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Biden Agenda to Feature Workforce, Acquisition Priorities

The President’s Management Agenda identifies IT and data as foundational tools for mission delivery.

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President Biden released a vision for his upcoming long-term roadmap for modernizing the federal government. The key areas in the President’s Management Agenda will include strengthening the federal workforce, improving the customer experience and managing the business of government, according to the Biden-Harris Management Agenda Vision released this week.

With an emphasis on equity, the agenda’s guiding principles will be to deliver results for all Americans and to restore the public’s faith in government, the vision says.

The vision statement outlined three major objectives:

  • Strengthening and empowering the federal workforce.
  • Delivering excellent, equitable, and secure federal services and customer experience.
  • Managing the business of government to build back better.

To accomplish this, the vision identifies cybersecurity and IT modernization to be foundational tools for government management and mission delivery and notes a critical skills gap across federal IT and cybersecurity workforces.

“Agencies will continue to work together to enhance and secure government information technology as a vital support and catalyst for mission delivery,” the statement reads. “The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how critical IT investments are to supporting mission delivery and the essential work of government.”

Next steps and action items within the President’s Management Agenda will be released in early 2022, the vision states.

Strengthening the Federal Workforce  

The administration aims to “make every federal job a good job” and increase employee engagement through competitive compensation, union opportunities and enhanced mission delivery.

“OPM and OMB also will continue to build out tools to support agency human resources professionals in data-driven strategic workforce planning and decision-making related to employee engagement, inclusion and organizational performance,” the vision statement reads.

The administration aims to hire a more diverse workforce by actively engaging underrepresented communities in federal recruitment and advancement processes. Specifically, modernization and teleworking capabilities will be key pathways for meeting the government’s immediate and long-term hiring needs.

“Expanded telework and alternative work schedules, and increased adoption of technology, such as cloud computing, collaboration tools, and automation, the government will enhance its ability to recruit and retain top talent, staying competitive with broader trends in how Americans work,” the statement reads.

Delivering Excellent Customer Service  

The vision statement identified improved customer service as a major governmental priority and critical for High Impact Service Providers, or public-facing service providers that have been distinguished for their significant scale or impact.

This will necessitate developing or identifying federal shared products, services and standards. Rather than asking the public to navigate government siloes to access services, the administration wants the government to meet people where they are.

“Human-centered design research will drive the management of federal programs to develop a comprehensive understanding of how individuals interact with federal services,” the vision statement reads. “Through this process, agencies will identify barriers to service delivery and how those barriers create undue burdens on those the government serves, in particular for underserved communities.”

Managing the Business of Government  

The third priority is in improving federal acquisition and financial management systems. The federal government procures more than $600 billion in goods and services annually, according to the statement, and the Biden administration plans to leverage this spending to benefit all Americans.

The administration wants to prioritize domestic manufacturing to prevent future supply chain disruptions like those seen over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also wants to make major acquisitions to support a mission in reducing carbon output.

In addition, federal agencies are utilizing a financial management system to assess the financial risks that the climate crisis poses to the economy. These assessments will inform federal investments and set an example for the nation.

“Accomplishing these collective goals and activities will also require continuous improvements in our procurement, financial assistance and financial management ecosystems,” the vision statement reads. “This shift will require new measures and processes, new training for the federal workforce, and new tradeoffs that agencies will need to address going forward.”

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