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.

It's Time for Some Experienced Leadership

ARCHIVES

Brian Fung of The Atlantic writes that Michael Morell, the CIA's deputy director, is emerging as the "leading candidate" to replace David Petraeus, who resigned late last week amidst a burgeoning sex scandal. 

It strikes me that this would be a very smart move. An experienced career leader is exactly what the CIA needs at this point. When put in charge, such executives typically immediately win the support of the career staff at an agency -- an especially valuable commodity at a time of turmoil. Generally, people who have devoted their careers to public service really know what they're doing. They also tend to be the kind of people who don't draw attention to themselves for the wrong reasons -- or even the right ones. As a result, they tend to keep their agencies out of the spotlight -- something the CIA could really use right now.

President Obama is in a good position to make a move to elevate Morell. In second terms, presidents have more leeway to promote experienced people to head agencies. The need for doling out favors, appeasing interest groups and winning support from members of Congress is lessened, and presidents are freer to focus on demonstrated leadership capability and competence as they seek to firm up their legacies.

Still, it would be highly unusual to promote a career executive to run one of government's most prominent agencies. Ordinarily, the most a career official can hope for is to win an appointment to serve as the acting head of an agency or department -- as Morell now has done twice at the CIA.

There are, of course, some exceptions. Lawrence Eagleburger became the only career foreign service officer to serve as Secretary of State when he got the top job at the end of the George H.W. Bush administration. Now seems like a very good time to make another exception. 

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.

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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download

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