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FCW : April 15, 2014
Commentary | ALAN P. BALUTIS President Barack Obama s $3.9 trillion budget plan for scal 2015 drew less than universal acclaim when it was released in March. But this latest budget blueprint was not intended to be the foundation for or necessarily even affect the upcom- ing set of congressional appropria- tions hearings. Instead, it frames key issues for this fall s Senate and House elections: boosting economic growth, reducing the national debt by raising taxes on the rich, over- hauling immigration laws and so on. As expected, congressional Republicans immediately rejected the budget blueprint. They argued that the proposal would violate the spending limits agreed to only a few months ago by both Congress and the White House. Even in today s partisan era, the reactions were harsh and abrupt. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called it "perhaps [Obama s] most irrespon- sible budget yet." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the president had "opted for the political stunt for a budget." Even normally supportive gures were unenthusiastic. Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) expressed disap- pointment in the lack of investment in the National Institutes of Health. The Washington Post s Dana Mil- bank deemed it a "pro forma budget" in a column titled "A Budget Without Vision." But optimists, take solace! Look at the third section in the scal 2015 budget, titled "Creating a 21st Century Government." (For addi- tional details, see the "Analytical Perspectives" section of the budget.) The chapter outlines the president s second-term management agenda: • Deliver better, faster, and smarter services to people and businesses. Plans include investing in new approaches to digital services and federal IT to provide a world- class customer service experience. • Increase quality and value in core administrative functions to enhance productivity and achieve cost savings. The admin- istration would expand the use of shared services between federal agencies and strategic sourcing to capitalize on the buying power of the government. • Open government-funded data and research to the public. The government would continue to open its data and research for public- and private-sector use to spur innova- tion and job creation while ensuring strong privacy protections. • Achieve the full potential for today's federal workforce and build tomorrow's workforce. The budget seeks investments in train- ing, development and recruitment to ensure that the government can attract and retain the best talent and foster a culture of excellence. One won t note much difference from the rst-term agenda, and that is reassuring. Bringing about change in a Fortune One company like the federal government takes time, leadership commitment and continu- ity. With the economy improving and the prospect of enacting major legislation dim, perhaps the Obama administration can turn to IT and acquisition reform and workforce modernization and management to create a true 21st-century govern- ment that is responsive, agile, resil- ient, exible, dynamic, more con- nected, less hierarchical, seamless and transparent. As the Post s E.J. Dionne Jr. observed in a recent column: "The greatest obstacle...now is not the anti-government theorizing of the right. It s the dismal view of govern- ment performance held by the vast majority of Americans. The antidote is a well-run government." To achieve that goal, the govern- ment must develop new account- ability devices to match the radically dispersed and collaborative nature of government work. And agencies will need to make their workplaces more connected and less hierarchi- cal to be more in tune with the val- ues of the talented people we want to attract to the public sector. ■ Obama's management agenda stays the course The scal 2015 budget proposal continues the Obama administration s effort to create a more responsive, agile and dynamic government Bringing about change in a Fortune One company like the federal government takes time, leadership commitment and continuity. ALAN P. BALUTIS is senior director and distinguished fellow at Cisco Systems. 12 April 15, 2014 FCW.COM
March 30, 2014
April 30, 2014