OMB anti-duplication effort to inform reorg strategy

The White House’s reorganization of federal agencies could be extending its reach still further into the Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury departments and the National Science Foundation as part of a related duplication-reduction effort.

President Barack Obama announced on Jan. 13 a plan to consolidate six business and trade agencies into a single new department. As additional details became available, it was revealed that the reorganization would affect at least 12 agencies. Congress has not yet granted the administration the authority it needs to move forward with the plan.  


Related stories:

White House announces consolidation plan for six agencies and offices.

Obama reorganization could affect at least 12 agencies


Administration officials have now indicated that a related Office of Management and Budget effort to reduce duplication in government, also announced on Jan. 13, could be a source of information to facilitate the reorganization.

Under the duplication reduction plan, 11 agencies would hold pilot projects to identify their activities in business and trade. The agencies involved include units within the Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury departments and the National Science Foundation.

Although the analyses are required anyway, the Obama administration plans to use the information collected to help plan the consolidations if Congress grants the Obama administration the authority to move ahead with the reorganization, Moira Mack, an OMB spokeswoman, told the Federal Times in a Jan. 17 article.

Jeff Zients, OMB’s acting director, wrote a memo to federal agency directors describing the pilot projects.

"In the coming year, OMB will work with agencies to develop a comprehensive list of government programs as required by the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010, and based on lessons learned from previous efforts," Zients wrote.

Based on the pilot, a “governmentwide inventory" of possibly duplicative business and trade functions would be compiled, Zients wrote.

Agencies must name a senior official responsible for the inventory by Feb. 1.

The agencies involved in the pilot project include:

  • Department of Health and Human Services, Community Economic Development.
  • Agriculture Department's Rural Business and Cooperative Service.
  • Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Treasury Department's Community Financial Development Institutions Fund.
  • National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers and Partnership for Innovations Programs.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Sat, Jan 21, 2012 Robert

I guess we can start in the house and senate, tons of duplication of effort there. They look like lemmings when they vote! Why do I need a politician to vote if their sheep that follows the party blindly. As for duplication of effort in government, good luck with that. Keep in mind that the program itself is geared towards elminating jobs... Isn't the program itself contrary to itself? I mean sure, but all means make government more efficent, but before you do that think about the human effects. After all, real people with real mouths to feed are always impacted by these programs. If you don't think this thought is important just as the autoworkers who have been replaced by robots. Great ideas often come without thinking about the impacts... Measure twice, cut once!

Fri, Jan 20, 2012

They are starting at the granular level, and will waste millions looking at tiny stuff, when they need to start with the zero-level chart and be looking at major boxes on the org chart. In DoD alone, they could save Billions by merging common-service items across DoD, or with the civilian side of Fed Giv. And they don't need yet another 'blue ribbon commission' whose report will be issued with great fanfare, then vanish without a trace. Anybody remember Grace Commission? Most of those recommendations are still valid. Just Do It. Start exercising POTUS authority and start issuing orders.

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 Dave K

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."
- Peter Drucker

Thu, Jan 19, 2012

Here's a wild thought... the Legislative Branch should be determining WHAT should be done and the Executive Branch should be determining HOW to do it (the best way to EXECUTE it). The White House would then have the responsibility and flexibility to dole out the work so that it gets done in the most effective and efficient way. The citizenry will have to practice their civil duties to vote and hold their elected officials in Congress and the Administration accountable. I'm sure I'm seriously over-simplifying it, but it seems to me this idea is closer to what our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) wanted than the mess we have now.

Thu, Jan 19, 2012

Need to check out the Fedral Courts system to many Chiefs and not enough indians to do the work. Consolidate, District Clerks, Probation and Pretrial with one Chief and stop all the bickering. We all work for the man on the bench "JUDGE". So lets get it together.

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