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USA Services Rollout/Media BriefingWashington, DC

Remarks by
Stephen A. Perry
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration

USA Services Rollout/Media Briefing
Washington, DC
July 30, 2003


Thank you very much, Clay Johnson III, [Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget], and thanks to all of you for joining us today at GSA as we launch this exciting new service.

As M.J. Jameson [Associate Administrator for Citizen Services and Communications, GSA] has said, USA Services is the federal government's "first comprehensive customer service department" for citizens. It is an easy-access portal, or "front door," to the federal government that will be of tremendous benefit to citizens seeking information or seeking to complete transactions with federal government agencies.

All of us here at GSA are very pleased that our agency was asked by Mark Forman [Administrator of E-Government and Information Technology] of OMB to lead the effort to develop USA Services, and I'm very proud of the work that MJ Jameson and her team have done to get us to where we are today in launching USA Services.

As we launch this new service for citizens, GSA is playing a key role in delivering on President Bush's commitment to use cutting-edge Internet technology to make the federal government more efficient, more citizen-centered and more results- oriented. President Bush articulated his plan to harness Internet technology on behalf of citizens back in February 2002, when he submitted his budget request to Congress. As you may recall, the e-Gov initiative in the President's Management Agenda included this USA Services initiative. Today, a year and a half later, we are very pleased to be able to declare a "promise made, and a promise kept."

USA Services will dramatically improve the way citizens interact with their government. This includes:
easy access to the government through the channel of their choice: telephone, fax, e-mail, or the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week;
a higher quality of service that will come from standardizing processes and establishing best practices across the government;
more reliable information; and
less costly service, resulting from the elimination of duplication and greater sharing of resources across the government.

And very importantly, USA Services will bring unprecedented speed to government responses to citizen inquiries because, first of all, most inquiries will be answered within hours, and secondly, it is our pledge that virtually all citizen inquiries will be answered in two business days or fewer.

USA Services is also a good deal from a taxpayer's perspective because it will enable federal agencies to achieve lower expenses on infrastructure and application software and eliminate duplication across agencies.

As you heard Mark Forman say, USA Services responded to 100 million citizen inquiries from fiscal year 2002 through July 30, 2003. We expect that to increase to 300 million.
Visits to Firstgov.gov totaled 33.3 million in fiscal 2002; projected visits for all of fiscal 2003 will approach 60 million.
Telephone inquiries fielded by USA Services are projected to rise from nearly 1.7 million in fiscal 2002 to 2.5 million in fiscal 2003.
E-mail inquiries handled by USA Services are projected to go from roughly 15,000 in fiscal 2002 to 100,000 in fiscal 2003, and to 450,000 in fiscal 2004.

GSA has been assisting other agencies to adopt USA Services since March 2003. As of today, we have signed working agreements with 12 agencies. You have a list in your media kits, but I would like to acknowledge them. They are:

1 - The Food and Drug Administration
2 - The Department of State
3 - The Small Business Administration
4 - The Department of Agriculture
5 - The Social Security Administration
6 - The Department of the Interior
7 - The Department of Justice
8 - The Department of Housing And Urban Development
9 - The Department of Labor
10 - The Treasury Department
11 - The Department of Energy
12 - And our own agency - the General Services Administration.

Thanks to each agency that has adopted USA Services to date and thanks to those agencies that will be signing on in the future. Together, we are taking a major step toward achieving the e-government initiative in President Bush's Management Agenda.

I would also like to thank several members of Congress who have been extremely supportive of our e-Gov initiatives. That includes:
Congressman Tom Davis, Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee;
Congressman Ernest Istook, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies;
Senator Richard Shelby, Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and General Government; and
Senator George Voinovich, Chair of the Government Affairs Subcommittee.

We're sorry none could attend this event, but I wanted to state publicly how much we appreciate their continued support.

The bottom line is that the USA Services initiative that we are launching here today will help streamline and simplify the process by which citizens obtain information and complete transactions with their federal government. While there is more work to be done, we are well on our way to having USA Services transform the way citizens interact with their government. Thank you all for sharing this important launch of USA Services with us.