Does the White House need a new risk management chief?
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Jul 28, 2020
Whether President Donald Trump wins a second term or challenger Joe Biden becomes the next president, key management changes are needed to improve the agility and resilience of federal government services and operations, according to a leading government technology group.
In a new policy paper titled "Delivering Outcomes, Building Trust," the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) offers guidance on shoring up technology, infrastructure and the federal workforce to prepare for future crises and improve trust in government.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified the importance of such preparations. "In the coming months and years, policymakers must do more than just make minor adjustments to government operations. The disruptive scenarios we face as a nation (health, economic, disaster, security, etc.) are only magnified by the pandemic," the paper states.
The paper recommends investments in data, emerging technology and cybersecurity, and more cooperation across agencies. More specifically, the authors call for a governmentwide Enterprise Risk Officer to be based at the Office of Management and Budget.
"You have to go back pretty far to find a presidential administration that wasn't impacted by a management failure," said Robert Shea, Principal, Strategy, Marketing and Government Affairs at Grant Thornton Public Sector and co-chair of the project’s steering committee.
In the past, investments in risk management have focused on financial controls and mission risk, Shea told FCW. "This takes us to a new level – where you've got somebody looking at enterprise risks to the government mission."
The paper cites the current shortages of personal protective equipment for health care workers, first responders and ordinary Americans as an area where a cross-agency risk management leader could make a difference in managing supply chains and planning for a U.S. manufacturing surge.
This is the fourth presidential election in which ACT-IAC has offered management advice ahead of the election. The goal of the report is to influence the structure of the next administration, whether it's a revised President's Management Agenda under Trump or a new presidency under Biden. The recommendations are billed as bipartisan and were developed by former officials who have served under Democratic and Republican administrations.
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.