tv Discussion on the Obama Administration CSPAN February 15, 2016 4:02pm-5:19pm EST
where there are cases where the law is not clear, and these incidents occur most often at the supreme court. in those times, a judge will have to bring his or her own ethics and moral bearings into a decision. in those circumstances, the people whoeeks understand it is not about an abstract theory or a footnote in a casebook and how it affects the daily realities of people's lives. .ook no further the rulings coming-out of the highest court in the land, and you will see that these just are not cases just about legal theory, but they are about the way people go about their daily lives, and often that means protecting people's freedoms. michelle? michelle: all of this being said , starting hours after the justice's death, what is your take on this, and do you feel that there is any chance that the nominee forward will go on?
eric: the president made it clear about the billing his constitutional requirements. there are no caveats. exemptions include for election years for the presence last term in office. so i acknowledge your skepticism here, because we do know this is a republican congress. this is a republican party leadership that shut down the government in 2013, that brought us to the brink of defunding the department of homeland security just last year, and just last week announced they will not even have a hearing on the president's budget, but i also want to point out that this is not the first time that republicans have come out with a lot of bluster only to have reality set in. republicans have threatened to keep sequester-level funding for the government. they have threatened to not
raise the debt limit. they have threatened to not reauthorize the import export bank, and they threatened to up ease the deal with iran. they tried to play politics, but ultimately, they were not able to back up their threats, so ultimately, we believe in those fell back republicans when their positions are not tenable, and we are only asking members of the united states senate to do their jobs. some of you were fortunate the urinetalk about in this country of elected officials to be able to put aside what is in politics in order to fulfill the core responsibilities of their job. that is all we are asking for today. john? john: some of the things they backed off of, does the administration believe there could be consequences for republicans if they continue this line, and what do you think those consequences might be, and
what leverage do you think the president has to try to make this happen? what do you think is the real leverage that he has, and what do you think are the real consequences? question, ron. there are absolutely consequences on the court. there are a number of cases not going toi am speculate how this particular tragedy will affect the rulings, but the court. i will say, as you all understand, the effect of a 4-4 split is to affirm the decision of the lower court without a precedent going forward, so a lot of those cases, some of those the administration had won, and some of them, the administration is appealing, but your point is a good one. we need a fully staffed supreme
court, that there are, indeed, a good number of important cases be book and affect law and people's lives. this only underscores why it is important for the court to have a full complement of nine justices. in 1980 at, when president ronald reagan was advocating for his own nominee against the democratic senate, he said every day that passes with the supreme court below wall street -- below. strength in peds things. >> appealing to voters in swing states where there are elections coming up. engagedlooking at how it will be, and what do you really think is the consequence that the republicans will face if they persist? the president is already
engaged free you and he has been with his team. white house officials have been engaged with congressional offices, primarily on the senate side, both democrat and republican offices, and those have been preliminary in nature, but the signal, we plan on conducting a robust engagement. i'm going to resist the urge to talk about the politics of this. in fact, if you go back to the president's speech in springfield, he talked about moments that are too important to play politics with. thethe supreme court, highest court in the land, seems to be one of those moments. has talkedident about regretting how divisive washington has become. the otherach out to side, or is the white house just been for a fight to get their nominee through?
