Federal Executive Boards in the Changed World: The Chairperson of the Cleveland Federal Executive Board Explores the Challenges to Agency Field Managers after September 11 and How Interagency Cooperation and Enterprise Risk Management Need a Significant Change in Focus

By Klingler, Gary M. | The Public Manager, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

Federal Executive Boards in the Changed World: The Chairperson of the Cleveland Federal Executive Board Explores the Challenges to Agency Field Managers after September 11 and How Interagency Cooperation and Enterprise Risk Management Need a Significant Change in Focus


Klingler, Gary M., The Public Manager


Federal Executive Boards (FEBs) were established by direction of President John F. Kennedy in 1961 via an executive order. A very simple way to describe the mission of the FEBs is to say that we exist to promote a unity of purpose among federal agencies in partnership to better serve the community. To accomplish this, we basically have five mission themes: communicating, reducing costs, facilitating service delivery, partnering with community groups, and coordinating emergency services. Certainly, the focus of these efforts has changed significantly in the last two years.

Let's briefly examine each of these mission themes. FEBs inform agencies of member activities, celebrate success stories, inform the local communities of national priorities and policies, and offer an effective two-way communication network for reaching federal employees throughout the country. We bring together agencies with common goals so their efforts are complementary. We facilitate service delivery by drawing together common clients so that government services are convenient for our customers. We are challenged to partner with community groups to solve mutual problems. We are to be ready to marshal resources to the entire federal community, whether to aid a member agency in a crisis or to assist the community in a public emergency. These were our challenges prior to September 11, 2001, and they remain so today.

New Challenges

Yet today, we are faced with all of the tasks that existed prior to September 2001, as well as the potential of terrorist activities. We must be able to assess accurately the potential impact of events and implement controls to appropriately deal with these events. We must assist in the development of an incident management process and we must establish a crisis management team (CMT) that can be prepared to respond quickly in the event of a crisis.

Referring to the risk funnel in Figure 1, the arrows at the bottom represent the various events that can cause problems. The risk management and business controls that are in place are there to prevent those events from becoming an issue. In your agency, they may be your model work environment policies, peer group reviews, training, intelligence gathering, or simply effective supervision. At the FEB level, it is the collective efforts of the various agencies.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Occasionally, at any level, a few events slip through and become incidents. If your risk management and business controls are effective, the impact of these incidents will be severely limited. It is imperative that there be an incident management process in place to address these incidents effectively. Failure to handle them effectively can result in a crisis. Unfortunately, in today's world, we need to have a CMT in place as well. This is the team that must consist of a variety of experts from numerous entities who must work cooperatively to assess and resolve the crisis.

Obsolete Silos

Historically, agencies have been good about their own issues. They have planned how to deal with events and have established procedures and policies accordingly. This individual risk management procedure is obsolete. Agencies, and governments for that matter, now need to partner with others in order to prepare effectively for any possible event. …

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