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OPM Program Assessment and Performance Measurement Development (posted May 2005)
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has asked Economic Systems, Inc. and the Academy to offer its program managers technical assistance and advice in developing an effective Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) process, defining program purpose and mission, and developing performance measures against which OPM will be held accountable. As required by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, OPM is preparing initial PART submissions for two programs, reviewing programs recently assessed, and preparing other programs for future assessments.
For more information.
Academy Panel Develops Measures for Community Development Block Grant Program
As the executive and legislative branches consider options for reengineering federal community development programs, an Academy Panel has developed performance measures for the Community Development Block Grant program. The measures are useful to entitlement communities and states in tracking performance and managing programs at the local level. The indicators, which enjoy wide support among government, grantee and public interest stakeholders, might serve as a model for other federal block grant programs.
Read Developing Performance Measures for the Community Development Block Grant Program.
United States’ Environmental Protection Services Delivery System (posted January 2005)
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Fiscal Year 2004 budget includes funding for an independent third party (the Academy) to conduct a study of the United States’ environmental protection services. The study will examine how federal, state, and local governments can improve the ways they work together to protect public health and the environment. The Academy will analyze respective roles and responsibilities, and identify overlaps and/or gaps in protection, as well as barriers to more efficient and effective collaboration and cooperation in delivering environmental protection services. EPA’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations will assist in designing the study, which they hope will help advance the numerous and complex federalism issues facing EPA, states and local governments.
For more information.
NASA Study of
Principal Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) space science program has sponsored competitively selected
missions, led and managed by principal investigators, since
the 1970s. The Explorer program, the first of the PI-led mission
lines, is designated for astronomy and solar/space physics
missions and allows researchers to propose, on a somewhat
regular basis, investigations of emerging scientific questions.
Drawing on the successful Explorer model, the planetary sciences
program introduced the Discovery line of PI-led missions in
1994. Like the Explorers, these missions are intended to enable
relatively rapid response to new ideas for scientific exploration.
The Discovery program has been operating for nearly 10 years,
and recent and recurring problems suggest the need for a mid-course
The Academy team along with a committee
of the National Research Councils Space Studies Board
will review principal-investigator-class space mission programs
in NASAs Office of Space Science.
For more information.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) is to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place
to protect interests of authors and inventors. The patent
process is significant for the U.S. economy and the volume
and complexity of this process has grown rapidly in the past
decade. This has resulted in increased time to process patents
and raised concerns about the quality of some issued patents
as well as the associated search process. The Academy will
review business processes and the extent to which they contribute
to the timeliness of patent examinations, the extent of stakeholder
confidence in USPTOs ability to manage its workload,
and how USPTO can improve communication with key stakeholders
so they obtain necessary information. Part of the study will
examine processes used by the European and Japanese Patent
Offices, to see if there are efficiencies they employ that
could be applicable to USPTO.
In July 2002, the National Academy of Public
Administration (Academy) issued a report entitled Courts,
Congress and Constituencies: Managing Fisheries by Default.
The report contained 44 recommendations aimed at making incremental
improvements to the existing fisheries management system,
as well as 12 recommendations for improving fisheries science
from a companion study by the National Academy of Sciences.
This year's follow-up work will provide both NMFS management
and the Congress with a documented overview of the actions
that have been taken on the recommendations and what steps
are still needed to accomplish full implementation. It will
also provide an opportunity to examine any changed circumstances
that might impact on either the desirability of or approach
to implementing certain recommendations, and consider alternatives.
For more information.
Study of NIST's
Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program
An Academy Panel
issued a May 2004 report based on its study of the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)'s Manufacturing
Extension Partnership Program (MEP). The Panel's report found
that the MEP Program remains a valuable resource to help the
nation's small manufacturers, but extraordinary economic and
technological change requires MEP to rethink how it does its
work. The Panel's report, The Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Program: Alternative Business Models, finds that MEP's current
model is not geared to address the evolving barriers that
face small manufacturers in remaining competitive. It recommends
that MEP adopt a new business model with expanded services
to small manufacturers that focus on new product development,
technology diffusion and supply chain integration.
Read the press
Study of NSF
Organization and Program Structures (April 2004)
Created in 1950, the National Science Foundation
(NSF) is an independent government agency whose purpose is
to advance science and engineering in the United States. NSF
carries out its mission primarily by making merit-based grants
and cooperative agreements to individual researchers and groups,
in partnership with colleges, universities, and other institutions
- public, private, state, local, and federal - throughout
the U.S. H.R.5605 called for a review to assure that the agency
is positioned to maximize opportunities that may accrue from
future increased funding. This review will address four sets
of issues related to NSF's (1) Organizational and Program
Structure, (2) the Balance Between Investigator and NSF Driven
Research, (3) the Role of the National Science Board, and
(4) the use of Temporary Employees in Management Positions.
