OMB’s “exit memo” said that “while much has been accomplished, much works remains to modernize the management and operations of the federal government and better serve the American people.”
Areas of needed focus it cited include: maturing agencies’ management practices; further strengthening cybersecurity, including through further IT modernization; improving data management; and continuing acquisition reforms. “Moving forward, it is critical that the next administration invest in the infrastructure to support and deepen category management to ensure that it becomes a permanent approach to buying common goods and services,” it said.
“The next administration should place a premium on recruiting, hiring, and developing the best technology talent in the country and making sure their advice informs public policy and government management,” it added.
The OMB also warned against a return to the type of “sequestration” spending limits imposed in 2013, which could recur in fiscal 2018 barring a budget agreement to stave them off. Those limits “contributed only a small fraction” toward deficit reduction while having “severe programmatic impacts, shortchanging investments that would have contributed to future growth, reducing economic opportunity, imposing unnecessary risk to our national security and harming vulnerable populations.”
“Federal employee furloughs cost the taxpayers roughly $2 billion for work that wasn’t performed and a range of programs, from the National Parks to NIH research, were harmed,” it said.
“For example, hundreds of important scientific projects went unfunded, with the National Institutes of Health funding the lowest number of competitive research project grants in over a decade, limiting research into brain disorders, infectious disease, and cancer. The Department of Defense furloughed about 650,000 civilian employees, and had to significantly curtail Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps training activities, which hurt their readiness to respond in the event of an emergency,” it said.