eric: that is a clever way to ask me to handicap potential nominees, which i will resist the urge to do. if you're looking at the type of judge that the president would select, i encourage you to go back to the several hundred nominees that the president has put forward for the federal courts. you are right that the president a betterd for functioning politics and more constructive politics. ar the president, that means federal government that is more responsive to its citizenry, and we hear often that republicans matter andlections that the people should have a say in who is on the supreme court. we could not agree more. that is why the president was reelected on november 6, 2012, and yet i think you would find a republican saying that this could have an impact on the wast, and, again, that
november 6, 2012. we have 11 months to go in the president's second term. that is just under a quarter of our term, and if you go back through history, and you look at the average time spans for how long a supreme court justice takes between getting nominated and confirmed, it is about 65 to 70 days. we are well within that to get this done. politically charged due to the timing and impacting the president's own decisions? again, we are in an election year, so i i am not going to pretend that is not part of it, but the president is doing his job. this is not something you have to take my word for. laid out inthing the u.s. constitution. this is respecting the rule of law, and we expect republicans to do just that. fromember a piece mcconnell, gaining control of the senate, he said he wanted to get congress functioning again,
getting it moving again. that is all we are asking for here also. david? david: any potential nominee would obviously face a very divisive affirmation and one that could be fruitless in the we are to believe the leader of the senate. is the president concerned whether the best candidates might not want to go through with that and would reject outright any kind of offer, and has the white house heard or talk to anyone who has expressed a concern like that? i have not heard a thing all along those lines, but again, confirming a nominee in the election year, and -- even when the congress is not controlled by the president's party. there were three republican appointees, and a number 11 have been confirmed in nonelection years. in the most recent, as i think some of us have remarked, was nominated by republicans and
democrats, kennedy, february 1980 at, just 65 days after his nomination. at that point, every single republican voted to confirm justice kennedy despite it being an election year. the only thing different right now is that barack obama is a democrat. >> i want to read this to you, and you might find it entertaining. let me say this. we should reverse the presumption of confirmation with respect to the supreme court, at least. i will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a supreme court nominee. these were the words of chuck 2000 seven with 18 months remaining in the term of president bush. when you read comments like that and compare it to today, is it not hypocritical the way some are trying to play this and say, look, we should get this done in
a very speedy fashion, when, in fact, many of the so-called leaders on the other side participated in the same sort of rhetoric, if you will, back then? i have seen a lot of quotes moving back and forth. for the present, this goes to silly very simple, the president doing his job. 300 and 40 days before the next president takes office. everyone appointed to the supreme court has been given a prompt between -- within 100 days. justice kagan went from nominee to appointment at 88 days, justice sotomayor fewer. all we want is for the same paid we alsop by think it would be irresponsible and unprecedented to let a vacancy stand into 2017. if so, the supreme court would preside well over a year with a vacancy. not only would that span two
terms but would be wholly unprecedented. since the 1980's, there has never been any vacancies spanning more than one term. we have said that the president wanted to in light of the senate being out of session this week, the president wanted to take a little bit of time and go through this process in a thoughtful and rigorous way, so i suspect that when they return, the president will identify a nominee. course. >> based on what you are saying, is it your expectation that the senate, despite its rhetoric, well, in fact, give an up or down vote on a nominee question mark the reason i asked that is if we believe that is a process that should go forward, and we believe it is not necessary then to fill the vacancy by recess appointment, that it is your expectation, i imagine, that they will, in fact, vote up or
down, or am i over reading? now, our expectation is that they will do their jobs, which is including republicans, who take their oath of office seriously and take their fidelity to the united states constitution seriously enough to do their jobs. thank you. a nominee --tering one senator joined 24 colleagues in order to fill a bust justice alito -- to filibuster justice alito. eric: i think what we have seen is republicans abjectly objecting to even the president putting forth a nominee, so we believe, and i do not know if anybody in here will disagree, but we do not believe anybody has seen anything like that, which is why we believe it would be wholly irresponsible,
especially considering the them, andwork before the consequences of that, you do not have to take my word for it. president reagan said every day the court is shortstaffed impairs the work of that important body. yes? >> thank you. let me go back to the meetings. [indiscernible] message are you going to deliver? and also, that the united states asks asean countries to play a role does thed of united states expect? thank you.
eric: sure. i know ambassador rice address this and will have more to say on it in the next 36 hours, so i am not going to get ahead of the president. our message is not different than it has been over the last weeks and months, which is that we support the freedom, and we are going to stand by our and makein the region sure that international norms are respected. right, one more. >> just a follow-up question. on asia. and cambodia. obama with the summit instead of the white house? c: yes, the president has had this here at sunny lands.