For More Information
Financial Analysis and Organization Study (February
The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
and the Presidio Trust have asked the National Academy of
Public Administration to review the Trust's finance and business
management practices. The Academy's study will include the
following: (1) a review of the Trust's current financial plans
and budgetary projections, (2) an evaluation of the economic
and financial assumptions used to develop the projections,
(3) an assessment of the effectiveness of the current organizational
structure, including the internal alignment of policy and
operational responsibilities between the Board and staff,
and (4) an evaluation of the Trust's current financial authorities,
their adequacy for meeting all of the Trust's statutory missions.
As requested by the
House Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior and Related
Agencies, the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the
Interior jointly funded an independent Academy study of methods
for implementing certain recommendations in the Academy's
September 2002 report, Wildfire Suppression: Strategies for
Containing Costs. The study, which started in January 2003,
produced three reports:
- Enhancing Hazard Mitigation Capacity
- Utilizing Local Firefighting Forces (December
- Improving Equipment and Services Acquisition
High Performance Partnerships
Through this project, Academy studied
and supported the use of high performance partnerships among
public, nonprofit, and civic organizations. The first phase
of the project included developing a resource guide that documents
the current state of high performance public/nonprofit partnerships
and identifies relevant trends and best practices. In the
second phase, design labs were conducted with communities
that have actually established high performance partnerships
with local government, civic and nonprofit entities. The final
report output of the design lab meetings and translate that
output into a detailed, descriptive model for high performing,
This report by Academy Fellows compares
the USPTO's powers and authorities as a performance based
organization relative to those of a federal corporation. It
also discusses the key issues to be addressed in developing
legislation to incorporate the agency, analyzes proposed user
fee reforms and indicates how they address outstanding fee
issues. Finally, the report reviews major USPTO functions
- particularly its proposal to contract out the patent search
function - to identify issues related to current policy guidelines
and agency practices on inherently governmental functions.
Free Online Report
An Academy Panel has
found that the Smithsonian Institution currently receives
most of its funds for research projects through competitive
processes. However, the Panel has recommended that appropriations
be continued to provide the core support needed for maintaining
Smithsonian researchers' capacity to successfully compete
for grants and contracts. All research institutions have this
type of support to maintain their competitive capacity.
An Academy Panel has found that federal,
state, and local agencies must strike at the main causes of
wildland fires to bring the costs of fighting them under control.
These costs have increased dramatically with the buildup of
hazardous fuels, rising home construction in fire-prone areas,
and severe drought. The Panel focused on federal wildfire
assistance to state and local governments, and offered steps
to better prepare federal, state, local, and tribal officials
to work together. Studies of six large fires from 2001 formed
the basis for the findings and recommendations.
The Panel's report, Wildfire Suppression:
Strategies for Containing Costs, is available in two parts.
The shorter report provides the recommendations, and the longer
Background and Research Report provides the case studies and
other research on which the Panel based its recommendations.
Online Report (77 pages)
and Research Report (462 pages)
Due to the size of the Background and Research
report, it has been broken up into sections:
Courts, Congress, and Constituencies:
Managing Fisheries by Default (July 2002)
This congressionally mandated
study reviewed the adequacy of the processes and data used
by the National Marine Fisheries Service to meet its regulatory
requirements; examined the implementation efforts of recent
budget and financial management changes; reviewed the effectiveness
of practices followed when consulting with various constituent
groups; and assessed the adequacy of the existing organizational
An Academy Panel found that courts, Congress,
and fishing constituencies are increasingly dominating fisheries
management through litigation and political processes, according
to a newly released Academy report. In this report, the Panel
recommends steps to improve the existing U.S. fisheries management
system to increase its capacity to develop and successfully
defend regulatory actions. These include strengthening the
leadership role of the National Marine Fisheries Service,
improving the systems regulatory and budget processes,
and increasing public and constituent outreach.
The Field Directorate of the Bureau of
the Census (July 2002)
The Census Field Directorate is responsible
for planning and carrying out survey and field data collection
activities both for the Census Bureau as well as its many
federal agency and other customers. The Field Directorate
engaged the Academy to conduct a comprehensive study focused
on three areas: (1) the mission and organization of the Field
Directorate, including lines of communication, definition
of roles, and the relation of the organization structure to
the mission, (2) the adequacy of management systems and business
processes, and (3) the adequacy of performance and operations
Free Online Report (PDF,
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (December 2001)
In September 2000, CMS' Office of Strategic Planning (OSP)
requested the Academy to provide assistance in clarifying
its long-term strategic planning and research needs. At that
time, CMS was still the Health Care Financing Administration.
Thus, the Academy's study was conducted when the organization
was somewhat different.
