In his keynote speech, Lynn outlines four major constraints that the U.S. Government faces, and two potential solutions to help streamlines its effectiveness. 

The challenges we face

ARLINGTON, VA, January 24, 2013 -- As highly innovative as the United States government can be, we can all agree that it does not operate at peak efficiency — especially when measured by business standards. However, it is important to remember that the government faces constraints that businesses do not:

            • Size. If the government were a company, it would be roughly equal to 15 General Electrics. It would have ground assets, physical infrastructure and business interests on all seven continents, and be informed by the CIA, the NSA and others. With a vast number of responsibilities across the world, consolidation is not always feasible.

            • Congress. The Executive Branch and Congress have a unique relationship. While Congress supports reform in general, it often opposes its specific applications because of the effect on a member’s constituents. 

            • Compensation. The employment model emphasizes job stability, longevity and benefits rather than high pay. This results in a slow job path up a broken promotional ladder, hindering the government’s ability to attract the best and the brightest.

            • Metrics. How do you precisely measure security? The quality of healthcare? Or education? Productivity tools, measurements and processes are difficult to implement across a vast entity.

To these unique government limitations, Bill offers two important insights and solutions. First, the government must prioritize its employees, who are less interested in job stability or longevity. Instead they must encourage skill-building and training, and foster rapid advancement to promote a healthy degree of turnover. Time in government service should increasingly be viewed as a stop on the path of a long and great career, whether in the sciences, trades or services.

Second, the relationship between the Executive Branch and Congress must be fixed to more efficiently convert general goals and objectives into measurable outcomes and plans. It would be in the interests of both the Executive Branch and Congress to find bi-partisan mechanisms to side-step gridlock and force solutions to nettlesome and sometimes political issues.

To get the rest of the story, read the full CSIS Report: Forum on Innovation for Government Effectiveness