there is a little bit more of a stiffness. the president wanted to afford the world leaders to have a more candid, relaxed conversation. what's with the supreme court issue, is he going over specific lists? is he looking at that? like where is he in this process? : again, we are only a few days old. i am not going to be able to be able to release the details of those conversations, but the president is engaged, and the answer to that is yes, and for a starting point, that means working with his team, both white house officials who are back at the white house and back here to make sure that this process is moving forward. >> and when you say that you guys have been reaching out to democrats and republicans on the hill, you mean on the judiciary
committee? who? imagine we are hearing from all a lot of folks on the incoming, and we are also proactively reaching out to key offices. i do not have a list here to think in the coming days, that engagement will become more extensive. guys said when the president will sign the sanctions on north korea? update do not have an for you on that, but i can check. >> when he returns to washington? eric: i am not sure we even have a bill yet, but as soon as we get an update, i will get it to you. take you all. -- thank you all. announcer: c-span's wrote to the white house coverage continues this afternoon, when former
president george w. bush hits the campaign trail for republican candidates and brother jeb. they both speak in south carolina, and we have it live at and when it is over, we will get your reaction and phone calls, and justice john roberts on how rulings are crafted by the high court. he also discusses the public perception of the court and the process for selecting justices. it is at the new england law school in boston and was recorded before fellow justice scalia died last weekend. you can see the chief justice's comments tonight on c-span. announcer: tonight on "the communicators," the fccest-serving commissioner, including the options and costs. the net a rules, and the unlimited streaming of some
video by internet providers. she is joined by a reporter. the mission of: always be evolving, always improving, and always attempting to bridge gaps so people can help themselves. this is about enabling individuals to help themselves, providing them with the technological means and getting in touch with that so that it can improve, to have educational option where they might not have certain language for a certain course in their schools, to bridge those gaps, so not just ,he debate -- digital divide but the opportunity divide. announcer goleman watch tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. announcer: tomorrow, and indiana congressman looks at how congress plans to govern in
2016, a presidential election year. he currently serves as the republican policy chair and speaks at the national press club in washington. live tuesday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. the u.s. digital services rotates tech experts to washington to help solve government information system problems. houseis the man the white got from google to fix the healthcare.gov website. the computer history museum in mountain view, california, explaining what they now wrong with federal government systems and how to help fix the government website. here is that event now. [applause] host: and now, for tonight's program. in october 2013, the obama administration faced a very large mastic crisis. thethcare.gov, the portal united states was supposed to
use to sign up for insurance under the affordable health care act, was in shambles and over budget. work likeand did not the internet of 1996, and the consultants and experts who built it for the government were warning it would take millions more and more weeks if not months to fix, and then something quite amazing happened. largely due to the creativity of the president himself, and entrepreneurial team of young engineers and entrepreneurs from silicon valley came to working at a headquarters in maryland, they completely rebuilt healthcare.gov in a few short weeks, the total cost in the single digit of millions, and the version 2.0 was a success. 18 million americans have signed up for health care because of it, and there are two government efforts which obama calls the 21st century equivalent of the peace corps. one is the u.s. digital service.
called 18 f. they are looking to lift the 21st century -- 20th century government and bring it to the digital century, and the effort is taking it by storm. experienced it say they will never go back to the old way of doing things. today, we have three owners with us along with a digital services officer to sign -- assigned to the department of education. we will explore this revolution with them. please join me in welcoming them. [applause]
host: hi, guys. >> hellow. . that they aresee not all in t-shirts, and they are not all guys. in fact, this is the most unique panel that we have had tonight for a number of reasons, and we are really glad to have you here. to describef to try what you're doing, but why don't you just introduce yourselves briefly? and i would like you also to add what you were doing just before you started doing what you're doing now. my, if i could start with you. i am might dickerson, an administrator of the u.s. digital service, a government , andthat means manager right before i got there to do this, if you count this as the healthcare.gov story you are
talking about a second ago, the moment before that, i was working just across the street with google. i was a cyber liability engineering manager there. host: hillary? hillary: hi. i am hillary hartley. at the end of my fellowship, we launched 18 f. there is a much more dramatic story there, but i have been working with government for, gosh, about 20 years, which is crazy to me, but it started from the outside, and so i found out ,bout the presidential division it was where i was in my career an abouti wanted to do these cyber services you all use in your day-to-day lives, and it failed like a right fit for me, so i came to government for a
short stint and have been there ever since. host: a short stint. hillary: yes, and did not go home. host: lisa? i am the chief digital services officer at the department of education. i have been in government a whopping several months. my first date was april 6. right before this, i was running digital for black entertainment television network, viacom network. host: haley? i am with you with ds, and before you sds, i was breaking a few phones to get the you sds set up and created. host: that is great. thanks. and what is the problem?
>> it is hard to be describing. the biggest issue is that the private sector over the past two decades has spent an incredible amount of time and energy improving itself and getting really, really great at building digital services for citizens and people across the world. there are those that we do not think of as innovations anymore that have taken place in the decades,uild your design, cloud, all sorts of things, and the biggest problems is all of those gigantic transitions have skipped over government, and government is still sitting back in the early where what users need are drop from how we build services to how we write and think about policy, and that is as sanguine the as possible the and theissue,
government is really good at persisting and incredibly good at developing processes that maintain the status quo, to the incredible detriment of government. there is such a pervasive , a concern of failure, essentially, that it has created a downward spiral, where the status quo has become the riskiest option, and the government has had a hard time breaking itself out of that mold, and what we're trying to do is break that mold and bring in things that are very, very normal to every person in this room and transport them to government. shift, raised and the bar, and shift what the status quo is today. host: would be really easy for
all of us to say looking from the outside in that that is typical, kind of ossified, a simplistic way of looking at guys have been digging in and working in these agencies. it is a lot more both subtle and complex than simply the simplistic view that we might have. can you talk a little bit more about both of those things? aboutould like to talk 2012, the people who started the fellowship, because it really was the m.v.p. of this movement in terms of saying we know that there are amazing, brilliant people inside the agencies who live and breathe their job and live and breathe this idea that all they want to do is do their do, helping government better, and for whatever reason, many of them are stuck, or they do not have the in-house talent to get it done, and they have tried to procure things, and maybe that has gone awry.
