Briefing

Road warriors, economic stimulus checklist, record-breaking war games and more than just eye candy.

Road Warriors

Car accidents are the leading cause of death among combat veterans in their early post-deployment years, and the Veterans Affairs Department has teamed up with the Defense and Transportation departments to put the brakes on this trend. Their recently launched Safe Driving program will promote research on recently returned veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Transportation Department statistics, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, with men accounting for about 70 percent of traffic fatalities. Some studies have shown a higher rate of deaths among post-deployment veterans compared with civilians and military personnel who have not been deployed.

-Elizabeth Newell

Economic Stimulus Checklist: Upcoming Deadlines

April 7 - 28

Each week during April, agencies must submit a spending report for the previous week. May 1

Agencywide and program-specific stimulus plans are due to OMB.

May 5

Weekly spending report due.

All Recovery Act assistance transactions and contract awards must be provided in format used for USAspending.gov.

May 8

First monthly financial reports due.

Top Five

The Army's popular warfighting video game, "America's Army," swept up five titles in the Guinness World Records 2009: Gamer's Edition, which hit the shelves in February.

1. Largest virtual Army: 9.7 million gamers, almost 15 times more than the real Army force of 675,000 soldiers.
Most downloaded war video game: 42.6 million times.
2. Most hours spent playing a free online shooter: 230,918,365 hours in more than 60 countries.
3. First military Web site to support a video game: Launched in 2002, the first multiplatform game to receive a government-licensed trademark.
4. Largest traveling game simulator: 19,500 square feet; up to 50 military training participants; six life-size Humvees, equipped with modified weapons and flat screens.

Source: Army

Tax Hike

The tax man cometh; the tax man makes it easier. At least it seems that way, looking at the explosive growth in e-filing. The number of individual tax returns filed electronically has increased more than 2,000 percent since the Internal Revenue Service launched its e-file program nationwide in 1990 to provide faster, better service.

Source: Internal Revenue Service

More Than Just Eye Candy

Government transparency is suddenly the new little black dress: simple, classic and universally appealing.

While popular, the issue is not as simple as it appears-or as the Obama administration is discovering. Making information available and easily accessible to the public is a massive undertaking that depends heavily on the efforts of individual agencies. Federal managers, already grappling with myriad data and program reporting requirements, are experiencing the latest government transparency craze in the form of stimulus spending.

Recovery.gov is the new online clearinghouse for tracking the $787 billion in federal funds. Since March, agencies have been submitting weekly reports to the Office of Management and Budget on stimulus spending, and several, if not all, have posted the information on their Web sites, as required by law. Recovery.gov links to these Web site pages, but there is no money tracking feature on that site enabling users to view all the data in one central online location. That makes agencies' Web sites even more important. So far, Recovery.gov is a lovely concept, but isn't offering the kind of substance it has promised to the public.

-Kellie Lunney

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