One indicator of success for a USDS engagement is our ability to deliver a solution that can be handed off and maintained by our agency partners. This model of work not only promotes accountability and buy-in from the agency teams we work with but also enables our staff to address a greater number of challenges facing government. The following are two projects recently completed by USDS.
Replacing the Advisor Network (ANET)
Department of Defense
USDS successfully completed its work on ANET, a system used by hundreds of NATO military and civilian advisors who are deployed to Afghanistan for the Train, Advise, Assist mission of Operation Resolute Support. The Defense Digital Service (DDS) began development efforts of ANET in November 2016 to replace the legacy system that was used to track and understand advisor engagements with their Afghan Government counterparts with a new product built using modern software development standards.
ANET 2.0 was fully deployed on a classified network to roughly 800 advisors across Afghanistan in March 2017 and long-term maintenance was handed over to NATO developers based in Europe. The unclassified ANET 2.0 source code was also released on code.mil, the DoD’s open source platform launched by DDS in February 2017.
This project was previously chronicled in our July 2017 Report to Congress.
Improving the Visa Processing System
Department of State
Since July 2016, USDS worked with the State Department on design and technical improvements for an existing tool called the Visa Status Check. The tool allows users to check their case status, but much of the information provided to the users was not actionable. The team conducted user research to determine how to adjust the tool so applicants could proactively advance their cases, rather than calling the National Visa Center, which was receiving thousands of calls daily with basic status questions. In February 2017, the team completed a series of changes to the existing tool. Information is now presented more robustly to help users understand what work must be completed on their cases. The team also fixed underlying technical issues, such as removing outdated business logic and replacing it with well-documented source code, which improved overall performance.
This project was previously chronicled in our 2016 Report to Congress.