The Business of Government Hour


About the show

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations. Past government executives include Administrators, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Commissioners, Controllers, Directors, and Undersecretaries.

The interviews

Join the IBM Center for a weekly conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business.

Grant Green interview

Friday, May 9th, 2003 - 20:00
Grant Green
Radio show date: 
Sat, 05/10/2003
Intro text: 
Grant Green


Complete transcript: 

Arlington, Virginia

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, the co-chairman of The IBM Endowment for The Business of Government. We created The Endowment in 1998 to encourage discussion and research into new approaches to improve government effectiveness. Find out more about The Endowment by visiting us on the web at

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. Our conversation this morning is with Grant Green. Grant is the Under Secretary for Management in the U.S. Department of State.

Good morning, Grant.

Mr. Green: Good morning, Paul.

Mr. Lawrence: And joining us on our conversation is Patti Fisher.

Good morning, Patti.

Ms. Fisher: Good morning, Paul.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, Grant, as some context setting, perhaps you could give us an overview of the mission and the activities of the Department of State.

Mr. Green: Essentially, our role is to support the Secretary of State in his role as the President's senior foreign policy advisor. And our embassies abroad are the eyes and ears of the government around the globe as well as our principal interlocutor with foreign governments. We do this here in Washington, where we interact with essentially every federal agency having international programs, and at over 260 American diplomatic and consular posts around the world. Through its global expertise, the Department brings both coherence and really a synthesis to the many and sometimes competing national interests that we have that impact foreign affairs. And that is something that really no other federal agency can do.

Mr. Lawrence: How big is the Department, and what type people work there, and how many are in the United States versus out of the United States?

Mr. Green: We're one of the smaller federal agencies. We have a total workforce of about 17,500 Americans worldwide; of whom slightly over 6,000 work overseas. But in addition, we have almost 30,000 foreign national employees or contractors that work at our embassies and consulates around the world.

Ms. Fisher: As Under Secretary for Management, Grant, what are your responsibilities?

Mr. Green: I guess you could say that I'm responsible for the infrastructure that supports the Department's ability to carry out its mission both at home and abroad. My specific areas of responsibility include: all people activities/human resources, and that encompasses both recruiting, retention, training, medical support, and all the morale, welfare, and recreation activities that we're involved in; it involves our activities concerning the information technology infrastructure; financial management; administration, which also includes logistics; it includes consular affairs; diplomatic security; and last, but certainly not least, all of our facilities both here and abroad.

It may interest your listeners, I'm sure, to know that these areas of the Department's activities don't operate in a vacuum, though, and -- meaning they're not separated from the political, economic, and global concerns and activities of the Department. In fact, every evening, the Secretary, the Deputy, Rich Armitage, the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman, and I meet to review the activities of the day, to make sure that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing and that all things are sort of knitted up as we proceed into the next day.

Ms. Fisher: Before getting to that level of responsibility, you must have had a rich career prior to joining The Department of State. Could you tell me a little bit about that?

Mr. Green: Well, I don't know how rich it was. I started off upon graduation from college entering the Army, and I spent nearly 23 years in the Army. I retired in 1983, and I went with who -- an individual who I was then working for at the Department of Defense, Frank Carlucci, to a venture called Sears World Trade, which was a part of the Sears Roebuck Company. We did that for about 4 years, following which, I went with Frank to the White House when he was asked to be the national security advisor. I became the executive secretary of the National Security Council, and we recruited a young lieutenant general from Germany named Colin Powell to be the deputy national security advisor. I subsequently went with Frank to the Defense Department, where I was an assistant secretary, dealing with many of the same issues that I deal with at the State Department.

At the end of the Reagan Administration, I went back into the private sector. Most recently, I started a marketing consulting company in Alexandria. And I was living the happy life until Colin Powell called and asked if I would help with the transition in the State Department. And I agreed to do that and subsequently took on my current responsibilities.

Mr. Lawrence: You've held executive positions in both the public and private sector. How do you compare the sectors in terms of the management challenges?

