NPR's September 7, 1993, report contained 254 major recommendations affecting major government agencies. These recommendations are discussed in more detail in separate accompanying reports, which break these recommendations into about 835 specific action items. Of these action items, agencies report that 12 percent are complete and another 80 percent are in progress. Following are highlights of agency reinvention activities.
INTEL01--Enhance Intelligence Community Integration
INTEL02--Enhance Community Responsiveness to Customers
INTEL03--Reassess Information Collection to Meet New Analytical Challenges
INTEL04--Integrate Intelligence Community Information Management Systems
INTEL05--Develop Integrated Personnel and Training Systems
INTEL06--Merge the President's Intelligence Oversight Board with the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
INTEL07--Improve Support to Ground Troops During Combat Operations
Agency Progress to Date
Like the Defense Department, the Intelligence Community has taken significant steps to reduce the size of its operations. The Central Intelligence Agency, for example, is using buyouts and other strategies to reduce its workforce more than 22 percent in the next five years. At the same time, offices throughout CIA are examining how to accomplish their missions in a more efficient manner. Streamlining efforts of one CIA component, for example, have resulted in savings of over 50,000 labor hours per year. The CIA anticipates that its quality initiatives in the data processing arena will save more than $15 million over a five-year period. Similar activities are happening elsewhere in the Intelligence Community. For instance, the National Security Agency saved nearly $1 million in investment--and is generating $2 million in annual revenue for the federal government--by reinventing a process for destroying classified computer chips and recovering precious metals.
To improve its effectiveness, the Intelligence Community has implemented a new National Intelligence Needs Process to better determine the needs of the customers of its intelligence information. To better serve its customers, it has created INTELINK, a major multimedia information service framework that will also provide for better integration of the various elements of the Intelligence Community. To streamline advice he receives, the President merged two intelligence advisory boards reporting to him.
In addition, the Intelligence Community has made gains in better coordinating security policy, programs, and budget through an executive committee. Its personnel staffs have created a coordinating committee to study ways to standardize personnel practices. For example, the Intelligence Community has published a unified testing plan that sets community-wide standards for foreign language proficiency. The community has also created a "reinvention lab" that works across intelligence agencies to improve support to ground troops during combat operations.
Department of the Interior
DOI01--Establish a Hard Rock Mine Reclamation Fund to Restore the Environment
DOI02--Redefine Federal Oversight of Coal Mine Regulation
DOI03--Establish a National Spatial Data Infrastructure
DOI04--Promote Entrepreneurial Management of the National Park Service
DOI05--Obtain a Fair Return for Federal Resources
DOI06--Rationalize Federal Land Ownership
DOI07--Improve the Land Acquisition Policies of the DOI
DOI08--Improve Minerals Management Service Royalty Collections
DOI09--Establish a System of Personnel Exchanges in DOI
DOI10--Consolidate Administrative and Programmatic Functions in DOI
DOI11--Streamline Management Support Systems in DOI
DOI12--Create a New Mission for the Bureau of Reclamation
DOI13--Improve the Federal Helium Program
DOI14--Enhance Environmental Management by Remediating Hazardous Material Sites
Agency Progress to Date
Mining reform legislation is currently pending before Congress. The Department of the Interior is supporting this legislation and is taking other steps to prioritize cleanup of abandoned mines and downsize the Office of Surface Mining. In addition, both the Administration and Interior are drafting legislation that would push some decision making on mine cleanup down to the state level.
Legislation is also pending that would increase funding for the National Park Service by authorizing additional user fees. In addition, concession contracts are being renegotiated from a lifetime contract to a 10-year contract in order to take advantage of the competitive marketplace and boost the federal government's return on its investment in the park system.
The Bureau of Reclamation has issued its "Blueprint for Reform," setting out a new mission. It has successfully reorganized a top-heavy headquarters staff and delegated most of its former authority to regional managers.
Interior as a whole is reducing its personnel staff 40 percent by 1996 and is increasing personnel staffing ratios to 1:100. Interior is also providing leadership for the government wide initiative, under the President's Management Council, for streamlining federal operations.
