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Open Government Blog


At the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) we are using this tool to reach out to our stakeholders in a new way. We want to hear from you about how we can better serve you, whether you’re a member of the general public, an advocate for good government, or an employee of OPM or another agency. Please comment here on our Open Government Plan and help us with new, concrete ideas on how to make OPM better. Please visit us here and at often.

OPM welcomes comments and questions from the public. We respect the principle that people are entitled to different opinions and hope to foster conversation within our online presence. To that end, we do not premoderate users' comments on our website or social media pages. This means that users' comments are automatically published, but they may be removed by an OPM official if the comment:

  • Contains obscene, indecent, or profane language;
  • Contains threats, defamatory statements, or personal attacks;
  • Encourages illegal activity;
  • Contains hate speech directed at race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability;
  • Contains sensitive or personally identifiable information; and/or
  • Promotes or endorses specific commercial services or products

In addition, OPM may remove content, including comments, that has become stale. We also reserve the right to remove multiple successive off-topic posts by a single user, repetitive posts copied and pasted by multiple users, spam, or chain mail.

Note that the views expressed on this page, the appearance of external links posted by individuals on this page, and following, liking, or reposting of posts or tweets does not constitute official endorsement on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management or the Federal Government. OPM is not liable for any loss or damage resulting from any comments posted on this page. This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, complaint, legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

We're writing version 3 of our Open Government Plan, which we'll publish in June (you can find earlier versions on our Open Government Plans page). Our flagship will involve enterprise information management and align with our 2014-2018 Strategic Plan and Strategic Information Technology Plan. We'd love to hear your ideas! Please drop us a note in the comments section by Wednesday, May 7. And check back next month to read the plan and comment on it.

We've released new mobile services and open data (APIs) for USAJOBS and the Washington, DC-area operating status. This release is part of our efforts to carry out the Administration's Digital Government Strategy, set to transform public-facing government services in line with 21st Century expectations.

OPM Operating Status/OPM Alert

OPM Alert is the official operating status app of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the only official OPM status app for the Washington, DC area. This free app provides a real time look at the current operating status for Federal Government offices in the Washington, DC area.

With OPM's official operating status app you can:

  • View the current and active status of Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area
  • Sign up for notifications of status changes
  • Review an archive of previous status updates
  • Get the Washington, DC-area Dismissal and Closing Procedures issued by OPM

Visit the apps store for your operating system or our OPM Alert Mobile App page.

We are also releasing a set of operating status Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that will make it easier for organizations, including federal agencies, to make full use of operating status data. For more information on this API, visit our Current Status API page. Don't know what an API is? Check out

USAJOBS for Android is the job site of the Federal government. Using our new Android app and improved iOS app, you can search and save job listings, receive updates on applications and job search agents and much more. Additionally, you can share what you find on USAJOBS on popular social networking sites or via email, all on your Android smartphone or tablet. Visit the apps store for your operating system or see our Mobile Apps page for more information.

To accompany the two USAJOBS apps, we are releasing another API. The USAJOBS API is intended to broaden the reach of USAJOBS to commercial job boards, mobile apps and social media outlets that are interested in receiving and promoting Federal job opportunities. We're providing the API in two formats to ensure the data is openly accessible. Users of the API will be able to receive up to 5,000 jobs per request. Find additional information, including detailed documentation,on the USAJOBS Job Opportunity Announcements (JOA) REST API page.

If you're a developer, we invite you to visit our Developer Center regularly. That's where we'll post information about new APIs.

Last week, we released four documents written by our Open Government Team:

  • Our Open Culture Plan, which provides "an examination of six thematic areas on which OPM needs to work to become more open and a vision for a future in which we and our stakeholders enjoy the benefits of openness."
  • Technical requirements for a knowledge management system (KMS). The KMS is intended not only to provide a way to manage OPM’s knowledge, but also to provide collaboration tools.
  • Our Learning and Knowledge Sharing Strategy (LKSS). The purpose of the LKSS "is to describe knowledge sharing and recommend activities that will create a learning and collaborative culture within OPM and with external stakeholders."
  • Our Communication Construct, which offers a "solution to the problem of multiple voices and multiple answers to the same question" through a call center (broadly understood) with four tiers, as well as an Ombudsman who works independently but accepts referrals from the four tiers.

We also recently released OPM’s Plan for the Suspension of Operations in the Absence of Appropriations. This plan is for internal use; other agencies have their own plans and will not follow ours in the event of a lapse in appropriations. You can find all five documents and more on our Reference Materials page. Also check out our new Financial Transparency and Accountability pages.

You may also wish to read our recently released social media policy. We’ve updated the language on our blog landing page and in the user agreement you accept before submitting a comment to reflect the new policy.

