Walker: America needs a strategic plan

HERSHEY, Pa. -- To push ahead with transformation efforts, there should be governmentwide enterprise architecture, according to the Future Forum Panel that closed out the Industry Advisory Council's Executive Leadership Conference today.

"The United States has never had a strategic plan," said Comptroller General David Walker, a member of the panel. "We need a plan. We need somebody accountable and responsible for delivering on the plan. We need a set of metrics."

The panel came up with other recommendations as well:

* Improve the request for proposals process so that the RFP documents communicate government policies.

* Support a new budget approach to fund cross-agency initiatives.

* Encourage constant communication between government and industry.

"We need to beat the drums loudly about what we do well," said Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. "But I think it's important that we also beat the drums loudly and be candid about what we don't do well."

It's no longer rare to find good ideas and people willing to act on them, but that's not enough, Walker said. "You've got to ultimately have positive outcomes."

Walker heads the Government Accountability Office, which is an oversight arm of Congress. Leadership on transformation efforts "has to start in the executive branch, because you can't lead by a committee of 535," he said, referring to Congress.

Kimberly Nelson, assistant administrator and chief information officer at the Environmental Protection Agency, said changes are becoming apparent. There are examples of leadership producing significant results, but "the problem is, that's not the norm."

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