Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Rhetoric of Reorganization


I continued to be intrigued by the talk coming out of the White House on the subject of reorganizing government. On the one hand, the rhetoric is sweeping. "We cannot win the future with a government built for the past," President Obama said in his memo to agencies on reorganization today. "We live and do business in the information age, but the organization of the federal government has not kept pace. Government agencies have grown without overall strategic planning and duplicative programs have sprung up, making it harder for each to reach its goals."

On the other hand, though, when it comes to specifics, all of the talk is about business-related agencies, especially trade-related ones. Indeed, Obama said, the first phase of the reorganization, to unfold over the next 90 days, will focus "on the executive departments and agencies and the functions that support one of our most important priorities: increasing trade, exports, and our overall competitiveness."

The question is, will there be a second phase? There are reasons to wonder.

First, look at Obama's rationale for reorganization: "Winning the future will take a government that judiciously allocates scarce government resources to maximize its efficiency and effectiveness so that it can best support American competitiveness and innovation," he said. Arguably, one could achieve that goal with the trade-related reorgnization alone.

Second, there's the question of whether Obama is prepared to move beyond phase one, which is likely to involve a battle with interest groups, members of Congress and agency officials. Depending on how bruising that battle is, it might just convince the White House that wide-scale reorganization is simply a bridge too far. It certainly wouldn't be the first time an administration reached that conclusion.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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