The department has implemented a model field structure in the Bureau of Land Management's Idaho Office, based on ecosystem management concepts, that is designed to address the competing interests involved in federal land management. In addition, the U.S. Geological Survey's map distribution system has been reinvented, cutting service time from three weeks to one day.
Interior is working with other federal agencies to improve environmental management of hazardous material sites. Task forces and work groups have been established to integrate managerial and scientific expertise and to draft plans to designate several hazardous material sites as pilot projects for cooperative, multi-bureau assessment and remediation.
Department of Justice
DOJ01--Improve the Coordination and Structure of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
DOJ02--Improve Border Management
DOJ03--Redirect and Better Coordinate Resources Dedicated to the Interdiction of Drugs
DOJ04--Improve Department of Justice Debt Collection Efforts
DOJ05--Improve the Bureau of Prisons Education, Job Training, and Financial Responsibilities Programs
DOJ06--Improve the Management of Federal Assets Targeted for Disposition
DOJ07--Reduce the Duplication of Drug Intelligence Systems and Improve Computer Security
DOJ08--Reinvent the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Organization and Management
DOJ09--Make the Department of Justice Operate More Effectively as the U.S. Government Law Firm
DOJ10--Improve White Collar Fraud Civil Enforcement
DOJ11--Reduce the Duplication of Law Enforcement Training Facilities
DOJ12--Streamline Background Investigations for Federal Employees
DOJ13--Adjust Civil Monetary Penalties to the Inflation Index
DOJ14--Improve Federal Courthouse Security
DOJ15--Improve the Professionalism of the U.S. Marshals Service
DOJ16--Develop Lower Cost Solutions to Federal Prison Space Problems
Agency Progress to Date
Justice investigative agencies are transferring over 1,000 agents from headquarters and administrative positions to the field. Justice is also implementing an automated booking system to streamline the booking of prisoners, thereby allowing staff to devote more time to investigations.
To improve the coordination of law enforcement, reduce duplication, and better target investigative resources, Justice created the Office of Investigative Agency Policies, headed by the FBI Director. OIAP has created a common intelligence database for the FBI and DEA and has ordered Justice law enforcement agencies in each district to submit a common investigative and prosecutive strategy. OIAP is examining and eliminating duplication in the budget requests of Justice investigative agencies and has established procedures to coordinate performance standards, procurements, wireless communications, and office automation.
OIAP is providing a springboard for improving cooperation among all federal law enforcement agencies. Progress on this is demonstrated by improved coordination between Justice and Treasury in the Anti-Violent Crime Task Forces and the cross-designation of Customs agents to carry out drug smuggling investigations.
As part of a comprehensive five-year plan to improve border management, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Customs Service established joint performance standards to measure and track the effectiveness of cross-designated elements, coordinated shift scheduling to maximize staffing of primary inspection lanes and expedite the entry of travelers, and Port Quality Improvement Committees to initiate, monitor, and steer cooperative initiatives at the ports. To improve customer service, INS developed a prototype to reduce the number of automated immigration information messages on its telephone systems from 59 to 10; and unveiled prototypes that will speed fingerprint identification and automate the processing of illegal aliens.
Congress authorized Justice to retain a portion of debts it collects to improve its collection efforts. Debt collections through the first nine months of fiscal year 1994 are over $1 billion, substantially in excess of the amount collected for all of fiscal year 1993. In addition, Justice established a reinvention laboratory and customer service standards to improve its FOIA program. Justice also made progress towards establishing its first strategic plan, which will be completed by October 1, 1995, two years in advance of the deadline in the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). Several other Justice initiatives, including the indexing of civil penalties and improving the professionalism of the U.S. Marshals Service, await further congressional action.
