of the Honorable Clay Johnson III
Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management,
May 6, 2004
Thank you for asking me to testify before you this morning. I applaud this Subcommittees focus on the results the Federal Governments agencies and programs are achieving on behalf of the American people.
The Federal Government is results oriented. Our citizens expect it of us. So we ask ourselves if were accomplishing the desired result, at an acceptable cost, and if the answer is no to either question, we figure out what to do about it.
We hold our managers accountable for program costs and results. We make sure they have timely and accurate performance and financial information with which to make sound decisions, and the people, skills and systems to execute those decisions and programs well. And where we dont yet, we have plans to do so.
This sounds pretty basic, but it entails departments:
Departments and agencies are making these changes. They are driving the focus on results, one reason being that employees would rather work for an agency thats really results oriented than for one thats not.
The Administration is interested in doing everything possible to ensure this focus on results becomes a habit, what the Federal government is all about, and irreversible. Requiring by statute that program performance and cost be systematically assessed would help accomplish this.
By the end of this fiscal year departments will have assessed the performance and cost of 60% of their programs, with plans to evaluate the remaining 40% over the next two years. They ask the same questions about each program; so the answers and scores can be compared to each other. We refer to the collection of questions as the Program Assessment Rating Tool, or the PART.
With the help of the assessments done to date, we have identified the need for better performance and cost measures, structural changes, management changes, additional funding, and/or reduced funding. For your reference, I have included with my testimony a table that lists the approximately 400 programs assessed to date by their ratings and the corresponding budget recommendations. From the list, you can see the breadth and diversity of programs examined, and why it is necessary to take a consistent approach to assessing their management and performance. We should be asking basic questions of all of these programs:
As you can also see from the list, many programs 40 percent are unable to demonstrate their results. There is a need to identify those programs that can't demonstrate their results and then figure out the best way to measure their performance. Coming up with better ways to measure results is just one of the steps we take to improve the performance of the programs we assess.
The purpose of the assessments is to improve results. The guiding principles we have found most effective in the implementation and use of these assessments are as follow:
I recommend that these principles be incorporated into any statute calling for the systematic assessment by Congress and the Executive Branch of program performance and cost.
I look forward to working with this Subcommittee and other Members to craft a sensible approach to ensure that a focus on results becomes a habit, what the Federal government is all about, and irreversible.