Following is a section of one of the documents accompanying the White House’s budget recommendations which says the administration soon will announce a detailed program to create what it calls a “modern” federal government.
In March, the Administration will announce specific efforts to advance the vision and improve the three drivers of reform. The Administration will name senior accountable officials and establish concrete goals and trackable metrics to ensure public accountability. This agenda will address critical challenges where Government as a whole still operates in the past. Specific goal areas will include:
• Modernizing Information Technology (IT) to Increase Productivity and Security. Although the Federal Government spends roughly $90 billion annually on IT, these systems remain outdated and poorly protected. The Administration will increase the use of modern technologies, retire highly insecure and outdated systems, and direct modernization cost savings to mission-driven outcomes. The Administration will improve its ability to identify and combat cybersecurity risks to agencies’ data, systems, and networks.
• Creating a 21st Century Framework for Data that Drives Efficiency, Accountability, and Transparency. The Federal Government needs a robust, integrated approach to using data to deliver on mission, serve customers, and steward resources. The Administration will better manage and leverage data as an asset to better grow the economy, increase the effectiveness of Government, facilitate oversight, and promote transparency.
• Developing a Workforce for the 21st Century. Outdated rules and technology have often left the Federal Government struggling to attract the best talent, to hire quickly, or to hold workers and leaders accountable. The Administration will modernize processes and practices to bring out the best in employees and enable the Federal workforce to more effectively deliver mission results.
• Improving the Customer Experience with Federal Services. The American people expect high-quality customer service from Federal programs. The Administration will ensure that Government no longer lags behind the private sector in customer experience.
• Shifting from Low-Value to High-Value Work. Hundreds of burdensome rules and requirements built up over decades force Federal agencies to devote their resources toward meaningless compliance. These resources can be better spent serving citizen needs. The Administration will clear out low-value, unnecessary, and obsolete policies and requirements to shift resources toward high-value work. The Administration has already begun this process by eliminating outdated plans and reports that burden Federal employees with unnecessary hours of paperwork. With the Budget, Federal agencies are also proposing that the Congress eliminate or modify approximately 400 plans and reports because they are outdated or duplicative (a list of these proposals is available on www.performance.gov).
• Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Administrative Services across Government. Agency missions are imperiled and taxpayer dollars are squandered when administrative functions across agencies—such as IT, human resources, and contracting—are inefficient or fail to take advantage of economies of scale. Half of Federal agencies report low satisfaction with such administrative functions. The Administration will improve the quality and efficiency of administrative services, freeing resources to improve outcomes and accountability for the American people.
To drive these long-term Presidential priorities, the Administration will leverage crossagency priority (CAP) goals to coordinate and publicly track implementation across agencies. CAP goals will also strengthen Federal Government management in other priority areas, such as improving management of major acquisitions, reducing improper payments, increasing transparency of IT costs, enhancing accountability for grant spending, and improving purchasing across Government as an enterprise. CAP goal teams will lead the execution of related Administration priorities, such as implementing the recommendations of the Report to the President on Federal IT Modernization focused on Network Modernization, Cybersecurity, and Shared Services. The Administration will establish Centers of Excellence inside the General Services Administration to focus on critical priorities such as cloud migration, data center consolidation, and modernizing call centers to better serve citizens. The Administration will work to strengthen fundamental capabilities, such as the ability to manage data comprehensively and to use data routinely to improve operations, which are the backbone of how business is accomplished in the modern era. In addition to cross-agency efforts, each major Federal agency is publishing an updated strategic plan with the Budget, establishing strategic objectives for the Administration’s first term and committing to agency priority goals for the next two years. A full list of agency performance plans is available at www.performance. gov.
Reorganization and Reform. Last March, the President sent out a call for change in Executive Order 13781, “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch,” where he tasked the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director with providing a plan to reorganize the Executive Branch. The Budget is a first step in presenting this plan to the American people. This plan includes changes that can be accomplished with existing authorities as well as others that would require new funding and authorities. These changes also include reforms identified by individual Federal employees, who answered the Administration’s request for their best ideas to improve public services or better use taxpayer dollars. These reforms include, for example: eliminating unnecessary political positions; using shared services to improve IT services and reduce costs through economies of scale; realigning offices and personnel; and revamping regional offices. For instance, in order to improve customer service, the Department of the Interior has already begun to shift employees away from Washington, District of Columbia, closer to the citizens the Agency serves. The Department of Energy is also planning to review its existing laboratory network and identify potential efficiencies.
As part of this plan, the Administration is also planning to review how it can restructure functions across Federal agencies. For instance, it is planning a review of how it can streamline Federal statistical functions across multiple Federal agencies. The Administration is also reviewing Federal development finance activities— currently spread across the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and multiple offices at the United States Agency for International Development and other Federal agencies—to identify ways to reduce duplication and better achieve national security and international development outcomes while supporting U.S. business and jobs. The Budget proposes to consolidate these functions into a new Development Finance Institution, including reforms that protect taxpayer dollars.
In the months ahead, the Administration plans to unveil additional reorganization proposals designed to refocus programs around current and future needs.
A Clear Roadmap Ahead. The Federal Government cannot be fully equipped to meet modern management challenges without support from the Congress. In some cases, real change will demand different agency structures. In other cases, the Administration may need to update rigid requirements from the past that hold back Government. Government must recognize that it can no longer meet modern needs with the same approaches, technology, and skillsets from centuries past. By acknowledging shortcomings, setting a modern vision, and delivering on concrete goals, the Administration can adapt Federal programs, capabilities, and the Federal workforce to more efficiently, effectively and accountably meet mission demands and public expectations.