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Agricultural Research Service: Follow-Up Assessment of Administrative and Financial Management Services


ARS is seeking a follow-up assessment of its AFM services organization to evaluate progress since the February 2017 report of the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy). That report provided ARS with findings and recommendations aimed at improving the effectiveness of these services.

The Academy will assess the Agency’s progress on implementing the nearly four dozen recommendations provided along with all the strategies and processes that were made by ARS. The assessment is led by an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) of Academy Fellows and based upon:

  • Discussions with Agency leaders at headquarters and regional offices;
  • Quantitative and qualitative performance metrics;
  • Industrial or Federal benchmarks;
  • A survey of all Agency personnel; and
  • Focus groups organized to explore issues by job classification, region, grade level, and other relevant crosscuts, to elicit a broad set of candid views.

The Academy shall provide findings on service delivery and customer satisfaction, any significant barriers to service delivery and customer satisfaction, areas where recommendations, strategies, processes, or procedures should be revised, and potential new areas identified through the assessment processes noted above. The Academy shall also provide recommendations on prioritized next steps for the Agency’s focus to address these findings.

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Project Overview


The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the other Research, Education and Economic (REE) agencies (the Economic Research Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are research-focused agencies with offices located throughout the United States. ARS has adopted a shared services concept for administrative and financial service delivery and created the Administrative and Financial Management (AFM) service organization to manage the delivery of these essential mission support functions.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding this study, please reach out to Brenna Isman, Director of Academy Studies, at