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News Archive of March 2015

Department of Justice (DOJ) Presents Department of Commerce (DOC) Employees FOIA Awards

Blog by 
Joey Hutcherson, TPM, PMP, CIPP/G
Deputy Director, Office of Privacy and Open Government

Department of Justice (DOJ) kicked off Sunshine Week with a celebration of FOIA Professionals on March 16, 2015. DOJ presented three awards to Department of Commerce (DOC) employees. One DOC FOIA Professional was recognized with a Lifetime Service Award and two DOC FOIA Professionals were recognized with an Outstanding Customer Service Award.  The Lifetime Service Award was presented to Ms. Brenda Dolan.  The Outstanding Customer Service Awards were presented to Ms. Roberta “Bobbie” Parsons and Ms. Harriette Boyd.

Ms. Dolan was recognized for 22 years of distinguished civil service as a FOIA professional in the DOC.  As the Departmental FOIA Officer, Ms. Dolan’s contributions to ensuring efficient FOIA administration are exceptional and remarkable. She ushered the Department’s FOIA processing capabilities into the 21st century by transitioning it from manual paper-based FOIA processing to a FOIAonline. It provides an end-to-end workflow, electronic records, and automated reports. She leads Departmental response to numerous voluminous FOIAs, including some which produced over 30,000 responsive documents. Ms. Dolan has exceptional professional competence and is cornerstone in the Department’s administration of FOIA.

Ms. Roberta Parsons who is responsible for processing DOC Office of Secretary (OS) FOIA requests which are for the immediate OS.  Ms. Parsons’ was recognized for outstanding customer service and her attention to detail which has enhanced the OS response to the requester community through clear explanation of the OS FOIA process and by improving the quality of the responsive documents.  Ms. Parsons’ ability to assist requesters with modification of requests enables DOC personnel to locate responsive documents with a reasonable amount of effort, which often reduces associated fees.  Ms. Parsons has enhanced the OS capabilities in responding to FOIA request significantly improving the requester experience.

Ms. Harriette Boyd provides outstanding customer services in the processing of requests received from the public.  Her effective assigning/tasking and initiation of requests across the Department has reduced the timeframe required to respond effectively to each requestor.  Her tenacity in managing, coordinating, and collaborating internally and externally enables the DOC personnel to locate the documents required to respond appropriately to requests.  Her outstanding ability to narrow the scope of the request has often resulted in the reduction the fees to the requester. Ms. Boyd is the critical element in reducing the response time, and improving overall effectiveness in FOIA processing. 

Department of Justice, Acting Associate Attorney General, Stuart F. Delrey and DOJ Director Office of Information Policy, Melanie Ann Pustay, presented the awards to DOC employees.  On stage representing the Commerce senior management with the awardees were Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, Mr. Fred Stephens, Commerce Chief Privacy Officer and Director of Open Government, Catrina Purvis and Deputy Director Office of Privacy and Open Government, Mr. Joey Hutcherson.

Commerce Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

On January 18, 2011, in Executive Order 13563, the President directed each agency to review their "existing significant regulations, and consider how best to promote retrospective analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned."

In response to this directive, Commerce created and released a preliminary plan for review of its regulations on May 26, 2011. Commerce welcomed the public's comments and feedback on this preliminary plan through July 25, 2011. Commerce published the final version of its regulatory review plan on August 22, 2011, which incorporated responses to public comments and new information about recent accomplishments. Commerce in promoting transparency continues to publish routine status and updates. Commerce has updated the Retrospective Plan Progress Report Table based on progress review of the plan, new information and new developments. Today March 20, 2015, we are publishing our latest updates in the EO 13563, EO 13610 and the EO 13659 progress report.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Top Data Leaders to Join New Data Advisory Council

Categories: Press Releases,  America’s Data Agency, Commerce Data Advisory Council, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
News Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs, 202-482-4883

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the members of the new Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC), who include 19 of the best and brightest private and public sector thought leaders on data management and dissemination in the United States. The Council will help guide the Commerce Department’s data revolution, which aims to foster innovation, help create jobs, and drive better decision-making throughout our economy and society. 

“As ‘America’s Data Agency,’ we are working to unleash more of the Commerce Department’s data to strengthen our nation’s economic growth,” said Secretary Pritzker. “I am thrilled with the experts representing a diverse range of sectors from across the United States who have agreed to serve on our Data Advisory Council. Together, they will help us make our data easier to access and use, and maximize the return of data investments for entrepreneurs, government, businesses, communities and taxpayers.” 

Click here for the list of Data Advisory Council members. 

Commerce Department data inform decisions that help make government smarter, keep businesses more competitive and better inform citizens about their own communities – with the potential to guide up to $3.3 trillion in investments in the United States each year. The 19 members of the Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC) will provide Secretary Pritzker and the Department’s senior leadership with guidance on areas such as data management practices; common, open data standards; policy issues related to privacy, latency, and consistency; effective models for public-private partnership; external uses of Commerce data; and, methods to build new feedback loops between the Department and data users.  

