Federal Government Reform Resources: Anticipatory Governance Report

Former Vice Presidential National Security Advisor Leon Fuerth, working with Evan Faber, has released a white paper that has been a decade in the making.  The paper describes how the federal government is increasingly facing challenges of greater complexity that demand faster action than the current institutional structures can respond to effectively.

Federal Government Reform Resources: Memos to National Leaders

If President Obama meets with Governor Romney to discuss ways to reform the operations of the federal government, here are some resources they have to draw upon. A number of think tanks have busily been preparing a series of white papers to spark the imaginations of those developing a reform agenda. These are not to be confused with agendas for new policies (such as climate change or immigration reform) or budget decisions, such as the pending fiscal debates.

Understanding Continuing Resolutions and Government Shutdowns

In only four cases since 1975 has Congress passed all appropriation bills before the beginning of the fiscal year.  In some years, like 1996, inaction led to agencies suspending operations.  This year, Congress adopted a six-month Continuing Resolutionfor all fiscal year 2013 appropriation bills, delaying final decisions until March 31st.  What do these kinds of delays mean for how agencies manage their monies and op

Bridging the Gap

I’ve been asked to participate as a “practitioner” on a discussion panel at the upcoming conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)  It is a high-powered conference of top academics from around the U.S.

Measuring the Unobserved

Cracking the challenge of measuring unobserved behaviors – drug smuggling, tax fraud, counterfeiting, and illegal immigration – is key to developing better strategies and targeting resources in the right places to catch and deter illegal actions.

Key Features of Cross-Agency Collaborative Mechanisms

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has developed an inventory of “mechanisms that the federal government uses to lead and implement interagency collaboration,” along with a self-assessment checklist to consider when using them.

GAO’s latest study on collaborative governance is based on an analysis of more than 300 past GAO reports covering issues such as homeland security, agriculture, and health, as well as a series of interviews with experts on the topic.

Building an Analytics Culture

Investing in, and using, program evaluation has been a hard sell in many agencies for years.  While evaluation is important for long-term program assessments, it can be expensive and take years to complete.  But with new technology and greater availability of data, many agencies are beginning to take advantage of the value of existing real-time administrative data.  This movement is called “data analytics.”  And the immediacy of results is appealing to many executives.

Government Reform: Insights for the Future of the Movement (Part 6)

  • Strong statutory and institutional structures and an investment in performance management systems seem to be more common in emerging countries.  For example, in Columbia this is embedded in their constitution and Kenya has created a department to lead the nation’s transformation efforts.  In more developed countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland, these efforts are more administratively-based, oftentimes at the discretion of the prime minister.

The Next Four Years: Managing a Balancing Act

Twenty years ago, federal agencies typically did not have senior executives leading key mission support functions such as finance, technology, acquisition, or workforce.  Over those two decades, Congress created a series of “chief” positions, reflecting trends in the private sector – chief financial officers, chief information technology officers, chief acquisition officers, and chief human capital officers.  They recently added performance improvement officers but without the “chief” title.

Government Reform: Inspirations from Developing Countries (Part 5)

four developing countries.

The World Bank seminars this past Spring continue to have me mulling about the progress of the performance movement internationally, and how surprised I was that several countries seem to be putting foundations for performance in place at two or three times the speed of more developed countries.  Four countries struck me as making notable progress, which are summarized in earlier blog posts:  Colombia, South Africa, Kenya, and Malaysia:


Senior Fellow
IBM Center for The Business of Government
600 14th Street, NW Second Floor
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Mr. Kamensky is a Senior Fellow with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and an Associate Partner with IBM's Global Business Services.

During 24 years of public service, he had a significant role in helping pioneer the federal government's performance and results orientation. Mr. Kamensky is passionate about helping transform government to be more results-oriented, performance-based, customer-driven, and collaborative in nature.

Prior to joining the IBM Center, he served for eight years as deputy director of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government. Before that, he worked at the Government Accountability Office where he played a key role in the development and passage of the Government Performance and Results Act.

Since joining the IBM Center, he has co-edited six books and writes and speaks extensively on performance management and government reform.  Current areas of emphasis include transparency, collaboration, and citizen engagement.  He also blogs about management challenges in government.

Mr. Kamensky is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and received a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at: john.kamensky@us.ibm.com

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