Mr. Green: Well, I think, you know, the most obvious differences are namely the absence in the public sector of the bottom line as the ultimate discipline. I think most of the other management challenges are fairly similar. Both sectors need to motivate employees. And while money isn't always the best way to do that, you can be sure that failure to provide competitive compensation is a surefire way to lose good employees.

I think both the strategic and tactical alliances are important in both sectors to achieve a wide variety of goals. And I think the skills to be successful are pretty much the same inside and outside of government. I think, first of all, and the Secretary has emphasized this as his number one priority, you've got to take care of people. And I think you have to do that in the public sector as well as the private sector. You have to maintain a sense of integrity and you have to be loyal up, down, and sideways, I think.

I think, you know, the issues in government are, I think, more far-reaching and have greater implication for our country. But I think the differences are less than what a lot of people might think, certainly as far as management goes.

Mr. Lawrence: How about in terms of differences with the Department of Defense? I mean, you've been an assistant secretary there, in terms of comparing, say, Defense with State.

Mr. Green: Well, first of all, there's just the sheer size of the Defense Department. But keying off what I said earlier about the similarities between the public and private sectors in terms of what good management looks like, I think the same pretty much applies within State and Defense. I think Defense has a considerable edge in a couple areas. When it comes to certain business practices, they're much more able to quantify many of the indicators, some of the performance indicators. They're more data driven, I think, than we are. State pursues a myriad of goals, especially in the political arena, that are considerably fuzzier and harder to measure than the things Defense deal with.

But I think also, a significant difference is that Defense has a natural constituency. Very frankly, they create jobs. It's much less clear what our constituency is, and it's only where we have people around the country, within the Congress, who understand well what we do where we are able to begin to create the constituency that we need to support our programs.

Mr. Lawrence: I'm guessing when you were at the Department of Defense, you might have had some perceptions about the Department of State. And now that you're there, I wonder how those compare.

Mr. Green: Well, I -- you know, it's -- when you're wearing one hat, it's kind of unfair to ask about the other. I, very frankly, didn't pay a lot of attention to what State was doing when I was at the Defense Department. My job in dealing with manpower issues, force structure issues, kept me pretty occupied.

I got a much better sense when I was with the National Security Council what the State Department did, and the important role that they played in the coordination of and the formulation of our foreign policy. We obviously -- our role at the NSC was to create a consensus. And much of the time and much of our effort was spent doing that and ensuring that whatever recommendations went forward to the President, everybody had had their day in court, whether it be Defense, State, the Agency, or any other department or agency that had a role in that particular national security/foreign affairs issue.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, I think Patti is right, you have had a rich career. And I'm curious: as you reflect on it, is there any one position or one challenge that you look back at and say was key in terms of, you know, preparing you for where you are now?

Mr. Green: I don't think so. I think that, you know, I can look back on my career or careers, and I learned from all of them, whether it be the public sector or the private sector. I had a wonderful experience in the Army, which I wouldn't trade for anything. I think it teaches people at a young -- who are beginning and young in their life to -- how to deal with people. You get a lot of responsibility early on in your career, which certainly helps in later years.

But in the private sector, when -- my first experience there, we were thrown into a situation where we were creating a new company. And the experiences in developing that and seeing it go forward were invaluable to me. Subsequently, my experience at DoD in the manpower/force structure area also contributed greatly to what I'm doing now.

We're very fortunate in that we have a Secretary that cares deeply about management issues within the Department. His focus is just not on -- solely on foreign affairs. He is, as he said on day one when he walked into the building, he said I'm not only the President's senior foreign policy advisor, but I'm the CEO of the Department of State and I will lead and manage that. And we're very lucky that we have a Secretary and a Deputy that feel that way.

Mr. Lawrence: Great, and that's a good stopping point.

Come back in a few minutes as we continue our conversation with Grant Green of the State Department. Most are familiar with E-government, but what's E-diplomacy? We'll ask Grant to tell us more about this when The Business of Government Hour continues.


Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour . I'm Paul Lawrence, and today's conversation is with Grant Green. Grant's the Under Secretary for Management in the U.S. Department of State.

And joining us in our conversation is Patti Fisher.

Ms. Fisher: Grant, we know that the Department has been working to align information technology planning with budget decision-making as part of its E-government strategy for the President's management agenda. Can you tell us more about the plans that were put in place in this area?

