Statement of the Honorable Clay Johnson III
Deputy Director for Management
Office of Management and Budget
Committee on Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
Ten years ago, we had a Federal government with agencies
that did not have strategic plans, planning documents long considered
essential by most high-performing organizations. Likewise there was no
focus on results, what the Federal government should have been achieving
for the American people. There was no systematic method in place to assess
the performance of programs. Rarely was the question asked: are we doing
what we set out to do?
The 1993 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA
or the Results Act) introduced the concept of performance management to
government. This important law required strategic and performance planning.
It required agencies to set annual goals and then report annually on the
extent to which they were achieving their goals. The promise
of GPRA was a government that managed for results. The reality
of GPRA, on the other hand, is a government that rarely uses performance
information to manage programs or make decisions to improve performance.
Today, the Federal government is beginning to embrace
more effectively the promise of the Results Act. Agencies and OMB are
together systematically asking how individual programs are performing.
The right questions are being asked: Are programs effective? Are they
well managed? If not, how might we work with Congress to improve program
To in part address weaknesses in GPRA implementation,
the Administration created the Program Assessment Rating Tool, a.k.a.
the PART. The PART is the device being used to assess program performance.
It is a consistent, objective, and transparent method of evaluating a
programs purpose and design, planning, management, and results
and accountability to determine its overall effectiveness. It assesses
the extent to which the agency is managing for results and maximizing
the programs performance, key requirements of GPRA. Once complete,
the basis for the ratings are made publicly available on OMBs website.
Applying the PART to 20% of the governments programs
each year, we will PART all of the governments programs
over a five year period. For the Committees information, included
with my testimony is a list of the programs assessed last year and those
that will be assessed this year.
Clearly, it takes a while to properly assess and reassess
all the federal programs, and to change the way the Executive and Congressional
branches address the issue of performance. Federal programs have lofty
missions and their performance is sometimes hard to measure. In addition,
there are few easy black and white answers to why a program is performing
poorly. With the PART, we systematically and routinely assess program
performance and follow-up on recommendations to address poor performance.
The PART for the FAA Grants-in-Aid program, for instance,
found the programs effectiveness to be limited by the way it funded
airports of varying size. Because the dependence of airports on the Federal
government varies based on an airports location, size, and financial
resources, analysis from the PART informed the Administrations
reauthorization proposal to allow more funds to be targeted to airports
with the greatest need and dependence on federal assistance. If implemented,
this recommendation would transfer more than $87 million in FY 2004 funds
from large to small airports, thereby raising small airports share
from approximately 63 percent to over 66 percent of total grants from
The PART-related recommendation for the Department of
Educations TRIO Upward Bound program is another example of the
types of actions we are taking to improve performance. Its PART revealed
that the TRIO program, which provides intensive services to improve academic
performance and college preparation for high school students, did not
effectively target the highest risk students, those who have potential
for college but are not performing successfully in high school. Because
evaluations indicate that this high-risk population is most likely to
benefit from the program, he Department created a special competition
that will award $18 million to projects that serve these high-risk students.
The Department of Education will monitor the college enrollment rate for
these participants and will use the results of this demonstration initiative
to guide future changes in the Upward Bound program.
I believe that five years from now the federal government
will be managing for results: we can make it happen. Executive Branch
leadership will be routinely asking whether the programs it administers
are effective and efficient and doing what they were intended to do. If
they arent, the Executive Branch will be looking for ways to improve,
working closely with Congress to do so. The Executive Branch will also
be able to assess like programs administered throughout the government;
find out which ones work best, and share and apply best practices among
them. We will also have a better picture of overall agency performance
based on the sum of PART evaluations.
I also believe that Congress will be using performance
information as part of their oversight considerations, insisting that
program performance improve throughout government. I expect agencies will
be asked why programs havent improved. Congress will be working
with the Executive branch to develop and implement remedies to address
poor program performance. I expect this Committee in particular will be
looking across government at whats working and whats not.
Appropriators will be focusing resources on whats working.
Members sit on this Committee because they have a strong
interest in good government. The quest for good government demands we
pursue this promise of the Results Act. We must be held accountable for
our performance and produce measurable results.
We should be working to earn the trust of the American
people every day. One way to do this is to focus constantly on whether
we are doing what we set out to do. Were going to have work at
this. Managing for results is still a new way of thinking for the Federal
government. But it is doable and, because we are managing in times of
continued budgetary constraints, it is necessary. This will happen. We
will bring about this historic change in government management together,
and in so doing, realize the full promise of the Results Act.