Department of Labor
DOL01--Enhance Reemployment Programs for Occupationally Disabled Federal Employees
DOL02--Develop a Single Comprehensive Worker Adjustment Strategy
DOL03--Expand Negotiated Rule making and Improve Up-front Teamwork on Regulations
DOL04--Expand the Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution by the Department of Labor
DOL05--Automate the Processing of ERISA Annual Financial Reports (Forms 5500) to Cut Costs and Delays in Obtaining Employee Benefit Plan Data
DOL06--Amend the ERISA Requirement for Summary Plan Descriptions
DOL07--Redirect the Mine Safety and Health Administration's Role in Mine Equipment Regulation
DOL08--Create One-Stop Centers for Career Management
DOL09--Create a Boundary-Spanning Workforce Development Council
DOL10--Refocus the Responsibility for Ensuring Workplace Safety and Health
DOL11--Open the Civilian Conservation Centers to Private and Public Competition
DOL12--Partially Fund Mine Safety and Health Enforcement Through Service Fees
DOL13--Integrate Enforcement Activities within the Department of Labor
DOL14--Apply Information Technology to Expedite Wage Determinations for Federal Contracts
DOL15--Provide Research and Development Authority for the DOL's Mine Safety and Health Program
DOL16--Increase Assistance to States in Collecting Delinquent Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Contributions
DOL17--Revise and Update the Consumer Price Index
DOL18--Improve the Delivery of Legal Services by the Office of the Solicitor in the Department of Labor
DOL19--Transfer the Veterans" Employment and Training Service to the Employment and Training Administration
DOL20--Reduce Federal Employees" Compensation Act Fraud
DOL21--Change the Focus of the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Quality Control Program to Improve Performance
Agency Progress to Date
In a performance agreement with the President, the Secretary committed the department to specific goals in creating first jobs, new jobs, better jobs, and reinvention within the department. Action has been taken to reengineer operations in occupational safety and health, in the wage and hour division, and in personnel. In response to an NPR recommendation to integrate enforcement activities in the department, an enforcement council has been created to work across organizational boundaries to resolve common problems, cross-train some inspectors, and serve as a communication network. In addition, Labor has initiated pilots on the use of negotiated rule making and alternative dispute resolution. It has also convened a federal-state work group to refocus the quality control program of the unemployment insurance program. Furthermore, Labor has reduced internal regulations by 73 percent.
Congress imposed tougher penalties for fraud in the federal employees disability compensation program. In addition, Congress is actively considering legislation to create a single, integrated worker adjustment assistance program and "one-stop shopping" career management centers for Labor's employment and training programs. Legislation to revise and update the consumer price index has also been introduced, as well as legislation to refocus the responsibility for ensuring workplace safety and health to employers by requiring self-inspections and new penalties.
Cuts in the President's budget request to reemploy disabled federal workers are pending in Congress. NPR had recommended an increasing order to create long-term savings of more than $100 million. Legislation has been introduced to eliminate the filing of ERISA's employee retirement summary plan descriptions, and the department is working with IRS to automate the processing of ERISA financial reports. Little has been done to open civilian conservation centers to private and public competition. Action to integrate the Veterans Employment and Training Service into Labor's other training programs has been deferred indefinitely.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA01--Improve NASA Contracting Practices
NASA02--Increase NASA Technology Transfer Efforts and Eliminate Barriers to Technology Development
NASA03--Increase NASA Coordination of Programs with the U.S. Civil Aviation Industry
NASA04--Strengthen and Restructure NASA Management
NASA05--Clarify the Objectives of the Mission to Planet Earth Program
Agency Progress to Date
NASA has created a shared strategic vision and plan to guide its activities. It has modified its regulations to improve contracting practices, for example, by contracting for data--not for hardware. NASA also developed a working group to create a closer relationship with the U.S. civil aviation industry and other government partners. As part of this effort, it has conducted the first comprehensive review and inventory of federal and private sector aeronautics and space facility capabilities to support the United States" competitive position in the world market.
NASA has also completed the overhaul of the space station program management and repositioned staff. It has ensured that the customer-driven "Mission to Planet Earth" program's costs are contained and the program is consistent with high-priority environmental goals. In addition, NASA has implemented the initial version of the computer software for the Earth Observing System so information collected from outer space will be readily available to assist researchers, educators, and policy makers in understanding the earth's ecological environment.
Thanks to team spirit and innovation, the Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a Science and Engineering Workspace Procurement for 15,000 scientific work stations. It is estimated that this approach will save $49 million. Another $73.5 million will be saved through the consolidation of these contracts into one purchasing vehicle. The net result is an estimated $122.5 million savings and reduction of purchasing time from four to six months to four to six weeks.
