Senators support chief management officer positions

Senate management and workforce kingpins Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) expressed support today for the establishment of chief management officers.

“We need strong leadership and efficient management throughout the federal government to support the critical efforts of agencies to meet their missions,” said Akaka, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia Subcommittee. “A chief management officer would not complicate the existing bureaucracy. Rather, I believe that elevating the issues of strategic planning, human capital and business transformation to a higher level will provide management the priority it deserves.”

Voinovich, ranking member of the subcommittee, said CMOs “are an effective tool for sustaining strong management practices at high-risk departments, including the Homeland Security Department and the Defense Department.”

At a subcommittee hearing today, Akaka and Voinovich heard testimony from Comptroller General David Walker—a longtime advocate of the CMO position—on a new Government Accountability Office report that evaluated the issue.

In the report, GAO concluded that the establishment of CMO positions at agencies should be based on organizational performance, degree of change needed, the nature and complexity of an agency’s mission, and current leadership talent and focus.

The report recommends that the President’s Management Council work with the Office of Management and Budget to assess which agencies would be appropriate for a CMO position. In addition, GAO suggested that agencies use key strategies for establishing CMOs, including:


  • Define the specific roles and responsibilities for a CMO.

  • Ensure that the CMO has a high level of authority and clearly defined reporting relationships.

  • Foster good executive-level working relationships to maximize the CMO’s effectiveness.

  • Provide for continuity of leadership in the CMO position.

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