efficiency, and increase quality of service.
It is easy to achieve success with a fat budget like that. It is only natural that if that team does well, then some of its resources should be transferred to a team that doesn't so that it can get the opportunity to improve.