National Science Foundation/Office of Science and Technology Policy
NSF01--Strengthen Coordination of Science Policy
NSF02--Use a Federal Demonstration Project to Increase Research Productivity
NSF03--Continue Automation of NSF Research Support Functions
Agency Progress to Date
The President strengthened the coordination of science policy by creating the National Science and Technology Council. In addition, OMB has drafted proposed rule changes to formalize the federal demonstration project. This project has historically been the avenue for identifying ways to increase research productivity and reduce costs to the federal government.
NSF is providing government wide leadership in the application of technology to the receipt and processing of proposals and the management of federal research and education awards. It has centralized geographically scattered activities into a "smart" facility to reduce operating costs and implemented a program of continuous improvement of its operations.
Office of Personnel Management
OPM01--Strengthen OPM's Leadership Role in Transforming Federal Human Resource Management Systems
OPM02--Redefine and Restructure OPM's Functional Responsibilities to Foster a Customer Orientation
OPM03--Change the Culture of OPM to Empower Its Staff and Increase Its Customer Orientation
Agency Progress to Date
OPM has completed a mission, vision, and values statement that outlines its new leadership role in personnel and has acted administratively, where it can, to delegate operational work to the agencies. For example, it has eliminated the Federal Personnel Manual one year ahead of schedule and abolished the Standard Form 171, "Application for Federal Employment." OPM, in consortium with the Department of Defense, has developed automated systems for every step of the employment process. This automation has created a paperless office, which illustrates for agencies the various functions they can automate or have OPM provide for them. It has also issued family-friendly regulations allowing employees to use up to five workdays of sick leave each year to care for family members, and it has taken steps to abolish minimum time-in-grade requirements before a promotion.
OPM, in conjunction with the Interagency Advisory Group of agency personnel directors, regularly sponsors satellite broadcasts to down link sites around the country on topics related to human resource management issues and programs. The agency has also developed an electronic bulletin board, OPM Mainstreet, which serves all human resource managers throughout the government.
OPM has taken action to serve as a model agency in areas such as the creation of labor-management partnerships, the use of interagency groups of stakeholders to change the personnel process, and the creation of a priority reemployment program for employees who lose their jobs. The OPM Director has established an Employee Task Force on Agency Redesign to develop an organizational model that will reflect the agency's new mission, vision, and values.
Small Business Administration
SBA01--Allow Judicial Review of the Regulatory Flexibility Act
SBA02--Improve Assistance to Minority Small Businesses
SBA03--Reinvent the U.S. Small Business Administration's Credit Programs
SBA04--Examine Federal Guidelines for Small Business Lending Requirements
SBA05--Manage the Microloan Program to Increase Loans for Small Business
SBA06--Establish User Fees for Small Business Development Center Services
SBA07--Distribute SBA Staff Based on Workload and Administrative Efficiency
SBA08--Improve Federal Data on Small Businesses
Agency Progress to Date
Based on the performance agreement signed with the President, the Administrator integrated specific elements of this agreement into "cascaded" agreements with SBA's senior executives. As part of this agreement, SBA is introducing an entirely new approach to delivering services to minority-owned small businesses. As a result, for the first time in many years, there is no processing backlog for Section 8(a) applications.
SBA has also piloted a quick and easy one-page application for loans under $100,000--nicknamed "LowDoc"--that allows lenders to use their own documentation, rather than SBA-specified paperwork. This pilot will be expanded nationwide shortly. SBA has also created new revolving lines of credit as well as loan pre-qualifications for targeted women-owned small businesses. It has also worked with other agencies to make borrowing less cumbersome and streamlined examination procedures to make it easier for banks to serve their customers.
To improve customer service with reduced staffing, SBA is shifting 79 headquarters employees (8 percent of headquarters staff) and 78 regional middle managers to front-line services. SBA also collaborated with Commerce, AID, and the Export-Import Bank to create consolidated export promotion and trade finance centers at four locations around the country; 11 more will open in 1995.
In addition, Congress is considering legislation to allow judicial review of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and to change SBA's "microloan" program from a direct loan program to a loan guarantee program in order to increase the number of loans to small businesses.
