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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