AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Donald F. Kettl

Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy

Donald F. Kettl is Professor in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, located at the LBJ Washington Center. 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.

Results 1-10 of 44

The Lesson for Federal Leaders in ‘First Man’

November 2, 2018 My wife and I recently saw “First Man,” Damien Chazelle’s stirring portrait of Neil Armstrong and his rocket ride to the moon. It’s an unparalleled adventure tale and a character study of one man’s struggle to balance ambition with family. It’s also a fascinating story of public policy. President John...

Solving the Right Problem with the Federal Workforce

September 25, 2018 Conflict over the government workforce has never been greater. From fighting to protect federal jobs to making it easier to fire poorly performing employees, political battles over the government workforce have grown increasingly fierce. What if these battles are focused on the wrong problem? It’s one thing to protect jobs,...

Why ‘Fake News’ Matters to Feds

July 20, 2018 President Trump views the news media as “the real enemy of the people.” This sustained campaign has deepened the wedges between those in the president’s base and those who are not. But it also matters to feds. A lot. When wading into the debate over just how many people attended...

Reorganizing Welfare Programs Is a Very Big Deal

June 6, 2018 Politico reports that the Trump administration is considering a major reorganization of the nation’s welfare programs, especially by shifting food stamps from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Health and Human Services—and, in the process, renaming HHS. This is a very big deal—and, in some respects, a very...

10 Things to Know about the President’s Management Agenda

March 20, 2018 The President’s Management Agenda, released by the White House on March 20, is a fascinating document, different in virtually every respect from the plans of previous administrations. Here are 10 reasons why. It’s a big deal. The agenda goes right after the fundamental challenge at the very start: citizens’ declining...

Two Words People Should Hear More Often From the Government: I'm Sorry

March 2, 2018 British hip-hop artist Stormzy stirred up a cyclone at the Brits, the UK’s version of the American Grammy’s, last week. He called out Prime Minister Theresa May for the government’s slow response to the tragic Grenfell Tower high-rise fire, an inferno that took 71 lives back in June 2017. But...

The Big Deal About Big Data

February 7, 2018 Behind the roller-coaster politics rocking Washington, a much quieter but just as important revolution is underway. Government managers are advancing the use of “big data,” and it’s having a big impact. It’s the center of an important effort to transform the health of the federal government and improve the outcomes...

You Can’t Fire Your Way to Success

January 31, 2018 It was just a short remark in President Trump’s State of the Union speech, but nonetheless, the president made an emphatic call “to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers—and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.” To support...

Trump’s ‘Big, Beautiful Tax Cut’ Holds Some Big Unknowns for Government

January 4, 2018 At President Trump’s big pre-Christmas tax cut celebration, he proudly told everyone, "I promised the American people a big, beautiful tax cut for Christmas.” And, he added, “that is exactly what they are getting.” The spin machines are going full blast to tell us whether we’re better or worse off,...

Trump’s Category 5 Storm

December 26, 2017 Donald Trump hit Washington a year ago like a Category 5 hurricane—a fierce hurricane with a very small eye. Despite the tsunami of headlines that have followed, Trump’s actual impact on most of the federal government was actually pretty slight in his first year. In some agencies, like the State...