Mr. Green: Sure, Patti. The Department has in place a process for selecting, reviewing, and controlling our entire IT investment portfolio. Over the last year, we've strengthened that process and worked to ensure that the investment decisions are also aligned with the President's management agenda. The Department's most senior management oversees this process with a goal of seeing the Department gets the most out of its IT investment. And while the process is not perfect, there are more improvements coming this year.

Mr. Lawrence: What's the Department's role in OMB's 24 E-government initiatives?

Mr. Green: We are a partner in the E-benefits initiative, and we're getting involved in others, such as those focused on payrolling and authentications. We strongly support the basic goal of all these projects, and that is to use technology to simplify and unify and improve government services for our people and for all Americans.

Ms. Fisher: You've talked about implementing E-diplomacy throughout the Department. How do you define the concept of E-diplomacy? What are the objectives of it?

Mr. Green: We want to put the right technology and the best possible knowledge about diplomatic issues at the fingertips of all our users: those who conduct American foreign policy, all the way from the Secretary of State to the junior officer who has to make very quick decisions on whether or not to grant a visa. The objective is faster, smarter, simpler, and more effective diplomacy at every level.

Mr. Lawrence: In terms of E-diplomacy, how are you thinking about the trade-off between the speed at which to do something and the need for privacy and security and just sort of control of the information?

Mr. Green: We've made some major improvements in the last 2 years. I think by the end of '03, all of our overseas posts and domestic uses will be connected by modern, highly efficient classified and unclassified networks. We also have a program of regular upgrades to all of our desktop workstations, and we're expanding State's connectivity to other government agencies.

The immediate payoffs will be improved screening of visa applicants and a more robust use of the web to share information across the government, including with law enforcement and the border security agencies. I think we're reasonably confident that the results will be improved homeland security, something all of us certainly strive for.

E-diplomacy is also developing systematic efforts to make better use of the vast knowledge and experience of the Department and its people.

Ms. Fisher: Another segment of the PMA, the President's management agenda, is improved financial management. Can you tell us about State's new activities in this area?

Mr. Green: One of the first things that we did when we came into the Department was recognize that we had to make two major organizational changes, and one of those was reorganizing the Department's fiscal budget and planning activities under a single new bureau, which we call the Bureau of Resource Management. Heretofore, the planning and budgeting of the Department had been handled in various offices reporting to different people. And we filled a need to centralize and consolidate all of that, because, in reality, we had no planning and budgeting system.

Incidentally, as a result of this reorganization, we recently received our fifth consecutive unqualified opinion on our agency-wide statements and our accountability report for Fiscal 2001. And we were awarded the Association of Government Accountants' prestigious Certificate of Excellence for Accountability Reporting award. Also, we're now implementing the new regional financial management system that replaces two antiquated overseas financial systems. And so far, they've converted 54 new posts to this system.

Lastly, I think we made a good start on centralizing and reengineering our financial operations. When complete in 2006, we will have established a world-class, worldwide financial services delivery organization at our Charleston, South Carolina, facility, bringing over 75 jobs back to the U.S. and eliminating about 100 overseas positions.

Mr. Lawrence: Let me continue on by talking about some human resource challenges. We know the Department has begun a diplomatic readiness hiring initiative to respond to its human resources need. Can you tell us about those initiatives and what results you've seen so far?

Mr. Green: The diplomatic readiness initiative, I call it recruiting, is focused on both our foreign and civil service workforces, and it has been a tremendous success this last year. This initiative is the way we're trying to fill the Secretary's goal of getting the right people with the right skills in the right job at the right time. For Fiscal Year 2002, we hired 910 new foreign service employees above our attrition level. 360 of those were foreign service generalists destined to become part of our managerial core of the future, and the rest are specialists of one kind or another, but primarily in the security and consular areas.