The Academy's report recommends the establishment
of a comprehensive, integrated planning process for the Administrator's
use in managing CMS-not just in producing a planning document.
The Academy Panel directing this study considers the process
itself to be as important as a plan since it provides a vehicle
for thinking through issues and coming up with strategies
for dealing with them.
Managing Wildland Fire: Enhancing Capacity
to Implement the Federal Interagency Policy
An Academy Panel has recommended an
organizational structure and other management tools for enhancing
the federal land management agencies' capacity for managing
wildland fire. Strong leadership and coordination already
exist for operational firefighting activities, but the Panel
found that ecosystem health, fire hazard reduction, and community
safety goals contained in the agencies' fire management policy
must be addressed immediately in a more consistent and accountable
manner by all of such agencies. Otherwise, the threat of unnaturally
severe wildfires will continue to grow, putting both communities
and ecosystems at increasing risk.
The study, Managing Wildland Fire: Enhancing
Capacity to Implement the Federal Interagency Policy, offers
recommendations that are consistent with the President's Management
Agenda, which directs federal agencies to face the urgent
management challenges confronting them.
This report, prepared for the Congress and the Department
of the Interior, lays out a comprehensive set of recommendations
for clarifying the U.S. Park Police's mission and focusing
its activities on priority areas. It also outlines essential
steps that should be taken to enhance leadership and accountability,
and improve the Park Police's budget and workforce management
This report was prepared for the Department of Interior and
contains perspectives on the Cerro Grande Fire and issues
recommended for further study in Phase II. Phase II will examine
the implementation of the 2001 fire policy, and present an
Academy panel's recommendations on how its implementation
can be improved. The Phase II report will be published in
This report examines the effectiveness of HUD's existing system
and various alternative methods of evaluating the performance
of public housing agencies and other providers of federally-assisted
housing. The report fulfilled the mandate contained in Section
563 of P.L. 105-276, dated October 2, 1998.
Here for Interim Report
This report, prepared for the American Association of Airport
Executives and Airports Council International--North America,
examines the regulatory model that governs relationships between
the Federal Aviation Administration and airport authorities.
A comprehensive report on required intergovernmental consultations
between state departments of transportation and local officials
in non-metropolitan areas. The Federal Highway Administration
sought the Academy's assistance in researching and developing
findings on the consultation issue, putting the Academy Panel
and participating state and local officials on the leading
edge of efforts to design new forms of collaborative management.
Free Online Report
A comprehensive report recommending the continuation of the
Fisherman's Contingency Fund. This fund compensates fishermen
for property losses associated with damages incurred in areas
of commercial offshore gas and oil activities. The report
also recommends that future Fund-related activities focus
more on the mitigation of fishing hazards.
Free Online Report
A comprehensive report outlining an approach for estimating
human resource needs at the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development. The demonstration of this resource management
model bases estimates and allocations on the level of work
and where it is to be performed. A detailed implementation
plan has been developed for HUD, which plans to implement
the resource estimation system department-wide starting in
Fiscal Year 2000. The resource estimation approach can be
applied in other Federal, state or local government settings.
For further information, contact J. William Gadsby at
Free Online Report
A thorough review of HUD's efforts to develop outcome oriented
strategic and annual performance plans including actions needed
to improve plans and also use them for day-to-day management.
Free Online Report
A comprehensive study of the policies, procedures, and practices
followed by the Military Criminal Investigative Organizations
when investigating incidents of criminal sexual misconduct.
Free Online Summary
An assessment of potential limits on access to and disclosure
of disaster information that may arise from intellectual property,
privacy, liability and security issues.
Free Online Summary
A comprehensive assessment of HUD acquisition activities resulting
in a set of recommendations that, when implemented, would
establish a model procurement system for the Department.
Online Summary Report.
A comprehensive assessment of organizational and structural
issues that impact on the Corporation's program service delivery
system and its grant award and administrative activities.
of Actions Taken by CNS.
This report provides the first comprehensive assessment of
the public management issues created by developments in geographic
This study evaluated the potential for using federal-aid programs
and federal regulations to improve the ability of existing
buildings to resist life-threatening damage from earthquakes.
It recommends practical steps that the Federal Emergency Management
Agency and other federal agencies could take to help achieve
this goal in cooperation with state and local governments.
An examination of recurring problems within the Veterans Benefits
Administration that have adversely affected the delivery of
compensation and pension benefits.
An overview of options and mechanisms for converting the National
Ocean Service to an "enterprise organization."
An assessment for the Federal Emergency Management Agency
of how to maximize effectiveness and cooperation among national
and state components of the National Guard.
This study found that with increasing demands to control the
flow of illegal aliens and serve those seeking citizenship,
the Immigration and Naturalization Service must rethink and
redesign its budgeting process.