who saw this folks need and said let's see if we can entice people from the tech sector, people from industry, to come in for short tours of that has hearts the size of jupiter, that are very mission and impact oriented. get them partnering with these people who have amazing ideas, who are stuck for one reason or another. it worked. i think that is really what we are really building on today. yet, you can take a survey and say that is blowing up and that is blowing up and we need to help out here, but there are people on the ground trying their hardest to get that done and are stuck. >> as someone who has partnered with an agency, that is 100% true. they are welcoming this change
and embracing the change and asking for more. somebody said to me, i thought you would be wearing a cape. [laughter] they are inviting us to do more and talk about how to change, change ande shift. things like human centered design thinking about how to put the customer first and foremost. how do you extend it beyond tech and put it into policymaking and user centered government? add to fixhat i can things, they are all about it. john: the name todd park has come up and for those of you who don't know, todd was one of the leaders who created the presidential fellowship and one of the cofounders.
one of the real drivers behind the u.s. digital service. he is sitting right there. high-five. [applause] todd.t out for there is a team of people sitting over there waiting to recruit at the end of the night. if you are interested, make a beeline to those rows. you talked about what the vision defined it,d you have but i will go back to healthcare.gov. these things were not happening, the vision for today, and maybe the things that are most representative of the problem were really on display. talk a little bit about what you encountered when you came into clean this up. mikey: sure. [laughter]
this is a little bit like reliving the drama of the past. my answer to this has changed over the last year and a half. there are many layers to what was going on there. at the surface, if you just walk in as an engineer and look at other engineers and see what they are doing and how they are doing it, it was total insanity when you first looked. there were 55 different companies contracted to work on different parts of healthcare.gov, which is a fairly complicated operation, but it is not that complicated. there were -- this is another piece of insanity -- nobody knows how many people were engineers, developers -- hundreds.
they were in dozens of different buildings. not only did they have any habit of working together, in most cases, they were for bid and to speaking with each other -- for bidden to talk to each other because of contracts in the government. the government did not do the job of coordinating of how this would go. they don't really have that skill set. [laughter] the government just not really equipped to do that job. so, what was going on made zero cents. zero sense. a lot of the things we did which was like battlefield medicine that helped in a short. period of time was stuff that seems silly to explain now which is like having people meet together. like, come on.
you mentioned in your introduction of the makeshift headquarters in maryland, there is an operation center still going full blast. we still have people there. we are not sure if they are there tonight because it is not a high-volume night. it is still there. installing monitoring, that was the thing that was not done. with these hundreds of people who are responsible for little pieces would have to collaborate together to make the system work, we didn't know if they were up or not except by cnn. that is what our monitoring was for the first three or four weeks or so. john: you mentioned your view h as changed. what has changed? mikey: all of that stuff i said is still true. it is just that if you want to know why it got to that
point, there is a lot more to it. se oes to a very simplistic explanation would be that the government was stuck in the past. that is true enough. it is hard to figure out -- the government is not actually stuck. it does change. it moves forward, for whatever forward means at the time. it just is at a pace that is a lot slower. it was designed to be this way. how many people -- forget people in jobs like ours -- politicians run for office and say their vision is to have government run like a business. we don't want the government to do that for the most part. security tot social radically change behavior between this year and next year.
