Management briefs

Bills push personnel reforms

Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) introduced two bills Nov. 1 to reform how personnel, budget and property are managed by federal agencies, as well as to eliminate barriers to good management.

President Bush sent the two pieces of legislation to Congress last month as part of his Freedom to Manage initiative announced in August. One bill (S. 1612) would provide federal managers with tools and flexibility in areas such as personnel, budgeting, property management and disposal.

The other (S. 1613) would provide for expedited consideration of Freedom to Manage legislative proposals in Congress. These proposals, which would be sent by the president to Congress, would eliminate or reduce legal barriers to efficient government.

GAO: Reduce the risk

Federal agencies can benefit from using a risk-management process to help them identify the impact of a threat on buildings, people, systems and functions and mitigate the consequences of a terrorist attack, according to the General Accounting Office.

An effective risk-management approach includes a threat assessment, a vulnerability assessment and a criticality assessment, said Raymond Decker, director of defense capabilities and management issues at GAO, in testimony Oct. 31 before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. The approach, Decker said, could help the country prepare for threats and “permit better direction of national finite resources to areas of highest priority.”

Without a risk-management approach, there is “little assurance” that programs to fight terrorism are “prioritized and properly focused.” Although some agencies have taken steps to manage risk, the results have been inconclusive, Decker said.

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