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Sequestration Got You Down? Embrace It, Says Defense Leader


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Sequestration is here and, by the looks of things, it’s not going anywhere. Welcome to reality. At the Defense Department, this reality has set in and leaders are moving forward. Beth McGrath, Defense’s Deputy Chief Management Officer, is one such leader tasked with making sure her behemoth organization does just that.

“On any given day we’re not sure what is…going to hit us,” McGrath says of the current budgetary and managerial environment. “It really is about optimizing what we do today but ensuring that we have capacity for the next thing that we may or may not be aware of.”

While things aren’t easy, more so than any other organization it’s the Defense Department’s job to be agile enough to respond to and support any contingency, says McGrath. Sequestration has come and its time to make the most of the opportunities it presents, she says.

“I think with the fiscal environment being the way it is, now is the time to put those new, different ideas on the table,” she advises rising leaders. “We’re all looking for [innovative ideas].”

“People have a terrific opportunity everyday to lead,” she says, more so than at any other time “they should take it.”

To hear the entire interview, listen or subscribe to the Excellence in Government Podcast. 

Looking for more defense news? Introducing Defense One, delivering the news, analysis and ideas that will define the future of U.S. national security. Visit

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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