Donald F. Kettl

Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy

Donald F. Kettl is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Volcker Alliance. He is the author of many books, including Escaping Jurassic Government: How to Recover America's Lost Commitment to Competence, The Politics of the Administrative Process, System Under Stress and The Next Government of the United States. Kettl is a two-time recipient of the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2008, he won the American Political Science’s John Gaus Award for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in political science and public administration. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University and has held appointments at University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Memo to the President: Collaboration Across Boundaries

December 29, 2016 Donald Trump enters office with an ambitious vision and many promises to keep. But he’ll quickly discover one important lesson: No current problem that matters fits within an individual government agency or, for that matter, any single level of government. The Trump administration will need a strong and effective strategy...

Memos to the President: How to Run Government Effectively

December 21, 2016 Political campaigns are a time of promises. Transitions are a time of frantic preparation. And then, perhaps too soon, it’s time to govern. Governing is the hard work of turning promises into legislation, budgets, actions and results. For the transition currently underway, the stakes are tremendously high. Large portions of...

Trump’s Risky, Off-the-Books Plan to Grow the Economy

December 6, 2016 When Donald Trump said he was going to build a wall and make the Mexican government pay for it, almost no one took him seriously. But there’s an important clue there about how he’ll run his presidency. Just look at the deal with Carrier to keep 1000 jobs in Indiana....

Why the GOP Plan for $300B in Federal Pay, Workforce Cuts Doesn't Add Up

March 28, 2016 The old chestnut of slashing the federal workforce through attrition is back again. For those who believe government is too big and want to shrink the workforce, the idea is attractive: Baby Boomers are leaving the federal workforce. Republicans want to save money. What could be an easier than filling...

If Improving Government Services Is Such a Good Idea, Why Aren't Elected Officials Doing It?

March 17, 2016 Fans of service delivery are convinced that delivery is truly the core of governance in the 21st century – and that the delivery unit is an organizational mechanism that governments ought to adopt. But if it’s such a good idea, why don’t more people care – especially elected officials? And...

Why the Next President Must Make Government More Collaborative

February 2, 2016 When the next president moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a host of big challenges will be waiting: ensuring good jobs, public safety, quality education, good health care, a clean environment, and a basic infrastructure that supports economic growth and a high quality of life. A quick look at the water...

Bright Ideas Department: 2016 Campaign Edition

October 16, 2015 Now that we’re hip deep in the 2016 campaign, a flurry of ideas for transforming — even eliminating — federal departments and programs have popped up. I’ll take a careful look from time to time at some of these proposals. High on the bright ideas list are: Eliminate the Internal...

Six Lessons From Katrina Loom Even Larger 10 Years Later

August 17, 2015 This column has been updated to include a link to The Geneva Papers. In December 2005, just three months after Katrina savaged the Gulf Coast, we edited On Risk and Disaster, a book on the key lessons that the storm so painfully taught. The book was very different from most...

Why Plugging the Cyber Breach Is the 2nd Biggest Problem at OPM

July 20, 2015 Beth Cobert has just walked into the toughest job in Washington. Tens of millions of federal employees and their families have had their personal information stolen. Members of Congress have called into question the competence of the Office of Personnel Management in allowing the cyber breach to happen -- or...

Why the War on the IRS Makes No Cents

June 30, 2015 The Internal Revenue Service appropriations bill has started its tortuous path through Congress—and it savages the agency’s funding. It provides 8 percent less than the current level and 22 percent less than the administration’s request. It’s less even than its budget 25 years ago when, as the Office of Management...

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