By: Kris Marcy
Often policy makers and legislators create government programs and legislative dictates to deal with complex problems and challenges facing the Nation. Recent examples include post 9/11 anti-terrorism programs, changes to immigration and detention procedures and programs, and safety requirements to support offshore drilling post BP spill. While new policy development and legislation are difficult endeavors of and in themselves, implementation and administration of these programs and legislation present additional challenges. Frequently, in the process of development, the details of how to carry out the mandates are given less consideration. Here, the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) can play an important role.
With its over 850 experienced leaders who have led complex organizations and tackled unique public administration challenges, the Academy can bring a deep reservoir of experience and executive talent to address problems and establish the management structures to support and conduct policy objectives and legislative mandates.
Over time, long-standing government programs and agencies can develop internal challenges that require fresh approaches and holistic solutions.There are many examples of Academy assistance to support internal procedures and craft new ones to address challenges that have developed over time. Much of the Academy’s expertise could be especially important to the new Administration as it seeks to develop and implement new policies or modify old ones.
The Academy is uniquely well-positioned to provide the experience, seasoning, and management acumen to support new policy development and to craft implementation strategies that will best ensure success. Under the Trump Administration, an Office of American
Innovation has been created to bring innovative and private sector expertise to government programs and activities. The Academy could play an important partnership role in assisting the leadership and staff of this Office in recommending and crafting solutions to current challenges. By bringing Academy expertise to support this new Office, the Academy could play a critical role in ensuring its success. There is probably no department, agency or program that the Office will review that the Academy has not already studied and examined. The Academy could be a powerful, objective, neutral partner which could compliment the work of private sector leaders working in this Office. The injection of Academy expertise could greatly improve the likelihood of success - and sustained success - of this Office.
There are many examples of the Academy’s work that demonstrate its ability to support agency leaders. Perhaps one of the most compelling is the Academy’s work to support the FBI post 9/11 in its transformation from a reactive, law enforcement organization to a proactive, anti-terrorism and intelligence driven organization. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the Academy was enlisted by Congress to help assess the fiscal resources needed to support new program demands. Having completed that work, which was endorsed by the Bureau and the Department of Justice as well as Congress, the Academy continued to assist the Bureau over more than eight years in aligning its operational management resources to support this critical transformation. As the Nation faces new challenges, the Academy could be enlisted again.