Federal Manager's Daily Report

20 percent of federal agency leaders say they have experienced a significant crisis within the last three years.

Federal agency leaders need to increase their focus on enterprise risk management, or ERM, according to a report from the Senior Executives Association that found that 85 percent of such leaders envision a serious threat or disruption of mission operations in the next two to three years and that 20 percent already had experienced a significant crisis within the last three years.

The SEA said the report, done in conjunction with the Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management, “aims to highlight how agency leaders can use ERM to reduce the risk of government failure while increasing the likelihood for the successful delivery of agency missions.”

“Agencies who have implemented the strategy seen improvements in their ability to allocate resources to their most critical needs and in their ability to identify, understand, and respond to potential risks and opportunities proactively… Our research indicates that incorporating ERM into risk management strategy can be an effective, proactive mechanism for protecting our governmental institutions and their mission delivery,” it said.

It advocates for approaches including “revamping government personnel systems, reducing layers and flattening the chain of command, making critical investments in essential areas such as information technology, and promoting innovation and entrepreneurialism.”

Recent changes in law and the administration’s management agenda does touch on some of those issues, it said, through steps such as a central technology modernization effort and adoption of more secure technology. “These actions represent progress, but they don’t quite get to mitigating the key foundational and structural weaknesses of a government that is still overly reliant on 20th century practices to address 21st century challenges,” it said.