We're doubling down on our commitment to you.
After Hurricane Irene moved up the East Coast in August, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote a column highlighting the effectiveness of federal efforts both to predict the storm's path and to respond to it. "Don't expect anybody to throw a tea party," he wrote, "but Big Government finally got one right."
Big government gets it right on a fairly regular basis. It's just that these days, success in government often means the absence of something bad happening: planes crashing, terrorists carrying out plots, civil rights being denied, veterans going without vital medical treatment. Government's proactive successes-landing on the moon, rebuilding Europe after World War II, building the interstate highway system-are largely the stuff of history. Or at least Americans tend to view them that way. That's one reason (but only one) why in a recent poll, they rated the federal government dead last among 25 industries in the country.
This doesn't mean that the idea of high-performing government is dead. Far from it. That's why in this issue, in which we relaunch Government Executive with a new design, we decided to focus on the theme of excellence in government: how it's been accomplished in the past, how it can be achieved in the future, and the people who can show us the way. The issue and the redesign-which soon will extend to all our operations, including GovExec.com; Nextgov.com; our research arm, the Government Business Council; and our live and online events-embody our commitment to serving the people who make government work.
From our perspective, the only difference between government executives and those in the private sector is that public servants are responsible for leading and managing organizations with much more complex, challenging and important missions.
To deliver the magazine you deserve, we hired Pentagram, the world-class New York design firm that revamped our sister publications, The Atlantic and National Journal, along with Time, Money and New York magazines. Pentagram gave the magazine a clean, fresh, contemporary look that calls to mind leading business publications.
Each page is designed to work harder for the reader, with additional information graphics and more engaging photos and illustrations. You'll also see a more seamless integration between our print and online efforts, with new sections highlighting features on GovExec.com and Nextgov. The new Advice and Comment section brings together all our hands-on columns for managers, such as Management Matters, guest Viewpoint pieces and Tim Clark's Perspectives, in which he brings his many years of experience covering government to bear. At the end of the magazine, we debut a new feature, Thinking Ahead, which focuses on a leading-edge innovator in government.
To kick off the redesign, we asked longtime observer of government and federal management expert Paul C. Light of New York University to show a path forward for managers and executives in these troubled times. There's a way to achieve a government that delivers more value for the money taxpayers have invested, he writes, and it focuses on three areas: accountability, effectiveness and productivity.
In cooperation with the Government Business Council, we also polled our readers on government's greatest accomplishments and challenges. The results might surprise you. And finally, we profiled some of the most important civil servants of the past century as well as a few up-and-coming leaders.
We're determined to do our part to help them-and you-succeed in building the government of tomorrow.