Preparing the Next Leaders

Posted on November 14, 2016
The elections are over and new leaders are assembling staff, setting priorities, and preparing to tackle major issues facing the nation. What do these leaders and their staff need to know to hit the ground running in January? Our Management Agenda provides high-level information about the critical management challenges facing the federal government—and what needs to happen to address those challenges. This video of Chris Mihm, Managing Director of our Strategic Issues team, walks you through how our management agenda can help policy makers and other leaders address existing problems and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of new policies going forward.

GAO: GAO’s Management Agenda

Specifically, the agenda outlines 8 broad areas where federal managers can help save money and improve performance, such as eliminating duplicative programs, getting IT systems that meet the government’s needs, and making more data available and accessible to the public. You can drill down into each area for concrete ways to improve the government. For example, in recent years, the federal government has spent approximately $440 billion annually on contracts for goods and services. In fact, most of DOD’s annual contract spending is for services, such as consultants and engineers, rather than products, such as major weapons systems. You can imagine many federal leaders spending a lot of time working on contracts, so our management agenda outlines two key actions to improve this spending:
  • Have annual reports include estimated spending on services beyond the current budget year and
  • Be more strategic when contracting for services by defining desired outcomes, establishing goals and measures, and obtaining the data needed to monitor progress.
This is just one example of the resources we’re providing new and returning leaders—as well as the public who hold them accountable. Check out our resources for the Presidential and Congressional Transition to learn more.
  • Questions on the content of this post? Contact Chris Mihm at
  • Comments on GAO’s WatchBlog? Contact