OMB attacking duplication with 11-agency pilot

Monday - 1/16/2012, 2:25pm EST

A new pilot program to match export, trade and competitiveness programs across 11 agencies is the first step toward reducing duplication governmentwide.

The Office of Management and Budget will use the test program to develop an inventory of programs and map them to established programmatic and organizational structures, as well as the agencies' strategic planning and performance goals, according to a memo sent to agency secretaries Friday.

These initial agencies must provide a basic set of descriptive information, including the program purpose and funding, for each initiative.

"In the coming year, OMB will work with agencies to develop a comprehensive list of government programs as required by the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010, and based on lessons learned from previous efforts," wrote Jeff Zients, OMB's deputy director for management and chief performance officer. "Based on the pilot, guidance will be issued to all federal agencies detailing the approach to be taken to develop a governmentwide inventory."

The 11 pilot agencies include:

  • Commerce Department
  • U.S. Trade Representative
  • U.S. Trade Development Agency
  • Export-Import Bank
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  • Small Business Administration
  • Department of Health and Human Services, Community Economic Development
  • Agriculture Department's Rural Business and Cooperative Service
  • Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Treasury Department's Community Financial Development Institutions Fund
  • National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers and Partnership for Innovations Programs.

Each of these agencies or offices, must name senior accountable official by Feb. 1. OMB will provide further details, including a collection template and detailed timeline, in the coming weeks.

President Barack Obama signed the GPRA Modernization Act into law last January.

OMB has given agencies several GPRA-related tasks over the last year, including setting high-priority goals for the 2013 budget request.

Zients' memo follows a report by the Government Accountability Office in March detailing scores of duplicative programs across agencies. The GAO report, requested by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), also helped solidify the White House's decision to request approval Friday from Capitol Hill to merge and reorganize several overlapping agencies, including Commerce, the SBA and U.S. Trade Representative.

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