Department of State/U.S. Information Agency
DOS01--Expand the Authority of Chiefs of Mission Overseas
DOS02--Integrate the Foreign Affairs Resource Management Process
DOS03--Improve State Department Efforts to Promote U.S. Business Overseas
DOS04--Provide Leadership in the Department's Information Management
DOS05--Reduce Mission Operating Costs
DOS06--Consolidate U.S. Nonmilitary International Broadcasting
DOS07--Relocate the Mexico City Regional Administrative Management Center
DOS08--Improve the Collection of Receivables
DOS09--Change UN Administrative and Assessment Procedures
Agency Progress to Date
State plans to pilot increases in the management authority of Chiefs of Mission, and it is studying alternative models of representation abroad as a way to reduce the operating costs of missions. It is also well on the way to relocating administrative management centers from foreign locations to a U.S. site. In addition, State has improved reporting and increased its attempts to collect money it is owed. The department is also incorporating measures of performance in department wide program planning processes.
State created an office, reporting directly to the Secretary, to coordinate the budgetary resources for foreign affairs (Function 150) and to present an integrated resource request.
To improve the promotion of U.S. business overseas, State has created an advocacy network. It has focused on improving internal communication on trade data, reducing foreign trade barriers, and increasing its advocacy role by creating strategic commercial plans in selected countries.
In April, Congress passed legislation introduced by the Administration providing the necessary authority to consolidate all nonmilitary international broadcasting under the United States Information Agency (USIA) (P.L. 103-236). USIA and the Board for International Broadcasting have worked together to begin combining program and engineering operations. A detailed plan to achieve consolidation by the end of FY 1995 is nearing completion.
Department of Transportation
DOT01--Measure Transportation Safety
DOT02--Streamline the Enforcement Process
DOT03--Use a Consensus-Building Approach to Expedite Transportation and Environmental Decision making
DOT04--Establish a Corporation to Provide Air Traffic Control Services
DOT05--Permit States to Use Federal Aid as a Capital Reserve
DOT06--Encourage Innovations in Automotive Safety
DOT07--Examine User Fees for International Over-Flights
DOT08--Increase FAA Fees for Inspection of Foreign Repair Facilities
DOT09--Contract for Level I Air Traffic Control Towers
DOT10--Establish Aeronautical Telecommunications Network to Develop a Public-Private Consortium
DOT11--Improve Intermodal Transportation Policy Coordination and Management
DOT12--Develop an Integrated National Transportation Research and Development Plan
DOT13--Create and Evaluate Telecommuting Programs
DOT14--Improve DOT Information Technology Management
DOT15--Provide Reemployment Rights for Merchant Mariners
DOT16--Establish a Commission to Review the U.S. Maritime Industry
DOT17--Eliminate Funding for Highway Demonstration Projects
DOT18--Reduce Spending for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
DOT19--Rescind Unobligated Earmarks for the FTA New Starts and Bus Program
DOT20--Reduce Annual Essential Air Service Subsidies
DOT21--Terminate Grant Funding for Federal Aviation Administration Higher Education Programs
DOT22--Assign Office of Motor Carriers (OMC) Field Staff to Improve Program Effectiveness and Reduce Costs
DOT23--Automate Administrative Requirements for Federal-Aid Highway Projects
Agency Progress to Date
Transportation has put into motion a number of initiatives to leverage its resources. It completed a strategic plan that integrates transportation policy coordination and management and is reviewing operations to determine which operations it might devolve to state and local governments. Also, it has created an oversight group to integrate transportation research. This group reported its recommendations to the White House in April 1994. In addition, an interagency working group, led by Transportation, is developing common measures of safety and identifying actions that will offer system wide safety improvements.
In addition, in May 1994, Transportation announced its proposal to create a United States Air Traffic Services Corporation and will submit legislation to Congress in the next few months, following appropriate congressional consultation. It has also begun to contract out the operation of 25 "Level 1" air traffic control towers. Legislation is pending that will allow the use of cooperative agreements to create an aeronautical telecommunication network.
Separately, FAA and the airlines estimate a savings in excess of $10 million a year as a result of their initiative for jointly managing the national air space system. In addition, as a result of a quality action team review, the Coast Guard eliminated over 100 military personnel billets and saved approximately $3.5 million in its aircraft deployment operations.