Members were chosen to ensure representation from the entire spectrum of Commerce data including demographic, economic, scientific, environmental, patent, and geospatial data. The leaders come from the information technology, NGO, non-profit, and academic communities, and from local governments—individuals who appreciate the range of data that the Department of Commerce distributes and the full lifecycle of data collection, compilation, analysis, and dissemination. They offer a balanced perspective and varied expertise to ensure meaningful dialogue and guidance on how the Commerce Department can realize its vision as America’s Data Agency. 

The Data Advisory Council will be housed in the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration, and members will serve two-year terms. To learn more about Data Advisory Council, visit: http://www.esa.doc.gov/content/commerce-data-advisory-council-cdac

ITA OPEN GOVERNMENT BLOG – FEBRUARY 2015 Blog by Tim Truman

Trade.govThe International Trade Administration (ITA) is the premier resource for American companies competing in the global marketplace. With its mission to strengthen the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promote U.S. exports and business investment in the United States, and ensure fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of our trade laws and agreements, ITA is continuously improving its outreach to stakeholders, clients, and the general public.

 

ITA’s efforts to promote exports and business investment support President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI)/NEXT, SelectUSA, and the nation’s sustained economic growth. The President’s Open Data Initiative is a critical element of ITA’s efforts to help U.S. companies compete and win in global markets. Providing actionable information to U.S. companies, foreign buyers of U.S. goods and services, and foreign investors in projects that create jobs in the United States is a key strategy within the Department of Commerce’s Strategic Plan.

 

During the past year, ITA has continued to increase the amount of trade-related data that is directly accessible to the public via the ITA Trade Developer Portal (TDP). The TDP is a collection of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow software developers to create web and mobile applications using information produced by ITA and other U.S. government trade promotion agencies. The data and information accessible here is targeted at helping U.S. small businesses export and expand their operations into global markets.

 

The TDP includes access to information about trade events, market research, locations of domestic and international export assistance centers, business opportunities, and interesting trade news and articles.  In November 2014, ITA added to this list by launching its newest API, the Consolidated Screening List. The Consolidated Screening List consolidates nine export screening lists of the Departments of Commerce, State and the Treasury into a single data feed as an aid to industry in conducting electronic screens of potential parties to regulated transactions. ITA encourages developers to integrate trade data and information into their Web and mobile applications and business processes to help U.S. companies compete overseas while creating jobs at home.

 

During the next few months, ITA plans to: enhance APIs that focus on business opportunities; add new APIs, such as tariff information for goods and services covered under Free Trade Agreements, and frequent questions asked by exporters; continue outreach efforts to U.S. companies; and implement feedback from our customers.

 

In addition to growing the inventory of publicly available datasets through the TDP, ITA will also launch new tools that will enable users to generate reports detailing the size, challenges, and opportunities of specific export market segments by product type and/or country. These tools will make it much easier for potential exporters to quickly identify areas with best opportunities, by giving them access to market intelligence based on intimate knowledge of each market gleaned from ITA industry experts and ITA trade specialists in the United States and working on the ground in 75 countries around the world.

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Blog by Mark Crace

 

BISThe Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) works to advance U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system while promoting continued U.S. strategic technology leadership.  BIS’ primary concern is the security of the United States.  

 

One of the biggest challenges with the mission of BIS is to secure technology while providing open communications with the public and the industrial community affected.  In taking on this challenge, BIS has adopted a more open government policy by developing an effective outreach program to keep the public informed of current and upcoming export control rules and initiatives.  This program works to keep information flowing that is of importance to the community.  The Assistant Secretary for Export Administration conducts weekly teleconferences updating the public in the Export Control Reform (ECR) Initiative and fields ECR questions from the public.  BIS also conducts monthly webinars on various ECR topics.  These calls both educated the regulated community on the reform rules, and helped elicit useful stakeholder feedback.   

 

In FY 2014, BIS reached 16,860 stakeholders through 180 different types of events, including 2,952 people who attended 33 domestic export control seminars conducted in 11 states and the District of Columbia.  These seminars provided guidance to new and experienced exporters regarding the EAR, changes in export policy, and licensing procedures, as well as encryption and technical data issues.  BIS also participates as a speaker or with organized information booths at several dozen additional events hosted by other organizations. 

BIS held its 27th annual Update Conference on Export Controls and Policy between July 29, 2014 and July 31, 2014 in Washington, D.C.  The conference attracted over 1,100 participants. 

BIS also holds an annual Export Control Forum in California which attracted approximately 200 attendees, many of whom were from the technology community.

 

BIS received more than 37,718 phone and email inquiries each year through its counseling programs at BIS’s Outreach and Educational Services Division in Washington, DC, and at the Western Regional Office in California.  Through these programs BIS provides guidance on regulations, policies, and practices and helps to increase compliance with U.S. export control regulations.