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News Release

Thursday, April 29, 2004
Contact: Chad Cowan
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James Speaks to Management Leadership Meeting in Texas

Emphasizes role of leadership in post-September 11 world

Dallas, TX - U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James said that the events of September 11, 2001 altered the course of world history and historians will ultimately label that horrific day a "defining moment" for this nation. Addressing 2,000 attendees at the Christian Management Association Annual Leadership Meeting in Dallas, Texas, James highlighted the importance of leadership and management, particularly in these challenging times.

"Today, Americans identify Pearl Harbor as an instance where the bright beacon of American democracy prevailed over the impending Axis forces of totalitarianism and oppression," said James. "Those terrorist attacks of September 11 have awakened in us a steely resolve to deter those who would take advantage of our openness. What may have been taken for granted on September 10 had by the morning of September 12 become a renewed appreciation of the fundamental role of American government - to protect us."

James went on to point out that the performance of the nation's civil service, particularly front-line workers, is mission-critical to the security of this nation. "History is being made every day by our public servants to secure our borders and our transportation infrastructure, to protect our information technology and economic systems, and to provide for the smooth and uninterrupted operation of government services to those who rely on them - all part of the job of protecting America," she continued.

During James' tenure at OPM she has been a partner with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to develop modern human resource systems that are both flexible and able to meet the imperatives of the Department's critical homeland security mission. James directed the restructuring of OPM from 12 stove-piped, antiquated organizations and transformed them into four central divisions to better respond to the human capital needs of the agencies and departments that comprise the Federal government. Currently, Director James and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have jointly been tasked by the U.S. Congress to revamp the personnel system at the Department of Defense.

"President Bush is the first Chief Executive with an MBA, and he created a management agenda to help his administration meet his vision of what government should be: results oriented, citizen centered, and market based," James added. "The President set the tone - to toss ‘business as usual' out the window - and develop new paradigms for the Nation's new normalcy...Those in the civil service have honored the American taxpayers by readily accepting the challenge to streamline our government, provide our customers with a five-star level of service, and honor our fighting men and women in uniform wherever they are stationed today. There can be no finer calling than to drive change and results for our Nation."

Director James is President George W. Bush's principal advisor in matters of personnel administration for the 1.8 million members of the Federal civil service, and is responsible for planning for the future needs of the Federal workforce and for helping agencies improve human resources management and human capital practices. Additionally, James is the Chairman of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, leading Human Resources (HR) executives throughout government to determine HR, contracting and sourcing policies that affect all Federal employees.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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