Sending Out to SES

The country faces extraordinary challenges – from growing our economy to transforming our energy supply, improving our children’s education, safeguarding our Nation, and restoring its fiscal health. There is a distinct role for government in addressing these challenges, but it will only be possible with a government that runs effectively and efficiently.   That’s the central goal of our Accountable Government Initiative – to cut waste and make government work better and faster. 

As the Administration’s Chief Performance Officer, I’m pleased to report that we’re making good progress in these efforts.  Today, I sent a memo out to the more than 7,000 members of the Senior Executive Service (SES), to update them on the progress we are making and to make clear the President’s commitment to and strategy for modernizing and reforming government.  The SES leads and manages operations across all Federal agencies, and they serve as the link between senior  political appointees and the rest of the Federal work force.  Effective performance improvement efforts are driven by senior leaders, and the SES is critical to our efforts.  We need these senior managers to continue to work with frontline workers to drive our performance improvement initiatives, and also to use their leadership positions to spread the belief and expectation that we are going to make government work more efficiently and effectively for the American people.

As I detail in the memo, our performance management efforts are focused on six strategies that have the highest potential for achieving meaningful performance improvement within and across Federal agencies: driving agency top priorities; cutting waste; reforming contracting; closing the IT gap; promoting accountability and innovation through open government; and attracting and motivating top talent. We have already made significant progress in these areas. Whether it’s reforming and cutting costly IT systems, implementing unprecedented transparency and reporting efforts, pursuing $40 billion in contracting savings, buying in bulk, establishing a government-wide Do Not Pay list, or moving toward electronic government payments, we’re making real progress in changing the way government does business.

Today’s memo is about maintaining this momentum, and strengthening communications and accountability with key government employees to achieve lasting, step-function improvements in government efficiency and effectiveness. It may sound like bureaucratic jargon, but the effects of these changes matter to the American people. As the President said in his letter to SES employees today, “This is not just about lines on a spreadsheet or numbers in a budget. When government does not work like it should, it has a real effect on people’s lives – on small business owners who need loans, on young people who want to go to college, on the men and women in our armed forces who need the best resources when in uniform and deserve the benefits they have earned after they have left.”

Read today’s memo to SES members on the performance management agenda here.

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