The Office of Management Budget released Friday a plan to reform and reorganize the government, laying out a strategy to merge the Labor and Education departments, collapse the nation’s 22 financial literacy programs, address the cyber workforce challenge and privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The 132-page executive order, entitled “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch,” states that it “builds on a history of bipartisan government reform initiatives,” and seeks to reduce “duplication and redundancy,” and improve “efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the executive branch.”
The Trump administration states that the report is designed to serve as a “cornerstone to build productive, bipartisan dialogue” to bring the government into the 21st century.
As Ed Mills, policy analyst for Raymond James, notes in his Friday Washington Policy briefing, “many of the administration’s proposed changes will require congressional action,” which Raymond James views as unlikely this year heading into midterm elections.
Collapsing the Labor and Education departments as well as taking action on Fannie and Freddie are two such measures that need congressional approval.
Mills notes that a path forward on housing finance reform “has been an ongoing discussion in both the House and the Senate, and is likely a key policy area to watch in 2019.”
In the near-to-medium term, Mills continued, “first steps on reform can be initiated by President Trump’s pick to lead the [Federal Housing Finance Agency], starting with an end to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s conservatorship status.”
Merging Labor, Education
The plan would merge the Departments of Education and Labor into a single Cabinet agency, the Department of Education and the Workforce (DEW).
“Merging ED and DOL would allow the federal government to address the educational and skill needs of American students and workers in a coordinated way, eliminating duplication of effort between the two agencies and maximizing the effectiveness of skill-building efforts,” the report states.
As it stands now, the two departments “operate in silos, inhibiting the federal government’s ability to address the skill needs of the American people in a coordinated manner.”
The result: “a complicated web of funding streams for states and localities to administer, and a confusing set of signals sent to American students and workers regarding how best to develop the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century economy,” the report states.
The federal government currently operates more than 40 workforce development programs spread across 15 agencies. “This fragmentation perpetuates unnecessary bureaucracy and complicates state and local efforts to weave together disparate funding streams to meet the comprehensive needs of their citizens.”
The plan proposed to consolidate and streamline the more than 20 federal agencies that have some form of financial education or literacy program, the report states.
It would require the Treasury Department to develop recommendations for federal financial literacy and education activities that will be shared with the OMB before Oct. 1.
Shoring Up Cybersecurity Talent
The federal government is currently challenged to recruit and retain cybersecurity professionals “due to a shortage of talent along with growing demand for these employees across the public and private sectors,” the report states.
To address this, the Department of Homeland Security and OMB, working in coordination with all federal departments and agencies, are charged with setting up a “unified cyber workforce capability.”
The Trump administration plans to develop a “standardized approach” to federal cybersecurity personnel, to ensure “government-wide visibility into talent gaps, as well as unified solutions to fill those gaps in a timely and prioritized manner.”
In the near term, the report states, the administration plans to “prioritize and accelerate ongoing efforts to reform the way that the federal government recruits, evaluates, selects, pays, and places cyber talent.”
The executive branch and the Office of Personnel Management are now working to categorize the federal cybersecurity workforce, using the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NICE Framework) as required by the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act of 2015.
By fall, the report states, the federal government “will have catalogued the entire cybersecurity workforce to better understand our current set of knowledge, skills, abilities, and identify any gaps,” providing insight “into where our most pressing needs are, and, for the first time, enable the development of an enterprise-wide approach to the recruitment, placement and training of cybersecurity talent.”
The administration also plans to educate America’s youth “to build an enduring cybersecurity talent pipeline,” stating that as part of the fiscal 2020 budget development process, “OMB will evaluate options to rationalize the size and scope of current Federal cybersecurity education programs.”
— Check out Trump Calls for Combining Education, Labor Departments in Revamp on ThinkAdvisor.