that would be not popular, not good to people depending on those benefits. that is not really a business you want disrupted. the government was designed with values that everybody will get equal protection under the law. that is another strength businesses do not operate with. ore whatever tech company restaurant, take any of them, all of them have put thought into who is their target market and it is not the entire united states. he declarations t on the walls, the prices and hours have been chosen targeting the customer, not the entire country. the government is trying to serve the entire country at once. john: one of you used the term plans to make a website. haley, you referred it to
everybody uses websites every day , yet the government has not been ready to do that. it is only just now getting out. why ihas it taken so long? we are now, we are 20 years into the world wide web and probably 15 solid years for e-commerce. does it have to do with the way it is structured? as nobody been the quarterback until the president? what are your theories? there are a lot of factors. one large one is how we actually buy services. unfortunately, government is so simply a waterfall shop through and through. everything we do is through very, very long processes,
particularly in procurement. that is what you see with how the private sector operates and how government does today and what we are trying to shift. we buy software the same way we buy battleships which is five-year long requirements gathering data before we ever build any sort of thing. it is usually another five years after that that we push it it into production. that simply does not work anymore as everybody here knows. -- the processes are propped up through intricate, wetland tendon rules and regulations -- well intended rules and regulations. it is clashing as we look into modernizing in ways that are
able to move quickly and adjust to services. even for the private sector, they wanted that. we kind of forget some of these innovations have happened rather fast and many systems another are not designed to move that quickly. this is an incredibly new innovative way of looking at buying from services from the private sector. one of the things that came out was a proposal. it is really trying to disrupt how it is done. webe 1000 pages long and will gather all the requirements and you are going to bid on this and come back to was in two
years. they were trying to think of new ways to get procurement in the way government fiv buys things. we are running to be experiments. wo big experiments. one is the marketplace. andesides in this ecosystem init is a consultancy federal government for the federal government. they work with agencies to make buy decision for you. we will help you figure out what it is you need or how we will get it built. businesseslines of is around acquisition services. gur two being asking
experiments -- a blanket purchase agreement which is a vehicle for vendors and companies to get into a pool that has been precleared and can do business with the government easily. is notcept of it terribly radical, but how we got vendors into it shook things up a little bit. instead of having give us a 300 page rfp, we said to compete into this, here is an application programming interface, a set of data. here's the problem statement. build it. we want to see how you do it. we want you to understand that you know what we mean by fragile, doing research, making
the design. it will be open sourced. we want to be able to see it and judge it. we give them two weeks to build something. i believe it was about 17 companies that are now and these of precleareds vendors that use agile, lean methodologies. john: is anybody look at you and say two weeks? are you kidding me? hillary: that is the concept in our world. the main environment product. that is all we wanted. it can be a prototype. we just want to see that officially you can build andthing and activate it that you understand all the ways we work. use of the results surprises -- there was one story. john: go ahead.
hillary: there is one story and i will not tell you the name of the company but they sent us an e-mail during the questioning phase. we get these typical phases of procurement. they were asking us for the data on a cd, because they didn't understand the requirement that there is this open data on the internet, an api. what is an api? so, there were some surprising moments. by far, we now have 17 awesome teams that our inbox, our intake is exploding. we only say yes to about 10% of the products that come to us for many reasons. the main reason is we simply do not have the people to do it. this allows us to scale and
partner with the business community in a way that is revolutionary with how software gets done. it is raising the bar, sitting that standard and having the business community come along with us to spread it out through all of the contracts. john: i think i heard the phrase more than any other which was modern software techniques. i ask people what they are doing and they say we are using modern software techniques. is that what you are talking about? a business practice. one more question and then we will dive into some real stories about things you have been doing and working on. are you reading my notes? [laughter] differenceplain the between the relationship between usds and atf.
haley: i think when we look at government overall -- it can feel like this monolithic institution. it is important to realize it is much less than a single company and more like an entire industry that needs instruction. in order to do that, we came up with a very interesting three layered technique on how we could actually insert agents at each level to help catalyze the change. the first layer is the united states digital service where we work at. to deploy teams in agencies -- the most talented people -- to work on the most mission-critical important services across government. is also a partr of the united states digital service. we felt like the important thing
to institutionalize this is to disguise them and plug them into the agencies so they become part of their host environment. they can act working on that transformation and change from the inside. an third layer ihas incredible superpower which they can operate and function like a business. they have this incredible model where they are fee for service. any agency that wants to work with them can. this brings in a huge opportunity to scale in a way we can. they work really well together in terms of top-down, dropping into what the highest need is. 18f can work from the bottom up and scale some of the common services and functions.
mikey: the business models are different. you need both of them. they are both a critical piece of the solution. generalst reimbursed, services administration is the home agency for 18f. it is the agency whose purpose provided cost reimbursed services so they can scale as big as they can. they can build the products of the shared service and maintain it for a long time. disadvantage which like vampire rules, you have to be invited and do an agreement before you can go into a place that might need your help. at the white house, we are
limited on the amount of money that they will appropriate to us so we can only do a small amount of things that cannot sustain something for decades. we can take on stuff in the scale of months or a few years. we are well-positioned for that. who canthe kool-aid man just go through the wall. [laughter] why is it called 18f? haley: it is an homage to 30 rock. the headquarters are the core corner of 18 and f. with aas a great scene were brainstorming the different names. a whiteboard full of things. we came up with about four that we sent to the lawyers. 18f was the only one that did not really pose any problems. it stuck. i really like it.
