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PMA

The second President’s Management Agenda pillar is “service.” We join the federal workforce to serve and the American people expect an effective service.

The public believes that the federal government serves critical roles and, in some areas, performs them well. Yet public trust in the federal government continues to decline and currently sits at near-historic lows. While the federal government’s business is to serve the American people in core mission areas, it has become too bureaucratic and complex to meet the needs of the 21st century. We must take care to ensure that existing government policies and procedures help us to better achieve the Founders’ goal of constitutional self-government.

Federal customers range from small businesses seeking loans, to families receiving disaster support, to veterans owed proper benefits and medical care. They deserve a customer experience that compares to—or exceeds—that of leading private sector organizations, yet most federal services lag behind the private sector. The Executive Branch must develop capabilities to better facilitate end-to-end customer experiences that cross agency boundaries and create faster, more convenient, and more cost-effective interactions. And we are doing just that.

One example is the Small Business Administration’s lender match tool. This online tool matches small business owners with either private sector lenders or SBA loans, helping these entrepreneurs access the capital they need to grow their business and create jobs. 

Take a look. This is the type of work that gets me excited. I spent years in the private sector working to improve services for companies like Bank of America. I entered government service so that I could use my abilities to facilitate change and innovation for the American public. These PMA initiatives represent why I am here doing what I’m doing and there is no shortage of them.

Just take a look at the General Services Administration. They are implementing an online shopping portal allowing federal agencies easier access to commercial products. The Acquisition Gateway helps federal government buyers from all agencies act as one acquisition community. The goal is to achieve acquisition excellence together. This is the modernization of services that we are pursuing.

Take a look at this video.

OPM also plays an important role in the “service” aspect of the PMA. OPM provides:

• Human resources leadership and support to federal agencies;
• Directs human resources and employee management services; 
• Administers retirement benefits;
• Manages healthcare and insurance programs;
• Oversees merit-based and inclusive hiring in the civil service; and, 
• Provides a secure employment process

As you can see, we provide a lot to agencies that allows them to do their job for the good of the country. At the end of the day, the federal government must respond to the world in which citizens live. This means delivering services in modern and responsive ways. We want the American taxpayer to be satisfied with the return on their investment. The President’s Management Agenda is committed to this goal.

If you are interested in learning more about what the PMA has accomplished, I’d encourage you take a look at my blog commemorating the Agenda’s one year anniversary.


On March 19, 2018, we began a new chapter in the story of our Government. The President’s Management Agenda (PMA) was launched with the ambitious objective of developing an effective, modern Government that is responsive and accountable to the American people. As I look back at what we have accomplished so far, I can proudly say we are on the right path.

OPM is taking this change-minded agenda and running with it. As the chief human resources agency and personnel policy manager for the Federal Government, we are in the process of laying down the groundwork that will enable us to build a 21st century workforce. Here are some terrific examples of actions taken by OPM over the previous year.

Job Candidate Assessment

OPM and U.S. Digital Services (USDS) are working with partner agencies to pilot USDS’ highly-effective approach to assessing candidates for highly technical positions, particularly IT. The approach uses a multi-hurdle process that leverages reviews and interviews subject matter experts to identify the best qualified candidates.

Delegating Direct Hire Authority

OPM is providing new Governmentwide direct hiring authorities (DHA) to help agencies meet critical hiring needs and better compete for top talent where severe shortages of candidates and/or critical hiring needs exist.

Recently, OPM provided DHA for:

  • A variety of STEM positions
  • Cybersecurity and related positions
  • Acquisitions positions
  • Various medical and public-health related positions supporting the President’s directive to combat the opioid crisis

Expect more to be done in this area in the months ahead.

Hiring Flexibility and Referral List Flexibility

We are working to alter a long-standing hiring format from “The Rule of Three” to “The Rule of Many.” OPM is proposing regulations to implement a change in law that eliminates the “Rule of Three” (which limits agencies to consider the three top-scoring candidates on a referral list and gives agencies greater authority to define the number of top-scoring candidates to consider, using a logical cut-off score or similar mechanism. The revision does not change veteran’s preference – veterans would still be granted preference points and would continue to be entitled to selection preference over a non-veteran candidate with the same or lower score.

New Pay Systems for Critical Positions

OPM is leveraging an existing statutory authority that allows for designing alternative pay and classification systems in cases where the traditional General Schedule isn’t meeting our current demands. For example, we are working with interagency partners to design and pilot an alternative system for economists, a high-demand occupation where the Government is facing hiring and retention challenges.

Deregulation through AI

Artificial intelligence will play a major role in the 21st Century Workforce. AI processing will handle thousands of pages of regulations looking for potential redundancies or out of date language. This will save time and effort in updating regulations governmentwide.

