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Key Program Updates

In May, Secretary Ross directed the Department of Commerce (DOC) Office of Acquisition Management (OAM) to work with the Census Bureau to conduct an evaluation of system requirements and 2018 End-to-End Census Test Readiness. He also directed OAM to evaluate the Census Bureau’s updated lifecycle cost estimate (LCCE) for the 2020 Decennial Census Program and to produce and Independent Cost Estimate (ICE) for the program.

To address corrective actions with regard to the evaluation of system requirements and 2018 Census Test Readiness, the OAM estimated increased Census Bureau and contractor funding needs to provide support to Leadership for system- and program-level planning, tracking, and reporting for FY 18 through FY 20, with decreases in this support in FY 21. With regard to the LCCE, the OAM developed an Independent Cost Estimate (ICE) for the 2020 Census. In early August 2017, the Census Bureau and OAM collaborated on a reconciliation between the ICE and the Census Bureau’s Program Office Estimate (POE). In late August 2017, Secretary Ross held internal briefings on the 2020 Census lifecycle estimate with senior leadership with DOC and the Census Bureau. In September 2017, DOC delivered the LCCE for the Decennial Census Program to Congressional appropriators and oversight bodies. Currently, the Census Bureau is finalizing the basis of estimate (BOE) and associated documentation for the LCCE.

In September, the Census Bureau's Decennial Census Programs Directorate worked closely with the Commerce Department and the Office of Management and Budget to identify program requirements, magnitude, and prioritization for an adjustment to the FY 2018 budget reflecting the updated LCCE and to finalize a proposal for an anomaly to the Continuing Resolution (CR) that allows spending in the first quarter of FY 2018 at a rate that is higher than the standard “fixed rate” formula normally operative during a CR ensure that major 2020 Census contracts, including the Census Questionnaire Assistance and Technical Integrator contracts, remain on the critical path. The CR, which was enacted on September 8, 2017, included this anomaly.

All staff, training, infrastructure, systems, and applications were in place and functioned well as the Census Bureau conducted and completed Address Canvassing, the first major operation of the 2018 End-to-End Census Test (see pp. 9-16). Production work in the field began on schedule August 28, 2017, and was completed on schedule by September 29, 2017. The Quality Control operation also began on time and is scheduled to be completed by October 6, 2017. The operation was conducted in three locations -- Beckley, West Virginia; Seattle, Washington; and Providence, Rhode Island. A number of observers from Census Bureau headquarters and regional offices, as well as from oversight groups (including the Government Accountability Office and the Office of the Inspector General), had the opportunity to travel to these sites to observe data collection in the field, area office operations, and speak with supervisory and regional managers.

Several successes to note so far: For the first time, the Listing and Mapping Application (LiMA) was integrated with the overall Operation Control System – Enterprise Censuses and Surveys Enabling (ECaSE) – that will be used in the 2020 Census. This was the first test of overall integration of decennial systems. Also for the first time, the Census Bureau used and integrated with other systems the planned 2020 Decennial Applicant, Personnel, and Payroll System (DAPPS) for capturing time and expenses of field staff. Another big success is the successful implementation of independent quality control component for address canvassing.

The Census Bureau also experienced some issues and challenges in the Test. Management reports from the formal reporting system were not accurate during the majority of the Address Canvassing operation. There was also the continuation of some issues with the assignment of field cases, as well as some unexpected connectivity issues in West Virginia. The Census Bureau had anticipated this for field work, and had designed the listing application to function even when not connected to a wireless network, but a number of listers had difficulty accessing the online training from home, and some listers experienced significant delays when trying to access assignments and imagery data, or upload completed work. Although the Census Bureau resolved these issues during the Test, it continues to explore them and expects many of them to be resolved through the use of its 2020 decennial Device as a Service (dDaaS) contract, which should help ensure connectivity to the best signal provider in any given area.

Other operations for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test, self-response and non-id processing, followed by personal visit interviewing of nonresponding addresses and Group Quarters data collection, will take place next spring and summer in the Providence, Rhode Island location. Based on the 2020 Census Integrated Master Schedule, through September 30, 2017, 53.2 percent of the activities in the 2018 End-to-End Census Test had been completed (see pp. 42-43).

For 2020 Census operations (see pp. 20-37), the promotional outreach events continued for Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA), the first major operation for the 2020 Census. A total of 608 promotional presentations have been completed as of September 30, 2017, and another 76 promotional events are scheduled in October and November 2017. The dates for these events can be found on the 2020 Census Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) Operation page: The printing and shipping of LUCA Invitation Reminder packages began on September 25, 2017, to tribal, state, and local governmental entities. As of September 30, 2017, the Census Bureau had received 9,081 responses from the 39,332 unique governments that are eligible to participate in the program. Of those, 4,828 (representing 79.7 million addresses nationwide) had signed up to participate in the LUCA Operation and 4,253 had declined. Governments typically decline due to insufficient staff, because another level of government is participating, or because they are too busy.

The 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program (RDP) sent invitations to participate in Phase 2, the Voting District Project, of the 2020 RDP to official liaisons in each state, and notifications of that action to legislative leadership as well. The design of the prototype 2020 Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data File to be produced from the 2018 End-to-End Census Test is circulating for clearance, and publication in the Federal Register for public comment, expected in October 2017.

The 2020 Census In-Office Address Canvassing Interactive Review (IR) production continues, and is meeting the expected production goals. The clerks have reviewed 11,155,278 blocks during Interactive Review from the beginning of production in September 2015 through September 30, 2017. They have completed 100 percent of the 11,155,486 total blocks nationally through the first pass in Interactive Review. This process classifies the blocks into three categories:

  • Passive = blocks that do not show signs of change and need no further review at this time.
  • Active = blocks that show signs of change and need to move to the next phase of In-Office Address Canvassing for further review.
  • On Hold = blocks that need new imagery to do the Interactive Review.

