The President’s Management Agenda Aims to Affect Long-Term Transformation

Published: March 22, 2018

Government PerformanceInformation TechnologyPolicy and Legislation

The President’s Management Agenda (PMA), which was released Tuesday, focuses on modernizing federal government for the 21st century.

The PMA sets the long-term vision to enable agencies to deliver on their mission, provide outstanding citizen services, and effectively manage and use taxpayer funds.  Another goal of the PMA is to rebuild Americans’ trust in the federal government, which is currently at a historic low.

The PMA, developed by the President's Management Council and the Executive Office of the President, seeks to focus on mission, service and stewardship by driving transformation in three key areas: IT modernization; data, accountability and transparency; and developing the a 21st century workforce.

Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goals will serve as a tool for advancing the agenda in areas where agencies must work together to achieve results. will allow the public to monitor and track government progress of CAP goals.

Fourteen CAP Goals are established in the PMA, one for each of the three key areas driving transformation, as well as eleven more in functional priority areas.

IT Modernization

Agency IT modernization plans should focus on delivering better citizen services. The PMA lists three priorities guiding modernization efforts:

  • Enhancing mission effectiveness by improving the quality and efficiency of critical citizen-facing services.  This is to include use of cloud computing solutions and collaboration tools.
  • Reducing cybersecurity risks. Agencies are to accomplish this by “implementing cutting edge cybersecurity capabilities” and leveraging commercial technologies.
  • Building a modern IT workforce through recruiting, retraining, and retention

Modernization efforts will be enabled by

  • Executive orders and policy
  • Legislation
  • Implementation support
  • Flexible funding vehicles
  • Innovative acquisition capabilities

Legislation such as Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act will provide agencies with funding mechanism for modernization and implementation guidance from USDS and GSA. These two agencies will assist agencies in modernization efforts by enlisting top technical talent to solve complex challenges to modernization efforts. Additionally, GSA is launching Centers of Excellence “to centralize best practices for modernization efforts,” leverage private-sector expertise, and provide implementation assistance.  

The first CAP Goal, which corresponds to this key transformation driver, is to “Modernize IT to Increase Productivity and Security.”

Data, Accountability and Transparency

The second key transformation driver involves data, accountability and transparency. The administration is in the process of building a Federal Data Strategy which will “leverage data as a strategic asset to grow the economy, increase the effectiveness of the federal government, facilitate oversight, and promote transparency.”

The strategy will include four key aspects:

  • Enterprise Data Governance
  • Access, Use, and Augmentation
  • Decision-Making and Accountability
  • Commercialization, Innovation, and Public Use

Implementation of the Federal Data Strategy will require policy, people, process, and platform.

The second CAP Goal, which corresponds to this key transformation driver, is “Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset.”

People - Workforce for the 21st Century

The federal workforce is vital to achieving the efficient, effective and modern government envisioned by the administration. The administration plans to work with Congress to change the statutory and regulatory rules that plague the current civil service system. Plans include:

  • Realigning the workforce to mission
  • Aligning total compensation with competitive labor market practice
  • Reforming human capital management

To achieve a 21st century workforce, the federal government must improve strategic workforce management by:

  • Actively managing the workforce through improved employee performance management and engagement
  • Developing agile operations through reskilling and redeploying human capital resources
  • Acquiring top talent through simple and strategic hiring

These efforts are to be enabled by

  • Leveraging data and analytics
  • Utilizing IT and tools
  • Aligning financial models and incentives
  • Simplifying the legal and policy framework

The third CAP Goal, which corresponds to this key transformation driver, is “Developing a Workforce for the 21st Century.”

The eleven other CAP Goals specified in the PMA include:

  • CAP Goal 4:  Improving customer experience
  • CAP Goal 5:  Sharing quality services
  • CAP Goal 6:  Shifting from low-value to high-value work
  • CAP Goal 7:  Category management – Leveraging common contracts and best practices to drive savings and efficiencies
  • CAP Goal 8:  Results-oriented accountability for grants
  • CAP Goal 9:  Getting payments right
  • CAP Goal 10:  Federal IT spending transparency 
  • CAP Goal 11:  Improve management of major acquisitions
  • CAP Goal 12:  Modernize infrastructure permitting
  • CAP Goal 13:  Security clearance, suitability, and credentialing reform
  • CAP Goal 14:  Improve transfer of federally-funded technologies from lab-to-market

A statement in the front section of the document summarizes the administration’s desire to effect long-term change through the management agenda. It states, “Rather than pursue short-term fixes that quickly become outdated once again, this Administration will pursue deep-seated transformation. But it will not happen in one or two years.”