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What You Need to Know About OMB's Cross-Agency Goals


The Office of Management and Budget has released an updated list of cross-agency priority goals for the remainder of the Obama administration. This is the first in a two-part series addressing the details of each goal.

Cross-agency priority goals address the longstanding challenge of tackling horizontal problems across vertical organizational silos. Fifteen cross-agency goals were announced in the fiscal 2015 federal budget proposal—seven mission-oriented and eight management-focused—with a four-year time horizon. To establish these goals, OMB solicited nominations from federal agencies and several congressional committees. Only three carry over from the previous set of commitments.

To ensure effective leadership and accountability across government, senior leaders at the Executive Office of the President and key agencies have been named to guide each effort. Later this spring, the goal leaders will release more detailed action plans, including metrics and milestones to gauge progress. Each quarter, OMB will review progress on these goals and post the latest results on

Following are edited excerpts of the mission-oriented goals detailed on

Mission-Oriented Cross-Agency Priority Goals

Goal 1: Cybersecurity

Improve cybersecurity performance through ongoing awareness of information security, vulnerabilities and threats—ensuring that only authorized users have access to resources and information—and the implementation of technologies and processes that reduce the risk of malware.

Goal leaders:

  • Michael Daniel, senior advisor to the president and coordinator for cybersecurity
  • Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary, Homeland Security Department
  • Deputy secretary, Defense Department  (Christine Fox, acting)

Goal 2: Climate Change

More than double the government’s use of renewable energy sources to 20 percent by 2020—the current goal is 7.5 percent. Improve energy efficiency at federal facilities as part of the wider strategy to reduce (a) direct greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent and (b) indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent by 2020, based on a 2008 baseline.

Goal leaders:

  • Chair, Council on Environmental Quality (Michael Boots, acting)
  • Dan Tangherlini, administrator, General Services Administration

Goal 3: Insider Threat and Security Clearance

Mitigate the inherent risks and vulnerabilities posed by employees with trusted access to government information, facilities, systems and other personnel. Steps include:

  • Developing an insider threat program
  • Improving oversight and quality of background investigations
  • Eliminating the backlog of reinvestigations
  • Improving the use of automation in background security investigations
  • Enhancing the security culture via training and reporting mechanisms

Goal leaders:

  • James Clapper, director of National Intelligence
  • Katherine Archuleta, director, Office of Personnel Management
  • Michael Daniel, senior advisor to the president and coordinator for cybersecurity

Goal 4: Job-Creating Investment

Improve federal investment tools and resources, while also increasing interagency coordination, to encourage foreign direct investment, spurring job growth. This will include the involvement of a global investment team to encourage business investments.

Goal leaders:

  • Jason Miller, special assistant to the president for manufacturing policy, National Economic Council
  • Deputy secretary, Commerce Department (Pat Gallagher, acting)
  • Heather Higginbottom, deputy secretary for management and resources, State Department

Goal 5: Infrastructure Permitting Modernization

Modernize the federal permitting and review process for major infrastructure projects to reduce uncertainty for project applicants, reduce the aggregate time it takes to conduct reviews and make permitting decisions by half, and produce measurably better environmental and community outcomes. This will include an existing implementation plan that identifies four strategies, 15 reforms and nearly 100 specific milestones.

Goal leaders:

  • Beth Cobert, deputy director, OMB 
  • Chair, Council on Environmental Quality (Michael Boots, acting) 
  • Deputy secretary, Transportation (Victor Mendez, acting)

Goal 6: STEM Education

Improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by implementing the Federal STEM Education 5-Year Strategic Plan, announced in May 2013, which includes specific strategies and targets. This is the continuation of an earlier priority goal.

Goal leaders:

  • Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation, Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Joan Ferrini-Mundy, assistant director for education and human resources, National Science Foundation

Goal 7: Service Members and Veterans Mental Health

Improve mental health outcomes for service members, veterans and their families. Steps include:

  • Reducing barriers to those seeking mental health treatment and support
  • Enhancing access to care and support by building on successful programs
  • Supporting research to identify and develop more effective diagnostic and treatment methods

Goal leaders:

  • James Kvaal, deputy director, Domestic Policy Council
  • Sloan Gibson, deputy secretary, Veterans Affairs Department

Part 2 of this series will list management-related cross-agency priority goals.

(Image via tadamichi/

John M. Kamensky is a Senior Research Fellow for the IBM Center for the Business of Government. He previously served as deputy director of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government, a special assistant at the Office of Management and Budget, and as an assistant director at the Government Accountability Office. He 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 at the University of Texas at Austin.

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