Culture change necessary for successful federal reorganization?

Friday - 2/17/2012, 5:47pm EST

Dan Blair, president and CEO, National Academy of Public Administration

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The White House officially unveiled its 2013 budget proposal and Congress is poring over the details. Now, new developments have emerged about the proposed federal reorganization.

Dan Blair, the president and CEO of the National Academy of Public Administration, recently testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about restructuring federal agencies.

The theme of the hearing, overseen by Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), was "Why Reshuffling Government Agencies Won't Solve the Federal Government's Obesity Problem."

In his remarks, Issa said the President's proposal amounted to little more than "platitudes," instead of "serious reforms."

Blair, who joined In Depth with Francis Rose also testified before the committee.

"Too often, the federal government attempts to respond to modern challenges with mid-20th Century organizational structures and practices," Blair said in his prepared remarks. "The current structure of government was formed by an ad-hoc accumulation of programs built-up over decades. Program operations are "one-off" silos comprising people, processes, data, and systems loosely bound together into a federal department or independent agencies."

Blair also discussed a culture change is likely necessary for any reorganization to truly stick.

"To be most successful, reorganizations should not focus solely on structure, but consider changing processes to expand interagency coordination mechanisms and increase incentives for employees to work across organizational boundaries," Blair said in his testimony.