We increased from 8,000 in Fiscal 2000 to 31,000 in Fiscal 2002 the numbers of people taking the foreign service exam, by increasing our outreach to ensure that we had the widest possible talent pool to support additional hiring. We also, incidentally, increased minority interest, as evidenced by minority exam takers. In November 2000, 27 percent of the exam takers were minorities. Thanks to targeted outreach, in September 2002, 36 percent of the exam takers were minorities. It's been a tremendous success. And I think we can attribute it to a lot of hard work, but also paying attention to people and also shortening the time that it takes to bring a person on board: from 24 to 27 months when we arrived, we're now down to 8 to 10 months before we can offer a person a job.

The diplomatic readiness initiative is the basis for all our human capital plans. It's about reforming our recruiting and hiring to become the employer of choice, and about ensuring that we have the staff we need to carry out our missions successfully.

Ms. Fisher: How does the recruiting initiative fit into the Department's overall human capital strategy?

Mr. Green: Since the end of the Cold War, international affairs have become far more complex and more challenging, and certainly more extensive. State needs additional staff to ensure that we can respond to the emerging priorities and crises and manage the day-to-day diplomatic relations and still be able to release employees to receive needed training. We have also launched a mandatory leadership and management initiative to train all mid-level managers, and we're gradually increasing the requirement for mandatory training across other areas.

We have to increase the work we do on workforce planning. And we're now in the process of developing a new domestic staffing model to complement our existing overseas staffing model, which is absolutely essential as we go to OMB and the Congress and justify our personnel requirements.

Mr. Lawrence: You indicated when you were talking about human capital that the mid-level managers were getting different training or more training. Could you talk a little bit about that?

Mr. Green: Yeah. We started -- I've got to say training was not something the State Department held as a high priority, for a couple reasons. One, people saw no benefit in either assignments or promotions by going to training. Also, because we were short so many people, there was this tremendous pull from the field and from bureaus to have people yesterday. So we couldn't afford to send people, in many cases, to training. That was the wrong approach. And the Secretary's philosophy is very much like mine, or mine like his, I should say, in that we can afford to have people go on leave, we can afford to have people out sick, but we can't afford to send people to a week or two of training. It made no sense.

Also, it's unfortunate, but the organization of the State Department is not one that provides a lot of management and leadership opportunities for people. It's just not the way the Department is built. Until you go overseas as administrative officer or as a deputy chief of mission, you don't have a lot of opportunities to lead and manage people. So we believe that starting at the junior level and progressing through mid-level, and even our senior level, that we needed to place much more emphasis on all training, but specifically on leadership and management training, so at least there was a classroom basis, an academic basis for people going into these new responsibilities.

We're also creating a new course in March, which we call a threshold course. It'll be several weeks long, and it will be mandatory for all officers being promoted into the senior foreign service. And they will have to attend this course within the first year of promotion.

Mr. Lawrence: It's a good stopping point. Stick with us through the break as we continue talking about management with Grant Green of the State Department.

This is The Business of Government Hour .


Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour . I'm Paul Lawrence, and today's conversation is with Grant Green. Grant's the Under Secretary for Management in the U.S. Department of State.

And joining us in our conversation is Patti Fisher.

Well, Grant, I'm curious. In the last segment, you were talking about the increased hiring the Department's doing. I'm wondering if you could contrast, say, who and the types of people who used to be hired versus the kind of skills you're using now.

Mr. Green: Paul, let me start out by saying a couple years ago, we ran the various models and we determined that we were about 1,200 people short. These are individuals, both faces and spaces. And also, we determined that our hiring had sort of a generalist trend to it, although it was much more difficult to recruit officers with certain skills. Some of the technical skills were difficult to recruit. Within the foreign service generalist community, we found that admin officers were more difficult to recruit than were political officers, as an example.

So we've refocused our recruiting efforts; the universities that we send diplomats-in-residence to to help with our recruiting, so that we focus now not on just political and econ officers, which in the past were easier to attract because of our mission, but also now on consular officers, admin officers, and public diplomacy officers. So we've fine-tuned our recruiting to go after those individuals who we believe, by virtue of where they may be attending school, will have an interest in a particular cone or skill within the Department.

Ms. Fisher: Grant, you mentioned that the speed of bringing these new people on board has improved. Gosh, I think you said more than 50 percent. But it still must have a lot of complexities in terms of bringing them on board, and that's why that it's still taking eight months. Is that a fair statement?

