Office of Management and Budget:

Future Challenges to Management

T-GGD/AIMD-00-141: Published: Apr 7, 2000. Publicly Released: Apr 7, 2000.

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Gary T. Engel
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the management challenges facing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), focusing on the broader challenges facing the nation and the federal government now and in the future and their implications for central leadership approaches in general, and OMB in particular.

GAO noted that: (1) the nation faces a wide range of challenges and opportunities--both in policy and management--in the future; (2) they include globalization trends, changing security threats, new and emerging technological innovations, demographic changes, quality of life challenges, and government performance and accountability issues; (3) the globalization of the nation's economy for instance not only provides new opportunities for producers and consumers, but also raises new issues associated with the nation's growing economic and social interdependence and national security; (4) technological innovation continues to be a major driver of economic growth, transforming, among other things, the way the nation communicates, learns, and conducts commerce; (5) at the same time, the explosion in technology presents the federal government with a host of new public policy and management issues associated with widespread use of information, including the areas of computer security and personal privacy in an electronic age; (6) to address the challenges of the new century, the agenda for governmentwide leadership must be broader and deeper; (7) accordingly, the task facing central leadership is not to fulfill the nearly impossible role of identifying and resolving all major problems itself; (8) rather, it is to serve as the catalyst and strategist to prompt agencies and other critical players to come to the table and take ownership for addressing the agenda of governmentwide management issues; (9) a strong linkage with the budget formulation process is a key factor in gaining serious attention for management initiatives throughout government; (10) effective coordination and collaboration with the agencies has emerged as an important central leadership strategy in both developing policies that are sensitive to implementation concerns and gaining consensus and consistent follow-through within the executive branch; (11) OMB needs to take more initiative in setting the agenda of governmentwide issues; (12) crosscutting issues such as human capital, computer security, and program fragmentation call for a more decisive and assertive OMB role in defining the problem, developing appropriate strategies and approaches to implementation, and overseeing progress; (13) OMB can take more advantage of the new governmentwide management reforms as leadership tools; and (14) for instance, the governmentwide performance plan has great promise to provide a decisionmaking framework for considering crosscutting policy, program, and management issues.

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