john: i was really hoping it was like area 51. something dark about it. and there you are at the corner of 18 and after he. f street. let's talk about serious things to develop and revise services. an agency that touches everybody in the country -- education. you guys have done some very great things. talk about what you have been up to. lisa: my first project was something called college scorecard which released december 12. it is actually a presidential initiative, partnering with the department of education. the premise was college education is the surest path to the middle class. with highnt rates
school diplomas only is something like 12%. have a college degree, it is 3%. over the course of your worth $1 million more over the course of your lifetime. getting a college degree is super important, but the people in most of need of it -- first generation college goers, people who are learning english -- they don't have access to great support systems, advisors. how do you actually get this kind of information of what makes for a good school, what will give you the best value -- how do you get that in their hands? that is what we were charged with building. i showed up and there was a meeting with the president of week before i joined. they said that lisa will fix that. john: and there you went.
lisa: it was a fascinating coming straight from the private sector and understanding the manning to of andimportant -- magnitude how important this is to shape the country. it is every person in the country had a bachelor's degree, imagine what it would do to the economy and the jobs. problem isde of the really awesome. it was an interesting experience. i got on the ground and had to understand how government works, but more importantly what this looks like and what we needed to build because nobody really had a clear definition. so, we went around and talk about the stakeholders and the folks creating policy, review and the data and the white house. four days into the project, how do students look for colleges?
i have to talk to some students. days andd.c. for four i didn't know anybody. somebody on my team said you can go to the mall and that was genius. the mall where the kids hang out. or the mall outside the building? the washington mall. [laughter] that happens when you don't know d.c. mikey: it was school field trip season too. lisa: we got people from wisconsin, nebraska, minnesota. it was a brilliant idea. we got to talk to a high school in anacostia. we talked to people who had written letters to the president. we talked to charter school folks. high school folks in iowa. we gathered all this information
and figured out what we needed to do. and get the information into the hands of students so they will know what they will pay to go to college and that it is not the sticker price. it might be better going to a private school rather than a public school. understanding how the school is helping the needs of its students. debt yout how much might leave school with and looking at the earnings you will have after attending the school see can actually know you can pay off any loans. these were the new data metrics we are trying to get out there and change the conversation. we want consumers to be able to get the information. we wanted to change the conversation systemically. the first thing we built was something, college scorecard. it was mobile first.
it does exactly what we set out to do. a minimally viable product. i'm really proud of it. more importantly is we actually opened up the data. our password was actually set the data free. mikey: it is still the password. lisa: it is all completely in the open. we built an application programming interface that would enable other tools, other organizations that might be .reating for niche audiences th the idea is if we can actually get this out into the industry and make this the standard. right now the products are being exclusive.
is that the right metric? actually getting the data that we think is a board to look at out to students wherever they might be. you want to get the content out to your audience wherever they are at whatever time. that is exactly the idea behind creating this. we actually built the consumer the api.ol on top of i think we were one of the first organizations and government to actually use our own service to power the website. john: how is it going? lisa: we have one million users within the first week. it was not just a consumer tool but we also had seven people who stood up with us at launch that
incorporated the data into their own tools. mikey: one million in the first week. this is not the first time this was tried. in the previous year, the old version did 168,000. i got asked that question by the president in the meeting we had and i did not know, so i went and looked it up. john: how did the president react? mikey: he moved on. [laughter] if i can add some more to lisa's story. she spoke to users, the user centric design, even policy decisions of what data we would release which was incredibly touching.