Mr. Green: Oh, I think it's a fair statement. When we got here a couple years ago, the norm for bringing on a foreign service generalist was 24 to 27 months. That was based on a number of factors, not the least of which was just paying more attention to it, but it was also based on the time it took to get a security clearance and a medical clearance. We've been able, through some initiatives we've taken, to include offering the written exam more frequently, offering the oral exam more frequently, and expediting and modifying the way that we begin the security clearance and the medical clearance, which now begin in parallel with the person completing the oral exam. We've been able to reduce that whole process down to approximately 8 to 10 months. It still is a long time, but the background investigations will often take that amount of time to do.

And so we want to ensure that we don't make a mistake, but it's a considerable reduction in the time. And during this process, in addition, rather than kind of leaving the person out there hanging and not knowing what's happening or what their status is -- because many of them need to work, and if we don't act like we care, if we don't pay attention to them, if we don't stay in communication with them, they're going to find other things to do. And we don't want them to do that.

Mr. Lawrence: Let me shift to another part of the President's management agenda, which is competitive sourcing. What are the Department's plans in the area of competitive sourcing?

Mr. Green: Well, we've come up with a comprehensive plan for implementing competitive sourcing, and it was approved by OMB earlier this year. We've revised our regulations on this subject. We've assigned responsibilities and identified activities to be studied. Some of them are warehousing architect/engineering services, and printing and reproduction services. And these studies are currently getting underway now. We intend to use our new domestic staffing model to help us identify additional areas that may be ripe for competitive sourcing in the future.

Mr. Lawrence: What steps is the Department taking to work with labor groups in regards to competitive sourcing?

Mr. Green: Well, we've obviously kept the unions informed of our plans regarding competitive sourcing. And we've also issued department notices in a worldwide telegram on our competitive sourcing plans, but only after we've consulted very completely and thoroughly with the unions.

Ms. Fisher: Another PMA program initiative has been right-sizing the government's overseas presence. We know the Department has been working with OMB on that. What's the status of that initiative?

Mr. Green: OMB, which is leading this initiative government-wide, is collating essentially all the responses to a questionnaire that circulated to our European and Eurasian posts late this summer. Based on those results, I think OMB plans to develop a methodology for right-sizing. And realize that right-sizing doesn't necessarily mean downsizing. It may mean downsizing at some posts and increasing the number of people at other posts.

Beginning with the Fiscal '04 budget cycle, OMB requires agencies to submit data on overseas staffing and costs as part of their budget proposals. Previously, it was often difficult to break out this information in an agency budget request. But OMB is reviewing cost-sharing proposals to cover construction and maintenance costs of overseas, domestic, and diplomatic facilities to better attribute those costs to agencies generating them. Currently, State pays that bill, but we believe with cost-sharing, as agencies realize they're going to have to pay for part of new construction or pay a cost of occupying an existing facility, that they will more carefully look at the numbers of people that they have to put overseas.

For our part, we continue our long-standing right-sizing efforts through tools such as our overseas and domestic staffing models, and a very rigorous central budgeting and planning process for personnel; mission-related strategic planning and budgeting; and we've also got a major effort underway to regionalize in centers abroad as well as domestically.

Mr. Lawrence: Let me ask you a question for clarification. You talked about different agencies being involved overseas. What type of agencies would be involved?

Mr. Green: I think there are many. We have as many as 40 different agencies housed with us at different posts overseas, and they range all the way from the obvious -- the Department of Defense -- to Justice Department entities -- DEA, the FBI -- to the Centers for Disease Control. As our interests overseas shift and we become more focused on terrorism, on the anti-drug efforts, on health issues, the mix of those overseas changes dramatically.

Mr. Lawrence: What are the challenges for having so many different types of groups with presences outside our country?

Mr. Green: Well, the challenge obviously is for the chief of mission to -- who has responsibility for overseeing and controlling and monitoring all these people, and it becomes very complex, but that's a role he or she has been given by the President. There are many different department cultures involved, obviously. But I find, at least in my visits, that most of them have been at representative posts for a considerable period of time and that they're fairly well integrated into the operations of the post. They have obviously their own missions to accomplish, but it's all under the oversight and supervision of the ambassador, the chief of mission.