As of September 30, 2017, 75.2 percent of the blocks were classified as Passive, 18.1 percent were classified as Active, and 5.3 percent were classified as On-Hold. As of September 30, 2017, 159,881 blocks have been triggered for IR re-review.

The Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCaP) program (see pp. 39) provided the final version of their vision/scope documentation for release to the 2020 Census program and for 2020 Census Portfolio Management Governing Board approval. For Product Release 8 (2018 End-to-End Census Test), the program supported joint Decennial and CEDCaP Systems Requirement Review, and continued iterative development and testing for needed CEDCaP capabilities.

For the Census Bureau-United States Postal Service Partnership effort, development of core program management artifacts for the Census Bureau-United States Postal Service (USPS) partnership were completed, including an integrated project plan, common reporting process, risk register, and roles and responsibilities matrix on September 28, 2017. Both USPS and Census Bureau signatures on a Letter of Intent formalizing the partnership between the two organizations were also obtained, and a draft Interagency Agreement documenting the requirements, schedule, and cost information for the Postal Carriers as Enumerators Pilot was distributed for stakeholder review on September 20, 2017.

The Census Bureau released v. 1.0 of the 2020 Census Integrated Communications Plan to the National Advisory Committee and the Census Scientific Advisory Committee on September 27, 2017. The plan is also being shared with other stakeholders and with oversight. The Integrated Communications contractor (Team Y&R) held a paid media workshop from September 12 – 14, 2017, that included the contractor's partners and Census Bureau staff. The purpose of the workshop was to brainstorm the strategy that would be used for the paid media component of the advertising campaign. The draft 2020 Census Tribal Consultation with State-Recognized Tribes: Final Report completed Census Bureau clearance on September 29, 2017.

Updates continue for the release of the next iteration of the 2020 Census Operational Plan (v. 3.0) at the October 27, 2017, Program Management Review. Of the Detailed Operational Plans also being prepared for each of the 35 2020 Census operations, 16 have been released in the 2020 Census memorandum series (available on the Census Bureau website at

Extensive engagements with stakeholders and oversight also continued (pp. 40-41). On September 13, 2017, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued their final report from their audit of the 2020 Census In-Office Address Canvassing operation, and the Census Bureau is preparing its action plan in response to their two recommendations. On September 22, 2017, the Census Bureau provided the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with an action plan in response to the three recommendations in their final audit report on the same operation. The GAO initiated a new audit on the Census Bureau’s 2020 Schedule, to answer two questions: 1) To what extent has the Census Bureau improved its use of best practices for scheduling key projects, and 2) To what extent have key decisions reflected in the Census Bureau’s Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) been made on schedule. GAO currently has three 2020 Census-focused audits in progress, and the OIG has two.

The Census Bureau hosted a successful International Census Forum from September 5 – 8, 2017, to discuss plans and progress for the next round of censuses in various countries. Participants included representatives from Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England & Wales, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Extensive updates and discussions about the 2020 Census took place at the meeting of the Census Scientific Advisory Committee on September 14 – 15, 2017.

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Some other key program updates include:

Component ID: #ti925921154

2018 End-to-End Census Test

  • Began recruiting for Peak Operations field staff (Providence, Rhode Island, Area Census Office) on September 5, 2017.
  • Received Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (Paperwork Reduction Act) approval for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test Peak operations on September 15, 2017.
  • Revised detailed performance (operational progress) report requirements based on technical review. Completed final design review with developers and Performance Measurement Branch staff on September 19, 2017.
  • Agreed to the final scope, schedule, and budget for the Census Questionnaire Assistance (CQA) operation, allowing the program to finalize the 2018 End-to-End Census Test phase of the contract (option period 1).
  • The Government Publishing Office (GPO) has received and is reviewing bids from the solicitation to acquire the necessary printing and mailing services for the Test, with an option for extending through the 2020 Census. An award is planned for October 2017.
  • Conducted a series of Joint Application Development (JAD) sessions to accomplish acceptance of Release C (Self-Response) and D (Field Enumeration) capability requirements by development teams.
  • Began circulating a Federal Register Notice, on September 1, 2017, for comment on the draft design of the prototype P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data File to be produced from the 2018 End-to-End Census Test. Revisions to the file structure to account for the use of a combined race and ethnicity question in the Test and for a proposed group quarters table were approved through the disclosure avoidance review process and are included as part of the design.
  • Distributed draft Interagency Agreement documenting the requirements, schedule, and cost information for thePostal Carriers as Enumerators Pilot for stakeholder review on September 20, 2017.

Component ID: #ti925921153

2020 Census Operations

  • Completed the 2020 System Requirements Review #3 (SRR#3) on September 28, 2017. In SRR#3, the Decennial Census Management Division (DCMD) presented the business requirements for 2020 core operations plus Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) and Geographic Programs.
  • Participated in multiple working sessions with the Decennial Contracts Execution Office’s (DCEO) Government Program Management Office (GPMO) and the Technical Integrator (TI) to continue to define requirements that support the needs of Paper Data Capture (PDC) for the 2020 Census.
  • Continued detailed development of the 2020 Census Program Integrated Master Schedule with the Schedule Management Branch, organizing and implementing numerous lockup schedule sessions for operations and systems.
  • Began work on the 2020 Address List Update program for Group Quarters and Transitory Locations on September 1, 2017.

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