Obama orders federal agencies to go mobile

President Obama on Wednesday issued an executive order requiring government agencies to make services available via mobile phones.

Under the new order, each federal agency will be required to make two "key government services" available on mobile devices within the next 12 months.

The order comes as the administration ramps up efforts to make large amounts of government data more accessible to the public to increase transparency.

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“Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere and on any device,” Obama said in a statement announcing the order. “By making important services accessible from your phone and sharing government data with entrepreneurs, we are giving hardworking families and businesses tools that will help them succeed.”

Obama's White House has long been a proponent of putting government data online. The president picked Vivek Kundra to serve as the nation’s first chief information officer after he gained recognition for spearheading the "Apps for Democracy" project that encouraged people to write applications for mobile phones incorporating government data.

Steven VanRoekel, the chief information officer for the United States, will be in charge of implementing the new directive.

“We’re living in an increasingly mobile world and it is critical that the federal government keep up with the way the American people do business," Obama said.

The president also announced the start of a new program that will bring outside innovators into government for "tours of duty" as Presidential Innovation Fellows. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park will oversee the program, which will begin with the aim to make consumer-friendly government information about health, education, energy, safety and personal finance more accessible to all Americans.

The announcements are part of a larger digital strategy being implemented by the administration, based on a new report titled "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People."

The three main administration goals put forward in the report are to "enable the American people and an increasingly mobile workforce to access high-quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device"; to "seize the opportunity to procure and manage devices, applications, and data in smart, secure and affordable ways"; and to "[unlock] the power of government data to spur innovation across our nation and improve the quality of services for the American people."

— This story was updated at 10:34 a.m., and corrected at 1:57 p.m. to correct information about President Obama's first chief information officer.