Mr. Lawrence: Maybe this will help me understand then. Can you tell us about the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services, or ICASS?

Mr. Green: ICASS is a shared administrative support system through which more than 250 government entities, representing over 30 separate agencies at our overseas posts, obtain and share in the cost of receiving essential support services. For example, financial and personal management services, medical care, or logistic support, ICASS distributes the cost of delivering the service among all the users at the post according to their level of consumption. This helps ensure that a more comprehensive estimate of the cost of each agency's presence overseas is reflected in their budget. ICASS services are currently provided at more than 160 U.S. missions around the world.

Now we are -- the State Department is the primary service provider at ICASS, and also, we're the biggest consumer of ICASS services. ICASS is governed by a 14-member executive board composed of assistant secretary level representatives from the largest customer agencies. ICASS also provides information to the chief of mission on the impact that agency requests for new positions will have. In other words, if DEA wants to bring in five new people, that's going to have an impact on certain support services. It may be motor pool services, it may be administrative services. When a chief of mission gets that sort of request, he or she then has to figure the amount of additional support that may be needed.

Mr. Lawrence: It's a good stopping point. Come back with us in a few minutes as we continue talking about management with Grant Green of the State Department.

How does better management of the Department improve foreign relations? We'll ask Grant when The Business of Government Hour returns.


Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour . I'm Paul Lawrence, and today's conversation is with Grant Green. Grant's the Under Secretary for Management in the U.S. Department of State.

And joining us in our conversation is Patti Fisher.

Ms. Fisher: Going forward, Grant, how will you measure the success of the Department's human capital planning efforts?

Mr. Green: Well, Patti, I think in the final analysis, full implementation of the 3-year diplomatic readiness initiative, our recruiting initiative, will ensure that we're able to meet the full range of policy challenges in international affairs. I think this is hard to measure directly, but we expect to see increased training hours, more language skills, increased diversity in hiring. We want the State Department to look like America. We want fewer staffing gaps where people are not able to get to a post for a certain reason, especially at a hardship post. It'll allow us to fill more positions so we have fewer vacancies. We'll have increased, we believe at least, increased employee satisfaction due to better and more training, and better staff morale as employees aren't stretched as thin as they've been in the past.

Mr. Lawrence: What are the challenges that still lie ahead for electronically connecting the entire department?

Mr. Green: Well, we're developing some new and what I think are very exciting systems for messaging: access to State and open source knowledge bases and collaboration. For example, our new messaging tools will replace our current cable and E-mail system with a unified E-mail-based system to communicate and retrieve information. And I think there are three important continuing challenges in this area.

One is to ensure that our users have the information, the resources they need, while at the same time, we're safeguarding and securing sensitive information. Second, we have to be able to provide adequate bandwidth for increased use of our web-based applications. And third, we need to maintain adequate funding to complete our current programs, such as expansion of our classified networks, and to continue our technology advances. And contrary to what may have been done in the past, there is now a very strong emphasis on what the user needs as opposed to letting technology drive these solutions.

Mr. Lawrence: An Endowment report earlier this year by Barry Fulton looked at technological innovations in the Department. What's impressed you as an innovative use of technology in diplomacy?

Mr. Green: Well, I think the Secretary, when he first arrived, laid out four management priorities: people, security, facilities, and the IT infrastructure. I think his commitment to upgrading IT at the Department is paying off. And indeed, I think we're moving from a laggard to a leader in the international affairs community.

Barry's report illustrated the range of IT innovations throughout the Department, most of which were developed by bureaus and officers to support the conduct of diplomacy. I think we're well on our way to completing deployment of two enterprise-wide systems to increase connectivity among our 260-or-so overseas locations: one system operating the classified level, and we now have about half of all our posts covered; and the other to provide reliable Internet connectivity, and on this we now have about 26,000 people out of a total 40,000 connected.

Furthermore, we're on-target to introduce an innovative system. We call it SMARt. It's State Messaging, Archiving, and Retrieval, which will set a new standard for connectivity and collaboration among our people. Our new office of E-diplomacy is organized to ensure that IT deployment supports business practices and users' needs, as I mentioned before, as opposed to those of the technologists. Along with the Secretary's commitment to building systems that are smart, simple, and secure, the conduct of diplomacy is being enhanced.