Transportation has also made concerted efforts to move the theoretical research on global satellite navigation and "smart cars" to practical application. It has increased the use of information technology, such as electronic licensing, for merchant mariners, electronic commerce for procurement, and electronic signature authority for grants. In addition, Transportation has prepared notices to solicit innovations in automotive safety and to increase fees for the certification and oversight of foreign aircraft repair facilities.
Separately, Congress partially rescinded unobligated funds (about $3.3 million) for several mass transit programs, reduced annual subsidies for the "essential air service" program by about $7.8 million, lowering FY95 spending to $25.6 million, and rescinded over $5 million from air traffic controller and air science higher education programs. However, action has been deferred on the proposal to permit states to use federal aid as a capital reserve. No action is expected on the creation of a commission to review the U.S. maritime industry or the elimination of funding for highway demonstration projects. Further, Congress has voted to prohibit Transportation from charging tuition to students of the Merchant Marine Academy.
Department of the Treasury
TRE01--Improve the Coordination and Structure of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
TRE02--Improve Border Management
TRE03--Redirect and Better Coordinate Resources Dedicated to the Interdiction of Drugs
TRE04--Foster Federal-State Cooperative Initiatives by the IRS
TRE05--Simplify Employer Wage Reporting
TRE06--Establish Federal Firearms License User Fees to Cover Costs
TRE07--Improve the Management of Federal Assets Targeted for Disposition
TRE08--Reduce the Duplication of Drug Intelligence Systems and Improve Computer Security
TRE09--Modernize the IRS
TRE10--Modernize the U.S. Customs Service
TRE11--Ensure the Efficient Merger of the Resolution Trust Corporation into the FDIC
TRE12--Reduce the Duplication of Law Enforcement Training Facilities
TRE13--Streamline Background Investigations for Federal Employees
TRE14--Adjust Civil Monetary Penalties to the Inflation Index
TRE15--Increase IRS Collections Through Better Compliance Efforts
TRE16--Improve Agency Compliance with Employment Tax Reporting Requirements (Form 1099)
TRE17--Authorize Federal Tax Payments by Credit Card
TRE18--Modernize the Financial Management Service
TRE19--Repeal Section 5010 of the Internal Revenue Code to Eliminate the Tax Credits for Wine and Flavors
TRE20 Amend or Repeal Section 5121 of the Internal Revenue Code Requiring Special Occupational Taxes on Retail Alcohol Dealers
Agency Progress to Date
Treasury is working jointly with Justice to better coordinate law enforcement and border management functions (see Justice summary for details).
IRS is working with other federal agencies to develop steps to reduce employer wage and tax reporting requirements. It is also drafting legislation to permit it to enter into reimbursable cooperative agreements with state tax agencies, to allow either party to collect taxes for the other. Congress is also considering allowing taxes to be paid by credit card. In addition, IRS is restructuring its operations to implement its new strategic plan; as part of this, it is increasing its measures of performance as they affect taxpayers. This includes increasing voluntary compliance among general taxpayers and working with GSA on a pilot to increase agency compliance with employment tax reporting requirements.
Likewise, the Customs Service is making substantial organizational changes. Congress approved the Customs Service Modernization Act and allowed Customs to examine its organizational structure. Its reorganization study was completed in April 1994 and will be sent to Congress. This study brought together a team from across the country that included regional directors, front-line employees, and union representatives to reengineer Customs. The result is a planned headquarters reduction of one-third, elimination of all regional offices, and more front-line employees. Customs is also studying ways to better process imports. Customs is a leader among enforcement agencies in treating the public it serves as customers.
Treasury is also improving government wide financial management systems by consolidating its operations--it has closed one center and slated another for closing in three years--and is requiring all agencies to move to an electronic payments system. It is also working with other agencies to develop an electronic vendor payment process.
Treasury has raised initial firearms license fees for dealers from $30 to $200 per three-year period to better cover the costs of its inspection programs. Legislation is pending to raise that fee further. Treasury has also established a senior interagency training advisory committee; legislation is pending to coordinate the construction of new interagency training facilities to reduce duplication.
In late 1993, Congress passed legislation to permit the Resolution Trust Corporation to complete its thrift cleanup work. Oversight of the remaining program is being maintained by the Thrift Depositor Protection Oversight Board.
