Nominations are now open for the 2020 Government Executive Government Hall of Fame awards.

The Government Hall of Fame is designed for those who have reached a high pinnacle of success during their careers in civil service. The Hall of Fame honors the best of the best: those who have demonstrated sustained achievement and unparalleled dedication to public service throughout their careers. The Hall of Fame Inductees have done much more than achieved a singular accomplishment—they have made historic progress in changing government for the better, and their influence will live on for generations. Each year a new class of inductees will be added to this group’s elite membership.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Annie Bruce at

Learn more and submit a nomination

A watchdog reported on Tuesday that although the State Department says it is committed to improving racial and gender representation in its workforce, department leaders have failed to analyze career promotion data to adequately understand barriers women and minorities face.

The Government Accountability Office analyzed data for over 40,000 employees who worked at the department from 2002 to 2018 and found “uneven progress” in improving diversity. The total proportion of racial and ethnic minorities in full-time, permanent positions increased from 28% in fiscal 2002 to 32% in fiscal 2018 with variations among specific races and ethnicities. Over the same period, the number of women at the agency decreased slightly from 44% in 2002 to 43% in 2018. Additionally, with few exceptions, whites and men had the highest promotion rates and held the majority of leadership positions among the career service and foreign service.

“According to State, to represent the United States to the world, the agency must have a workforce that reflects the rich composition of its citizenry. State has implemented several plans, activities, and initiatives to improve diversity and representation throughout the ranks of its workforce,” the report said. “However, longstanding diversity issues persist at the agency, such as underrepresentation of racial or ethnic minorities and women in the senior ranks” and it “may have an incomplete picture of issues affecting diversity in its workforce” with its current annual reporting.

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Watch Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lead a discussion on the public release of a new GAO report titled “State Department: Additional Steps are Needed to Identify Potential Barriers to Diversity.”

Visit the GAO’s report page

Editor’s note: The following post first appeared on the IBM Center for The Business of Government website.

Many governments around the world seek ways to serve their constituents and carry out their missions more effectively and with greater efficiency. This imperative takes on even greater import as emerging technology and business paradigms raise expectations from the public and enable new channels of collaboration between government and industry.  More specifically, the U.S. government has enormous unfunded needs to modernize administrative processes, workforce skills, and technologies.

These demands continue to grow in an environment of public sector resource constraints, which could be alleviated though greater leverage of private sector investment, technology, and expertise.  But capital markets that enable companies to finance critical needs generally do not address public sector work – one set of such markets, state and municipal bond issuances do not have an analog at the national level. Private investment and public-private partnerships can help to supplement government funding sources, and can be a source for innovation and expertise.

Addressing these and other modernization challenges requires a long-term vision for increasing investment in public goals, optimizing current budget and procurement processes to deploy greater engagement with the private sector consistent with sound use of public funds, and a strategy to achieve this change in practical increments over time.  As public sector funding constraints continue to be impacted by rising deficits and debt, agencies can benefit from pathways for the private sector to invest capital in modernizing government operations, and from processes for making the most effective use of public and private investment dollars over time.

To address these challenges, the IBM Center for The Business of Government and the Shared Services Leadership Coalition (SSLC) have released a new report, Mobilizing Capital Investment to Modernize Government.  Three former leaders in government – Ed DeSeve with Brookings Executive Education, Steve Redburn with George Washington University, and Ken Buck with the University of Virginia — identify strategies for Federal agencies on how to incentivize private sector capital investment.

The authors also discuss options and recommendations for revising budget and acquisition processes that have tended to limit systematic engagement with industry around investment, such as with shared services; and to discourage longer-term capital planning by government. At the same time, the report makes clear how such recommendations can be done consistent with important safeguards in appropriations, budget scoring, and procurement processes—safeguards rooted in longstanding law and policy.

This report was informed by the insights at a September 2019 Roundtable discussion co-hosted by the IBM Center and SSLC, which that addressed how investment, budgeting, and procurement strategies might help government meet its capital challenges.  Participants include current and former senior officials from OMB, agencies, congress, academia, and industry, and their insights pointed out ways to meet these challenges more effectively — exploring options for adopting “outside-in” solutions that draw on private sector resources, expertise, and technology to bolster public spending, as well as how to capitalize on current budget and procurement flexibilities.

The Roundtable and research from the authors also reflected on how the Federal Government has engaged in initiatives to address this imperative over the past several decades.  OMB has worked with agencies to develop several shared services initiatives that seek to apply commercial best practices across government; numerous innovations in acquisition have been authorized and implemented; industry has joined in multiple forms of public-private partnerships modeled on similar collaborative efforts in state and local governments. And recent budget innovations have brought flexible investment approaches, such as the Technology Modernization Fund.