the was the end of a t three years that when the administration announced its intentions to do something like the college scorecard. the idea was incredibly controversial. the higher education people had issues. it was a massive policy issue by the time we got involved. 1, we meeting on april heard from the president, the vice president, secretary duncan -- all of them had impassioned views and the president made clear what he wanted to get done. was over, we had some really frank conversations with policy decision-makers and said we can help you do this. thing,make a website
whatever it is you want, we can do that on the timetable you are talking about, but it is going to have to be -- we will have to have a lot of say over the product decisions because it is not going to be possible to do your typical government waterfall plan with everybody hanging their pet project as an ornament on it somewhere. that cannot happen in six months. given we were up against the clock, people agreed to the terms and conditions that would not oftentimes agree to. after that, we were out on a limb and had to deliver it. we made that promise a week before lisa started and i told her this is what we got and we have this much time to get it done. end anded it until the it was a stressful launch. once that thing was actually released, it got very positive
reviews. accustomed tonot that happening. [laughter] it is true. lisa: it was really successful and had a lot of great reviews. that are spanish-language tools now. students can do side-by-side comparisons. it is reallythere is still mucho be done. part of what we are doing is continuing this. i think one of the incredible things which is why the partnership worked s effective - development started on the project in the middle of june. the api, front and and all of that stuff went from the middle of june to the middle of september so three months. not for nothing. even private sector, that would
be fantastic. this is a partnership. we actually partnered on this project together to bring it all to fruition and make it happen. we would not be able to do it if it weren't for the services and platform that was re: being s already being built. that is how we were able to get it done. john: a great project to talk a great partnership to talk about. we were able to do an agreement with them to put a development team together. the infrastructure that we had our e-mail. 18f playing that support structure for the other two layers came into play. the other one, talking about how we work and why it is different now. is a couple ofha
times, it obviously was never is a boring at the president. as important as the president. the president wanted a ranking. iterated and changed and it was due to this team saying that is great, mr. president. we should talk to high school kids, their parents and high school counselors and figure out what they need. do they want a ranking or do they want to be able to search and compare and contrast? meeting.as not at this we were going to have an unprecedented kind of thing. the thing that was important that we focus on was doing the right thing for the audience. we took into account what was important for policy, data. we took that into account and
put the user first. john: there are two other not universally needed, necessarily, projects you have been working areas with, gnarly big policy implications. one is the veterans administration. the second is immigration and the whole green card system. you guys have taken both of those on. somebody describe those as really big hairballs. can you talk a little bit about those because those are even more in some ways significant. mikey: that was when we talked last july. you can add other agencies to the list. v.a. and dhs -- you want me to do it? statement in am nutshell -- we are creating disabled veterans had a pace we
cannot absorb into the rest of the system. you can probably guess the foreign-policy decisions. it has been overwhelming the rest of the system since then. backlog of disability claims at one point was 600,000 or so. the high water mark was hit around march 2014, just a few months before we came onto the scene. claims in thelity case of the v.a. very often mean a last in treatment which could be physical therapy for a new amputee because we create a large number of people with that problem. common ands is mental health issues are common. untreated post-traumatic stress and depression is not only a
life-threatening situation for the veteran, it is for a lot of people around the veteran as well. if you follow this part of a 2014 to 2015 or so, the job was try to make the processing of those disability claims more efficient. and the appeals to the disability claims more efficient. we have to get better at exchanging, doing handoffs between department of defense when you separate from active duty and handed over to the v.a. where yourseem medical records are supposed to leave the dod system and be picked up by the v.a. hospital network. that seems like something that could be done electronically. that was largely done and still is. that mandate for interoperable medical records is several years old.
it was met so far by the dod taking their one file box average paper records per contractorving a scanned them and sending them as a pdf. it is still mostly that way. we have made it somewhat better but there is a long way to go on medical records. the nutshell version of what there is to do and we are in the middle of it. john: there was somebody else working from google on that? matthew weaver? mikey: i think he is in san francisco. john: they get to pick their own job piles. [laughter] within matthew's handle the v.a. is rogue leader. fan,u are a "star wars"
you will understand. go ahead. mikey: he has been a big part of the v.a. effort. is thert version of dhs process by which you enter the united states on either in immigrant visa or not immigrant visa. either way, particularly for those trying to become american citizens, the process is incredibly difficult. it involves interacting with a lot of different bureaus of the u.s. government, all of whom have acted like they have never heard of each other before when you interact with them. you get something from one place and you physically carry it to the next government office when you give it to them. sometimes you have to carry a package of papers in a sealed bag you are not allowed to open. it is like the border crossing. you have to pay fees at a half-dozen places. each of those fees will be a different amount to figure out to interact with a different
payment system. you might be able to use a credit card or might not. you have create a new login and password each time. all of this is all true of the process. we came along to the side of an existing initiative at the agency called u.s. citizenship and immigration service which is part of the homeland security. it has been there for years working on this problem and we kind of picked up an accelerated some pieces of it. online in a new form what is called the item menu process which is how you get a replacement green card and you lose it. this is your piece of paper, your documentation that gives you the right to work in the united states and also not be deported. losing it and not being without it is stressful. it used to be six to nine months if you were lucky after you mailed it in when you got your