Ms. Fisher: What's your vision for the Department over the next 5 to 10 years?

Mr. Green: I don't know if I can go out 10 years. I think, first, I see a department where a historical disconnect between what we call the politics and management sides of the house no longer exists. I think the team on which I now serve has made a good start in that direction, as I noted in my answer to one of the earlier questions. I also believe the Department of the future will need to harness technology, especially in the IT area, better than we do now, to facilitate our business practices, and probably most importantly, how we deal with what I would call our business partners: the other federal agencies, foreign governments, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations.

Lastly, I firmly believe that one of the best ways to achieve such a vision is to implement the initiative of the President's management agenda, a solid, common sense, nonpartisan approach to making government as a whole managed more effectively and more efficiently.

Ms. Fisher: In your view, what ways does better management within the Department improve foreign policy?

Mr. Green: Well, I think managing our business, like everything else, depends mightily on knowledge and communication. To the extent that we can improve those basic elements: to make them more efficient, to make them more effective, to make them faster and better, we can carry out our mission better. And while foreign affairs is a very specialized area requiring its own special skills and talents, it is not really that much different from other areas of endeavor when it comes to these basics.

Mr. Lawrence: You mentioned this in your answer to an earlier question about working with others who are involved in foreign affairs. How do you see State working with all the other departments and agencies, and even the NGOs?

Mr. Green: Well, I think the short answer, especially after September 11th, is that we have to work together more closely in ways that are better, smarter, and faster. That requires some obvious changes in the E-government area, which we discussed, but also some serious changes in bureaucratic cultures. We simply can no longer afford the turf wars of the past, wasteful practices that squander public funds, or government-funded programs and activities overseas that either run counter to our broader U.S. national interests or fail to advance the national agenda in serious ways.

I think that's where our ambassadors come in as the senior U.S. Government Executive Branch managers overseas. They're, in title and in reality, the personal representatives of the President. And as such, they're in charge. So basically, I see the Department working even more closely with other foreign affairs agencies than maybe we have in the past, and doing so in ways that flow from the Secretary's role as the principal foreign policy advisor to the President.

Mr. Lawrence: Upon reflection, what advice would you give to a young person considering a career in public service, perhaps even at the Department of State?

Mr. Green: I would just say just do it. One of the ads we've used in recruiting for the State Department has the Secretary offering potential employees, and I quote, "the best job in the world." I really believe that's true. And public service in general still, I think, has great appeal, because one can make a great difference over the course of their career. And -- well, I say this today, I would prefer that young people consider the State Department before other federal agencies, but that being said, I think you ought to go where your heart takes you and where your interests are. There are many fine agencies and there's much work to do within the federal government.

Again, I'd love to see young people all come to the State Department, so let me close by giving our website to all the listeners, So come on.

Mr. Lawrence: That's a great ending point. Thank you, Grant, for being with us this morning. I'm afraid we're out of time.

Mr. Green: My pleasure, Paul, Patti.

Ms. Fisher: Thank you.

Mr. Lawrence: And once again, do you want to say the website for people who are --

Mr. Green:

Mr. Lawrence: This has been The Business of Government Hour , featuring a conversation with Grant Green. Grant's the Under Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of State.

Be sure and visit us on the web at There, you can learn more about our programs and research into new approaches to improving government effectiveness. You can also get a transcript of today's very interesting conversation. Once again, that's

This is Paul Lawrence. Thank you for listening.

Grant Green interview
Grant Green

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Michael Keegan
IBM Center for The Business of Government
Leadership Fellow & Host, The Business of Government Hour

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David Grant
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Former Associate Administrator
Professor Jim Hendler
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Director, Institute for Data Exploration and Applications and Tetherless World Chair of Computer, Web and Cognitive Sciences, Computer Science
Commander Eric Popiel
U.S. Coast Guard
Program Manager for the Evergreen Program

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Vice Admiral Raquel Bono
Director, Defense Health Agency
United States Navy