The authors drew on this experience and discussion to identify several findings regarding current budgetary and procurement practices that affect the ability of the federal government to attract and deploy private capital in support of national policy objectives, including:

  • Many perceived obstacles to increased use of private capital, technology, and expertise to support federal systems modernization and an array of other public capital needs can be overcome by creative interpretation and application within established rules, in a manner consistent with the intent of those rules.
  • Ample precedents exist as models for future initiatives to bring private capital to bear for public purposes, and these precedents should be systematically evaluated by the federal government to determine how they can be applied and generalized.
  • Significant risks for both public and private partners arise from the vagaries of the budget process and the complexities of federal procurement, which can be addressed by developing a body of evaluated experience and using that evidence to establish consistent budget conventions and replicable contract standards.
  • Near- and longer-term opportunities exist to make the federal government’s budget and procurement processes friendlier to investments to help modernize government, and to public-private partnerships for an array of public purposes, by reducing uncertainties and risks for both sectors.

The report also outlines a set of actions that could be taken both now and in the future, including ways to incentivize private sector investment and public sector agility as well as reforms in federal budgeting and procurement.  These actions take the form of 10 near and long-term recommendations for OMB, GSA, Congress, and stakeholders and partners.

We hope that this report helps government understand how best to engage with private sector partners in achieving its modernization goals effectively, efficiently, and consistent with integrity for taxpayer dollars  .

For government to carry out missions ranging from defending against cyberattacks to promoting health and wellness for all Americans, agencies need the absolute best leaders at the helm.

The Excellence in Government Fellows program is the premier leadership development course for federal employees at the GS-14 to GS-15 levels. For more than 30 years, EIG has trained federal employees on the skills and strategies they need to lead. Empowered by their experience, our graduates go on to develop and implement innovative solutions to address the federal government’s biggest challenges and improve their agencies’ effectiveness.

Applications due by April 3.

Learn more and apply

The Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership Awards (The Teddies) honor an all-star team of distinguished federal officials and industry leaders for outstanding achievement in delivering on government’s promise to serve the American people. Each year two winners will be chosen in the Visionaries, Directors, Pathfinders, Defenders and Partners categories for demonstrated success in their work over a given year. The Visionaries, Directors, Pathfinders and Defenders categories are for federal government and military leaders. The Partners category is for non-government partners.

Nominations are open now through 11:59 PM on Friday, March 13.

Submit a Teddy Award nomination

On January 30th, the foundation hosted a New Year Networking event to kick off our tenth anniversary year. Intended as a cross-fellowship and multi-organization career networking event, it provided attendees with an opportunity to expand and enhance their professional networks and foster contacts and camaraderie to catalyze the sharing of resources, events and job information, to facilitate collaboration, and build a network of public service leaders across the dynamic range of public policy and government fellowships in our region.
Over 300 people came, representing dozens of fellowships, including:
AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships
American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowships
APSIA – Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs
Boren Fellowships
Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellowships and Leadership Institute
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Fellowship Program
Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs
Council on Foreign Relations Fellowships
DACOR Fellowships
Frederick Bastiat Public Policy Fellowships
Fulbright Public Policy Fellowships
FUSE Corps
National Academies Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program
National Academy of Public Administration
NASPAA-Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration
NNSA Graduate Fellowships
NOAA John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program
Partnership for Public Service Leadership Alumni Network
Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Fellowship Program
Presidential Innovation Fellows
Presidential Management Fellowships
ProFellow International Fellowship Network
Public Leadership Education Network
Public Policy & International Affairs Program
Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowships
Robertson Foundation for Government Fellowships
Harold W. Rosenthal Fellowship in International Relations
Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship
National Defense Industrial Association Fellowships
Secretary’s Honors Program at Department of Homeland Security
Senior Executives Association
Society for International Development-Washington
TechCongress Fellowships
Truman Scholarships
United Nations Association of the U.S., DC Chapter
U.S. Digital Service
White House Fellowships
Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Program
Women’s Congressional Policy Fellowships
Women’s Foreign Policy Group
Women in Defense
Young Government Leaders
Young Professionals in Foreign Policy
Future networking gatherings will focus on specific themes to afford more targeted networking.

The federal landscape is expected to change dramatically in the next decade as the power and capacity of technology advance, more data becomes available and the demands on federal employees grow and shift. With the U.S. population projected to expand by more than 20 million people in the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, government must evolve to keep up.

In “A Roadmap to the Future,” the Partnership for Public Service and Ernst & Young describe what a better connected, more collaborative federal government can accomplish in the years ahead and identify barriers to success that government is likely to encounter along the way.

Download the report at the Partnership’s website

Is the evidence-based policymaking movement at the federal level of government on the cusp of an important change? It’s too soon to say for sure, but hopefully so.

The change would expand the questions that currently drive the evidence movement, such as Does this program work? and Which version of this program works best? to include questions like What does this program cost? Is this program cost-effective? and Which version of this program is most cost-effective?

That may seem like a subtle change, but providing decision makers with information on costs and cost-effectiveness, not just on how well they produce desired outcomes, would give them valuable new information to identify the programs and policies with the highest return on investment. In practical terms, that would allow them to spend scarce government resources more wisely and better achieve the goals of public programs.

Read more at Government Executive