replacement back. is on the order of a few weeks now. we started with that because it is a relatively simple process as these things go. is only a couple of forms and fees. itis really high volume when affects a lot of people. there are 70,000 transactions a year. the immigration one is really fascinating of an example for a couple of reasons. we cannot say there is a new idea in government because of you thought of it, somebody already did way before it. this was not a new idea. it was tried more than a decade before. it has been underway for a long time. we will not go through the that has- billions
been spent on trying to digitize the immigration system before that. [laughter] yeah, as a taxpayer, it hurts my soul. this process has been underway for over a decade. in when wee months were able to drop in and a very small team of five people -- when they showed up and got it out the door. what that means is the folks who are out of the boundary working on this inside the agency were also the people that fixed it. you can actually change the context and the environment and have different results without a huge amount of risk. you have to strategically place all the right pressures on the system and he could shift faster than you think which is why i
like the immigration example so much. john: for decades, we have been hearing presidential candidates, politicians use this phrase -- waste, fraud and abuse. if it ever got uncovered. i don't want to be the one to suggest fraud and abuses going on but the stories you have been talking about, telling for the last hour or so are certainly stories in this day and age in 2016 of waste. not for any intentional purposes or anything else, it is just simply functioning. haley, got added a second ago in the beginning. back to your first question which was hard -- what is the problem? a big many. a big part of it is the
normalization of failure, by which i mean we have arrived at a state where the status quo way of doing something, which is put out for an rpi, wait for three or four months, go through the process, do all that stuff. hire a huge government, hire a business who does almost all of its business with the government to do the waterfall plan that you are used to, spend seven years and a couple billion dollars. it is easier to spend a couple of billion dollars than it is to spent $1 million and hire two people. that is true. all of these things, this is all guaranteed not to succeed. there is a group study we cite a lot that says 94% of government i.t. efforts come significantly
over budget or behind schedule deficient. that is the outcome 94% of the time. >> never even see the light of day or ship functioning. mikey: this happens all the time. i say the normalization of that -- what i mean is nothing bad will happen to any of the people involved in the contracting decisions which makes it the safest thing for them to do. said theay that, haley riskiest way to do a project. it is in the sense that the project will not succeed, but least risky in the perspective of the people in the government who are responding to a different set of incentives. if a project does not work, nothing will happen to you. what will get you in trouble is if you try something new and
dangerous, if that goes anything less than smashingly well, then there will be a lot of attention on you. then, all of the oversight and accountability mechanisms of government like congress conducting investigations, the government accountability office conducts investigations. your internal inspector general -- it will be all bad. thing, we did one mostly talk about -- this is what has shifted over the last year -- it seemed year ago the real special sauce we were bringing into the government were these new ways of approaching problems and knew this and that. that is true, but probably an even more important an ingredient in the special recipe is we are way too outsourced of risk by the perspective of the agency. we are term limited appointments.
has in mindis stage the my own career security as forefront. it is hopeless by the way. it is a misunderstanding and a failure to understand to blame the government employees for putting their career stability first -- everybody puts their stability first everywhere . taking care of themselves and their family is just about the most important thing for anybody working a job. to be there as somebody that will not be there five years from now, and having somebody else to blame, that is a huge value-added. lisa: i think you touched on it with the incentives of what success looks like is just different. it ist necessarily know
making sure to have a job in a year or five years, i think the is andion of what win how i did my job is not something of what they perceive as risk. we know risk is continuing the status quo. john: the statistic you mentioned earlier, it is 94% of all projects coming in late, over budget or behind schedule. 40% never see the light of day. that is the norm. everybody is just working to the norm. i want to talk for a minute -- we have such great questions from the audience -- there are other subjects i wanted to talk about. you are doing this with a relatively small team. 113 members of the u.s. digital service which span out across almost every agency in the government.
185 people within 18f. the want to talk about the kind of person that it takes to be in this team and to do what you do. a good thingnot be to walk in and say him from silicon valley, get out of the way. i will show you how to do things around here. [laughter] what kind of person is successful on your teams? you raise a fantastic point. we are looking for -- they find us -- an incredible combination of skill sets. it is not that anybody in our team can be the most technically competent person in the room at a moment, but also have an eq, an ability to communicate well to win over the people in the room. we actually had our first full
year a day or so ago where we had an online application available. we now have our first full year of data. in that year, we have had almost 4500 people apply. to give you a bit of context, our acceptance rate is way more competitive than harvard because we are really looking for the best of the best. i cannot tell you how incredibly thrilled i am to work with such a talented team because the people of the united states digital service are phenomenal. we have is really interesting collection of leaders across the industry. everything from people like mikey who sets up the classes of engineers inside google. the founding members of amazon. people that took twitter's infrastructure to what it is now. it is an incredible collection of the smartest, genuinely incredibe people i could have ever imagined working