Legislation is pending to adjust civil monetary penalties to the inflation index. However, no action has been taken to repeal either the wine and flavors tax credit or Section 5121 of the tax code, which requires special occupational taxes on retail alcohol dealers.
Department of Veterans Affairs
DVA01--Develop the Master Veteran Record and Modernize the Department's Information Infrastructure
DVA02--Modernize Benefits Claims Processing
DVA03--Eliminate Legislative Budget Constraints to Promote Management Effectiveness
DVA04--Streamline Benefits Claims Processing
DVA05--Consolidate Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs Compensation and Retired Pay Programs
DVA06--Enhance VA Cost Recovery Capabilities
DVA07--Establish a Working Capital Fund
DVA08--Decentralize Decision making Authority to Promote Management Effectiveness
DVA09--Establish a Comprehensive Resource Allocation Program
DVA10--Serve Veterans and Their Families as Customers
DVA11--Phase Out and Close Supply Depots
DVA12--Improve Business Practices through Electronic Commerce
DVA13--Eliminate "Sunset" Dates in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990
DVA14--Raise the Fees for Veterans Affairs' Guaranteed Home Loans
DVA15--Restructure the Veterans Affairs' Health Care System
DVA16--Recover Administrative Costs of Veterans' Insurance Program from Premiums and Dividends
Agency Progress to Date
Actions are under way to improve services. VA has created a team to develop a master veteran's record and modernize VA's information infrastructure; the team will report in January 1995. VA is also reengineering services in "reinvention labs" to test self-directed work teams, case management, and patient-focused medical care. In addition, VA is acquiring the equipment and redesigning its systems for benefits claims processing, with completion targeted for the year 2000. A reengineered claims processing system is being piloted at several sites and successful components will be implemented across the VA beginning in mid-1995. Congress enacted the Veterans Appeals Improvement Act to streamline the appeals process and improve timeliness.
VA is also restructuring its internal operations. A department wide group has created a framework for decentralizing decision making as a strategy for increasing management effectiveness; as part of this effort, VA has rescinded over 11,000 pages of directives, saving about $11.3 million a year. VA is closing its supply depots and using alternative, direct vendor delivery to its facilities beginning in early FY 1995. Projected savings are $168 million. Use of electronic commerce has been expanded, electronic benefits payments for veterans is being piloted, and a goal of 95 percent of employee salaries paid by direct deposit has been established.
VA and the Department of Defense have created a formal partnership to identify areas of cooperation that will result in mutual benefits, such as adjudication and benefit payment processes, joint health care facilities, and shared resources and services.
VA has initiated a number of efforts to improve service to veterans and their families. It has conducted a nationwide survey of veterans and is improving its response capacity to customers' concerns. In a similar vein, VA is installing patient bedside telephones in its 172 medical centers in conjunction with a nonprofit charity; 40 are completed and the remainder will be completed by the end of 1996. This partnership will save taxpayers $189 million.
To promote managerial effectiveness, Congress is considering the removal of legislative constraints, such as specifications on the number of beds in medical centers and limitations on VA's ability to reorganize internally. However, legislative action has been delayed on raising fees for guaranteed home loans, establishing gainsharing in medical care cost recovery, and creating a debt collection fund for recovering administrative costs of VA insurance programs.
In addition to the large agencies for which NPR prepared separate recommendations, there are about 100 other smaller agencies. Many of these agencies have developed their own reinvention initiatives that make government work better and cost less. Following is a small sample of some of these initiatives.
Progress to Date
The Federal Communications Commission has restructured itself and is establishing its new cable division--entirely along the lines of the principles articulated in NPR's report last year. Furthermore, the FCC has started to auction radio airwaves, with the first auction bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has initiated a customer service program to identify people who did not even know they were customers. PBGC finds potential beneficiaries of defunct pension funds who have not known they were due to receive payments.
To streamline procurement and reduce the taxpayers' cost for doing business, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission established a reinvention laboratory that contains all procurement functions. NRC has simplified contracting and has given employees a government procurement card that allows them to buy competitive products off the shelf.
Like many of the small and independent agencies, the National Archives and Records Administration has developed customer service standards that provide users realistic expectations and promise service to match the best practices of any research institution.