United States Digital Service

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United States Digital Service
U.S. Digital Service Logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed11 August 2014 (2014-08-11)
Headquarters736 Jackson Place, Washington, D.C.
Agency executive
  • Mina Hsiang, Administrator
Parent departmentExecutive Office of the President of the United States

The United States Digital Service is an elite technology unit[1][2] housed within the Executive Office of the President of the United States. It provides consultation services to federal agencies on information technology. It seeks to improve and simplify digital service, and to improve federal websites. It was launched on August 11, 2014.[3][4][5][6]

Not reported in the media at the time because it was not then yet publicly known, the founding date of August 2014 was urgently rushed due to the months-old revelation within to the Obama administration of the 22+ million records hack of the Office of Personnel Management. The first of two such hacks was discovered on 20 March 2014, the second occurring on 7 May 2014 not being discovered until 15 April 2015,[7] no doubt directly leading to the 10 July 2015 resignation of the Obama political appointee Katherine Archuleta, head of OPM.

The hacks were known to have been perpetrated by agents of the Chinese government motivated by its one-party state–enabled consolidation of power then enmeshed in the early throes of its Chinese Communist Party's feeding of its artificial intelligence databases not only with PPI on Chinese citizens[8] but also on US citizens, especially those with the highest of security clearances.

The US Digital Service is the creator of:

  • A Digital Services Playbook, for improving digital government[9]
  • Draft Web Design Standards, "to build accessible, mobile-friendly government websites"[10]
  • TechFAR Handbook, on federal contracting and procurement[11][12]

The United States Digital Service submits a report to Congress each year detailing its projects and accomplishments.[13] Its federal agency work spans across the Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, Small Business Administration, General Services Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, and Health and Human Services.

The United States Digital Service was the brainchild of Jennifer Pahlka, who took the job of US Deputy CTO in 2013 with the goal of creating an elite government technology unit at the White House that would be equivalent to the UK Government Digital Service.[14] The first head of the US Digital Service was Mikey Dickerson, a former Google engineer who was involved in the 2013–14 rescue of HealthCare.gov website.[15] He was succeeded by Matt Cutts, who stepped down in April 2021.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zakrzewski, Cat (5 December 2018). "The government's tech unit is trying to reduce wait times for asylum seekers". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ Lapowsky, Issie (2019-03-14). "Kamala Harris Wants to Give States Millions to Overhaul Tech". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  3. ^ "FACT SHEET: Improving and Simplifying Digital Service". The White House. 2014-08-11. Retrieved 2015-04-19.
  4. ^ Scola, Nancy (2014-08-11). "White House launches 'U.S. Digital Service,' with HealthCare.gov fixer at the helm". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-04-19.
  5. ^ Howard, Alex (2014-08-13). "New US Digital Service Looks to Avoid IT Catastrophes". TechPresident. Retrieved 2015-04-19. link unavailable as of 28 May 2021
  6. ^ Shear, Michael D (2014-08-11). "White House Picks Engineer From Google to Fix Sites". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2015-04-19.
  7. ^ "House Oversight Committee: The OPM Data Breach: How the Government Jeopardized Our National Security for More than a Generation" (PDF). Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  8. ^ "PBS Frontline: In the Age of AI". Retrieved 28 May 2021. Chinese limitations against its citizens appear near the end.
  9. ^ Digital Services Playbook
  10. ^ Draft Web Design Standards
  11. ^ Scola, Nancy (2014-08-25). "How the U.S. Digital Service could upset D.C.'s 'IT vendor ecosystem'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-04-19.
  12. ^ Rockwell, Mark (2015-03-13). "OFPP launches podcast series to talk TechFAR, playbook". FCW Insider. Retrieved 2015-04-19.
  13. ^ "United States Digital Service". United States Digital Service. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  14. ^ Levy, Steven (2017-01-18). "The Final Days of Obama's Tech Surge". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  15. ^ Brill, Stephen (2014-02-27). "Obama's Trauma Team". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2015-04-19. (subscription required)
  16. ^ Cutts, Matt (2021-04-14). "The Next Chapter for USDS". U.S. Digital Service Blog. Retrieved 2021-08-20.

External links[edit]