My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Gary Locke, soon-to-be Commerce Secretary…

Today, former Washington Governor Gary Locke (D) began his confirmation hearings to become the new Commerce Secretary. There is no doubt that he will be grilled by members (from the GOP) about his role in coordinating the 2010 Census. Our buddy Ed O’Keefe at The Washington Post’s Federal Eye Blog posted a list of questions that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) thinks should be asked to Locke:

• In the past, GAO has reported lessons learned from satellite acquisitions such as underestimating program costs and the unanticipated expansion of the program’s scope. What specific large-scale acquisitions have you been involved in? Have acquisitions you have been involved in experienced cost overruns or expansions in scope? What lessons have you learned from your prior experiences that will ensure that future acquisitions, such as the GOES-R program, do not also experience similar problems?

• The 2010 Census is less than two years away. What do you think are the key challenges facing its managers, and what advice would you give them to help overcome those challenges?

• The bureau plans to spend an estimated $3 billion on IT investments for the 2010 Census. Management of these large investments will be important to the success of the Decennial Census. Do you have experience overseeing or managing such large contracts? What do you think is most important to ensuring that IT contracts meet expected cost, schedule, and performance?

• Many agencies are involved in the data collection and dissemination of federal statistics, including the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Do you have experiences with significant data sharing among statistical agencies? How would you balance data sharing with concerns about privacy and confidentiality?