Agencies to receive more money, scrutiny, OMB chief says

Under the 2003 budget plan the Bush administration will submit to Congress next month, federal program managers can expect funding increases, but also more oversight of their operations, according to Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels.

Daniels outlined the administration's goals Thursday in remarks to federal finance and accounting personnel at a Washington conference sponsored by the Association of Government Accountants. In general, programs that contribute to national defense and homeland security will see substantial increases in funding. Most other programs will see slight spending increases, Daniels said. The new spending will come with a catch, however. Agencies will be under substantially more pressure to demonstrate how well their programs are performing. Daniels argued that previous budgets, which were organized by function or objective, blurred the responsibilities of specific agencies for achieving those objectives. The administration's 2003 budget will be organized by agency. That change "will begin the process of separating programs that work from programs that don't," Daniels said. As such, the budget "will take a long step forward toward governing with accountability." Additionally, future funding will depend on the ability of agencies to document the return on taxpayer investment, Daniels said. Presently, agencies lack meaningful financial data and in some cases, meaningful goals, he said. "We want to know which programs are producing a good return on investment. What do Americans get for their money?" Daniels said. Before agencies can answer those questions, many will need to substantially improve their finance and accounting operations, something most have struggled with for years. The administration intends to turn up the heat on those efforts as well. Beginning in 2003, agencies will be required to account for the full cost of their employee retirement programs--something few agencies currently do, an omission that obscures the true cost of operations. While administration officials say they are committed to improving management, substantial progress will be difficult to achieve. The Defense Department, the agency responsible for half of federal spending outside entitlement programs, is, in its own assessment, several years away from being able to balance its books. At the same time Daniels was describing a new era of accountability to his Washington audience, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was telling reporters at a Pentagon briefing that financial management was woefully inadequate at the department. Defense officials estimate it will be another year before they even have a blueprint for fixing the system. Another challenge for the administration is the fact that much of the work agencies do is difficult to quantify, something Daniels acknowledged: "Many of the thing government does are not susceptible to clear, crisp measurement. But difficulty cannot be an excuse for inaction."

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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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