Albright Urged to Fix State

Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., has urged Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to improve her department's performance by reducing its costs and upgrading its information systems.

Speaking during Albright's January 22 confirmation hearing, Thompson said the State Department has failed to manage its operations efficiently in the past and he hopes that will change under the new secretary's stewardship.

"I question whether the department has done all it can," said Thompson. "Has it cut to the bone and ignored the fat in order to generate a compelling case before Congress for more money?"

Thompson pointed to General Accounting Office and inspector general reports that concluded top officials at State have focused on policy initiatives at the expense of management reform. He noted that the department spends $300 million a year on its information systems, yet still struggles with ailing computers in need of major upgrades.

GAO reported in August that State had not mapped out a strategy for downsizing its operations. State could significantly reduce its costs if it tried, but it was reluctant to downsize despite indications that Congress and the Office of Management and Budget would propose to cut the department's budget, GAO concluded.

Thompson called on Albright to make her department comply with the Chief Financial Officers Act and the Government Performance and Results Act by developing detailed financial information measuring State's programs. And in a speech on the Senate floor, he warned other agencies that they, too, would be held to GPRA and the CFO Act.

"These laws apply commonsense approaches to the business of government to reduce inefficiencies and get real cost savings for taxpayers," Thompson said. "It is questionable whether these new laws will be taken seriously and fully implemented without extensive congressional oversight. There are reports that agencies do not believe Congress is serious about the effective implementation of these laws. I am hereby serving notice that they would be seriously mistaken in that belief."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.