The Problem: Federal departments and agencies plan, budget and work in silos and cylinders. Programs built in isolation are doomed to fail.
The Big Idea: Good government requires communication, cooperation and coordination across agencies, across all levels of government, with local communities and with non-government partners. In the 21st century, government will only succeed through networks of teams and partnerships – what many call a “whole of government” approach.
The Bigger Mess: We have no mechanisms to support partnerships across agencies. Indeed, we have laws and policies that prevent cooperation even for programs where different agencies work together in the field. For example, if the desks and computers at a job-training site are funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, employees of the U.S. Department of Education cannot sit at the desks or use the computers. It’s worse than that – legal barriers prevent cooperation for fighting cyber-terrorism. We can’t even work together to understand threat factors.
- Reinvent the White House Office of Management and Budget as well as Congressional oversight offices so they support program partnerships, coordinated funding and a whole of government way of thinking.
- Make sure the strategic plans of all agencies support coordination and partnership.
- Develop structures for cooperation such as cross-agency policy and planning groups, integrated technical teams and specific offices for coordinating multi-agency (also called “whole of government”) budgets and measures of progress.