At one-year mark, Obama shows progress on management pledges
National Journal finds the administration is following up on a number of the president’s campaign trail promises.
During his inauguration, President Obama set a clear standard for how he would manage the federal bureaucracy he was inheriting.
"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified," the newly sworn-in president told a massive crowd on the National Mall on Jan. 20, 2009. "Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end."
One year later, the president has taken steps toward that goal. Among other measures, he ordered administration officials to scour the budget for initiatives that weren't achieving desired outcomes, and in May 2009, he proposed cuts to 121 programs -- many of them in the Defense Department -- as part of his formal fiscal 2010 funding request. He appointed Jeffrey Zients, the federal government's first chief performance officer, to ensure taxpayers' money is spent wisely. And he enlisted the help of rank-and-file civil servants to develop cost-cutting strategies.
Progress on some campaign pledges, however, is murkier. For instance, it's unclear how, or whether, the president will follow up on a vow to cut middle managers. The administration released major contracting reform memos in July and October, and in December announced agencies had identified $19 billion in potential savings. But the jury is still out on whether Obama will be able to cut contract spending by 10 percent.
Government Executive's sister publication National Journal is tracking Obama's adherence to campaign promises in 24 categories ranging from agriculture policy to veterans care. Below are links to NJ's assessments in areas that relate to government management. The reviews are ongoing and might not reflect all the latest developments, so please check back for updates.
Administration: 66 percent complete
Defense: 16 percent complete
Ethics Reform: 34 percent complete
Government Spending: 12 percent complete
Public Service: 71 percent complete
Science and Technology: 55 percent complete
Veterans: 62 percent complete
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