Finally, you may have noticed that many people submit the same comment many times in a short period of time. Please understand that there is a short delay of a few minutes before your comment appears. Now that the social media policy is in effect, we’ll periodically remove the extra comments, as well as spam (see the links above for details on appropriate and inappropriate content). We hope this decision provides you a better experience with our blog.

On August 29, OPM hosted the group Drupal4Gov for an event about open source technology and the Federal Digital Government Strategy. More than 100 people attended the event. They discussed how agencies can use open source applications (e.g., Drupal or WordPress) for:

  • Managing their technology more effectively and with lower costs
  • Creating websites that are easy to use on different devices and screen sizes through mobile apps and new techniques such as responsive design

Deputy Chief of Staff Justin Johnson and Chief Information Officer Matthew Perry gave an overview of OPM's work and then introduced the two keynote speakers. Gray Brooks, Senior API Strategy at the Digital Services Innovation Center, talked about the impact of the Digital Government Strategy, and Joshua Davis, founder of Mil-OSS, spoke of the Defense Department's work in making open source software secure.

After the keynotes, there were conference sessions on data and security, policy, and advanced technical topics, as well as a hands-on workshop.

The workshop was the second meeting of the Drupal4Gov Ladder community, a governmentwide group of developers who meet regularly to create open source modules and applications for free distribution to government agencies. Over 50 participants broke up into 3 groups. Beginners created their first Drupal site. Others learned more advanced techniques. Still others collaborated to create a new Drupal module: in under 3 hours, they decided on features for the module, designed it, tested it, and distributed it for other members of the open source community to use in their sites. This was the Drupal4Gov Ladder community’s first successful effort in creating and distributing a shared module.

The comments participants offered in the closing session were overwhelmingly positive. They were excited about the knowledge they'd gained and their contributions to sharing knowledge among government agencies. They were very grateful to OPM for hosting the event – as one attendee put it: "OPM hit it out of the park hosting us and providing a great event."

Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this event a success!

Follow OPM’s implementation of the Digital Strategy on our Digital Strategy page.

Posted 3:38 PM by

Today we released our first annual Plain Writing Act Compliance Report. We invite you to give it a read.

As you will see in the report, we've primarily focused our efforts on informing and training our own OPM employees. We're also de-cluttering our website and beginning to ensure our documents are written in plain language for everyone. However, we'd like your help. Keep an eye out for a challenge we will issue for you to identify OPM documents we should make easier to understand using plain language.

Until then, we'd love to hear your comments on the report and how you think we’re doing with the plain writing initiative. Please leave us your comments in – you guessed it – the "Comments" section.

Version 2 of our Open Government Plan moves us from strategy to implementation of ideas from the original plan. It also presents ideas that have emerged since we published Version 1 in 2010.

Read Version 2 to learn more about our new initiatives:

  • Enhancing OPM’s Performance Management Culture
  • Establishing Communities of Practice (CoPs) and Other Networks for Innovation
  • Flagship Initiative: Centralizing Call Centers and Help Desks
  • Enabling Widespread and Uniform Use of Social Media
  • Proactively Disclosing Information via

As we make progress on each of these initiatives, we'll periodically post information about them here. We'd love to hear any innovative ideas you have about implementing them.

    It's hard to believe almost two years have already passed since we first published our Open Government Plan! We're writing version 2, which we'll publish in April. We'd love to hear your ideas – please drop us a note in the comments section.

    Posted 2:41 PM by

    If you have a question about our policies or services, try our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). There you’ll see a list of the top 10 questions. You’ll also be able to browse by topics such as insurance, retirement, or personnel documentation. Or you can search by keyword.

    We encourage you to use the FAQs to their fullest to get answers to your questions, and we welcome your comments on our open government efforts here.

    The Office of Management and Budget recently requested a self-evaluation of each Executive Branch agency’s Open Government efforts. Some of the areas evaluated are publishing government information on our website, improving the quality of the information we provide, and ways we encourage participation with citizens. In 2010 we conducted our first self assessment. We are happy to report we have continued to make significant progress on all three tenets of openness: transparency, collaboration, and participation. Our recent activities include:

    • Hiring a dedicated records officer who has been systematically implementing improvements to records management at OPM.
    • Exploring social media for interacting with the public. We have Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube accounts, all accessible from our homepage. We were particularly pleased to receive kudos on a recent earthquake-related Facebook post: "Thanks for keeping us informed! You guys are doing a great job in using social media to keep feds informed."
    • Expanding online training for OPM employees with integrated social media tools, one of which allows users to share comments on books in our online library.
    • Using a crowdsourcing tool to get ideas from employees on how to improve our work and environment here at OPM.

    Of course we will continue to work with our employees, our customers and other federal agencies on ways we can improve. In the next few weeks we’ll ask for your feedback on plain writing in our documents and then report back to you on our progress. We remain committed to working with and for you. Please feel free to leave your comments on how to make OPM more open here on our blog.



    Learn More

    If you would like to learn more about the OpenOPM initiative, visit

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