Just Getting Started

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We are also making progress in reskilling and upskilling the workforce, shifting from low-value work to high-value work, and creating countless other policy initiatives to create a more effective, efficient, and accountable Federal Government.

All of this work is geared towards Mission, Service, and Stewardship. The Workforce of the Future will be built around work that focuses on Mission and providing the greatest Service possible. This process will allow us to become greater stewards of taxpayer dollars.

This is an exciting time to be in the Federal Government. We are only celebrating the first year of this agenda. Over the months and years ahead, we will continue the transformation of our Government to meet the demands of a modern world.


This post is the first in a series of seven detailing the three pillars and three drivers of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA).

Most Americans may not think about the federal government every day—but when they need government services, they expect them to work. As the President has affirmed, “at all levels of government, our public servants put our country and our people first. The hard work of our mail carriers, teachers, firefighters, transit workers, and many more, creates an environment that allows individuals and companies to thrive.” The President’s Management Agenda (PMA) enables the government to work more effectively and efficiently to serve all Americans.

The American people count on the federal government every day —from national security to infrastructure to food and water safety—government must have clear and aligned structures that allow federal programs, staff, and agencies to deliver the outcomes the public expects.

The President’s Management Agenda lays out a long-term vision for modernizing the federal government in key areas that will improve the ability of agencies to deliver mission outcomes, provide excellent service, and effectively steward taxpayer dollars on behalf of the American people. These are the three core objectives or “pillars” of the PMA: Mission, Service, and Stewardship.

In this first blog, I want to focus on the “mission” aspect of the PMA. The President’s Management Agenda lays out a long-term vision for modernizing the federal government in key areas that will improve the ability of agencies to deliver mission outcomes. Federal agencies will modify everything they do toward accomplishing these important mission outcomes.

Public servants are accountable for mission-driven results, and therefore must also have the necessary tools and resources to deliver. The President's Management Agenda helps accomplish this mission. The government must enable senior leaders and front-line managers to align staff skills with evolving mission needs. This task is something I am heavily involved in.

Modern technology is necessary to achieve mission outcomes efficiently. By pairing the right workforce with the right tools, anything is possible.

OPM is committed to implementing the PMA to deliver on results. We are adapting the federal workforce to effectively meet mission demands and public expectations. In the end, the work of the Federal Government must be centered on its mission. Through the PMA, we can make that happen.

To learn more about the President's Management Agenda, click here.


As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends this week, I hope you take a moment to pause, reflect and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. 

This year, I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside all of you, and for the warm welcome so many have extended me this fall. I am honored to be a part of OPM and to work with and learn from such dedicated civil servants.  

Since starting at OPM, I have witnessed the hard work, integrity and commitment to mission exhibited by so many in the Federal Service – and it continues to inspire me. 

As we move forward during this period of modernization and change through the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), please know that our mission remains the same.

Our core objectives of mission, service and stewardship will continue to guide us to improve the way we serve our fellow citizens. Our vision for OPM, a vision of stability, sustainability, and service for agencies and the American people, remains constant. 

Your work is vital to the future of OPM as we continue to build a Federal workforce ready to tackle challenges and meet the demands of the 21st Century.

Thank you again for all you do in service to the American people

I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful start to this holiday season and I look forward to continue working side by side in the months ahead. 

Happy Thanksgiving!



This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Civil Service Reform Act, which was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 13, 1978 to bring more efficiency and accountability to the Federal Government.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 reorganized the Civil Service Commission, establishing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Labor Relations Authority in its place. 

The law also modernized the existing Federal personnel system by putting the merit system principles into law, laying out prohibited personnel practices, and establishing the Senior Executive Service.

Upon signing the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, President Carter stated,

Now this bill is law, but this is just the start of a continuing effort to improve the Federal Government’s services to the people.

By itself, the law will not ensure improvement in the system. It provides the tools; the will and determination must come from those who manage the Government.

Following the law’s enactment in 1978, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management assumed the role of chief human resources agency and personnel policy manager for the Federal Workforce.

OPM works with the President, Congress, key stakeholders, and agencies across the Federal Government to implement human capital policies that help Federal agencies meet their strategic goals and achieve agency results.

Today, OPM continues to advance its mission by modernizing and improving our Federal Workforce through the President’s Management Agenda.

The President’s Management Agenda was created to address 21st Century challenges throughout the Federal workforce and drive improved results across all Federal agencies by focusing on achieving mission-driven results, providing excellent service to the public and exercising effective stewardship of taxpayer funds.  

By embracing the reforms outlined by the PMA, OPM will continue to build upon the mission outlined by the Civil Service Reform Act, making our government more efficient, effective and accountable to the American people. 

To learn more, check out this video recapping OPM's Civil Service Reform Act 40th Anniversary event. 


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