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Cross-agency priority success requires collaboration

Mar. 13, 2014 - 04:10PM   |  
By JONATHAN BREUL   |   Comments
Jonathan D. Breul is an adjunct professor in Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. Previously, he was executive director of the IBM Center for The Business of Government and was a career executive in the Office of Management and Budget.


With the release of the FY 2013 budget, the administration has announced 15 cross-agency priority goals. Implementation of these presidential priority areas will require active collaboration between multiple departments and agencies because they address long-standing challenges for which no one agency has sole responsibility. They include seven mission-oriented and eight management-focused goals, each with a four-year time horizon. In establishing these goals, the Office of Management and Budget solicited nominations from federal agencies and several congressional committees. You can find a full list of cross-agency priority goals (as well as 92 agency goals and objectives) at

Interestingly, the goals have senior leaders within the Executive Office of the President and within key delivery agencies. For example, the National Economic Council and the deputy secretaries of the Commerce and State departments are leading efforts to encourage foreign direct investment and spur job growth by improving federal investment tools and resources while increasing interagency coordination. Another example is that the White House and the deputy secretaries of the Homeland Security and Defense departments will focus agency efforts on improving the security of their information operations by implementing cybersecurity capabilities and developing performance-based metrics to measure their success. In the management arena, the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the under secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics will lead efforts to improve the government’s buying power through use of strategic sourcing.

Later this spring the goal leaders will release more detailed action plans for each of their goals, including specific metrics and milestones that will be used to gauge progress. To maintain the focus on implementation, each quarter, OMB will review progress on these goals and will update with the latest results.

To ensure effective leadership across the federal government, goals have named a senior official both within the Executive Office of the President and within key delivery agencies. This shared accountability between the White House and agencies responsible for delivering the results is an interesting development worth watching.

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