The Business of Government Hour


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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.

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Thomas H. Fox interview

Monday, November 29th, 1999 - 20:00
Thomas H. Fox
Radio show date: 
Wed, 05/03/2000
Intro text: 
Thomas H. Fox
Magazine profile: 
Complete transcript: 

Arlington, Virginia

Wednesday, May 3, 2000

Mr. Lawrence: Good evening, and welcome to the Business of Government Hour, conversations with government leaders. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers and the co-chair of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for the Business of Government. The Endowment was created in 1998 to encourage discussion and research into new approaches to improving government effectiveness. Find out more about the endowment by visiting us on the Web at

The Business of Government Hour focuses on outstanding government executives who are changing the way government does business. Our guest tonight is Tom Fox, Assistant Administrator for Policy and Program Coordination at the US Agency for International Development. Welcome, Tom.

Mr. Fox: Thank you, I'm glad to be here.

Mr. Lawrence: And joining me is Kevin Bacon, also a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Welcome, Kevin.

Mr. Bacon: Thanks, Paul.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, Tom, in this first segment perhaps you could tell us a little bit about USAID. We know that it administers economic and humanitarian aid worldwide, but what else goes on at the agency?

Mr. Fox: USAID is the principal vehicle by which we deliver what is commonly called foreign aid, particularly the foreign aid that we administer as a government rather than through international organizations like the World Bank or the United Nations institutions. USAID administers about two-thirds of our total foreign aid program.

We work in most of the developing countries in the world, often with in-country staff. We are also responsible for activities that we carry out after discussions with local governments and with other elements of the private sector.

We are always trying to support programs that are going to lead to a better life and economic growth for the people, and for the country overall. One, that means the best combination of supporting the development of open government, open-society, promotion of democracy, and so forth. Second, we support an educational system to promote human capacity including training, development, health, the stability of the environment, the protection of the environment, and the general economic growth of the country itself, which includes agriculture as well as other forms of economic growth. Third, we administer a very substantial program of humanitarian assistance and disaster assistance. That's more short term in its focus than the longer-term development focus that I was describing.

Mr. Bacon: About how big is the budget for AID and for foreign aid in general? I think a lot of people are not really very clear on that subject.

Mr. Fox: The overall foreign aid budget of the government is somewhere around $10 billion a year. That's a bit less than 1 percent of the federal budget, which is dramatically less than most people think it is.

Mr. Bacon: Yes, I think so.

Mr. Fox: We administer almost seven billion of that ourselves. As I said, the rest of it is administered through most of the multilateral and international development organizations like the United Nations Development Program or the UN, UNICEF, and the World Bank.

Mr. Lawrence: Can you tell us about your career and how it prepared you for this position?

Mr. Fox: I've been involved in developing countries for thirty-five years. I started as a staff person for the Peace Corps back in 1965. At the time, I was a teacher supporting Peace Corps volunteers who were teaching for the first time. I then just got caught up in the general challenge of developing countries and decided that I wanted to commit myself to that, and not go back to my teaching career, which is what I'd originally planned to do. So I worked for the Peace Corps for seven years overseas, mostly in Africa.

Returning to Washington, I worked for a nonprofit that works in developing countries called Volunteers in Technical Assistance. I worked there for about six years, and I ran the program for the last five of those years. Then I was with AID for about four years as director of its office working with nonprofit organizations like CARE and Save the Children. Returning to the private sector, I worked for the Council on Foundations where I was vice president for their international programs and activities supporting grant- making foundations that were involved internationally (obviously my focus was on what they might do in developing countries, but there were other things, too.) And then I was vice president of the World Resources Institute for the last ten years before I came to AID. WRI is a policy research organization that specializes in the relationship between economic and environmental questions, and I was the vice president for developing countries.

In all these cases, I had a fair amount of association not only with developing countries but also with AID itself. In particular the last four years before I came to AID, I was chairman of an advisory committee that advises AID on its relationship with the international not-for-profit organizations and universities, so I had a lot of association with AID in that capacity, too. I came to AID in December of 1997.

Mr. Bacon: Well, tell us a little bit about what you're doing now at AID and how all of this thirty years of experience maps into what you're trying to work on now with the agency.

Mr. Fox: Good. The bureau that I direct, Policy and Program Coordination serves an overarching function for the agency. We try to fill in holes and interpret policy when there is some ambiguity about what our policy is or should be. That's certainly a function.

We also try to relate policy questions with administrative questions. That's called operational policy — how we can do our business better, how we can do our programming better — and that's been a major part of what we've done in my two and a half years.

We're also the center of the agency's performance measurement, monitoring, and evaluations. We carry out a lot of crosscutting evaluations of what the agency does. And then, finally, it's in our bureau that our relationship with other development agencies takes place, including, mostly, the foreign aid programs of other countries, but also the UN agencies and the World Bank.

Mr. Lawrence: You have a lot of experience in the nonprofit world so I'm wondering what are the differences between being a manager and a leader in the nonprofit setting versus in the government?

Mr. Fox: Well, how much time do we have? There's a dramatic difference. The government, first of all, is huge, and for any part of the government to function effectively it really has to interact with many other parts of the government, so the complexity of management is dramatically different from anything that you have in a 100-staff organization, which is what I'm used to. So the complexity and the consensus-building process, the stakeholder stroking, all that range of questions that have to do not only with a relationship with the Congress but also with other parts of the Executive Branch. It's a dramatically more complex, much more time-consuming, much more inefficient means of management than in the not-for-profit sector; that is, it has far fewer of those kinds of constraints and certainly not the same kind of complexity.

Also, the government just by the way it was set up initially by our founding fathers puts an enormous amount of protection into the way we spend money and make decisions so that there's the least possible chance of fraud or corruption or tyranny, which was their original focus. And all of that in turn means that it's harder to do something, to work through that. It's appropriate that the protections be there, but there are also, of course, costs in terms of what we call efficiency.

So I would say that it's the combination of those two things that makes it dramatically more complicated to manage in the government than in the private sector or certainly in the not-for-profit sector and I think in the private sector as well.

Mr. Bacon: Well, one other topic maybe just in terms of setting the context for the challenges you deal at AID is how has the agency changed as the Cold War ended and we moved into the last decade? Thirty or forty years of post-World War II foreign policy environment has changed. What have been the big challenges from the point of view of AID in the past few years that you've migrated from a kind of Cold War era to where we are today?

Mr. Fox: Well, there are two. One has to do with the view of AID in the world and the second has to do with the program itself. Going to the latter one first, we now have a substantial program in the countries of the former Soviet Union and of the former Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe with a particular focus on assisting in opening markets and opening societies and governments. So that's been a huge major addition to the program. Secondly, the rationale for a foreign aid program is dramatically different. It used to be couched in Cold War terms. It no longer is. There's not a replacement vision that everybody accepts.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, great. And it's time for a break. We’ll be right back with more of The Business of Government Hour (Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to the Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers, and tonight's conversation is with Tom Fox, Assistant Administrator for Policy and Program Coordination at the US Agency for International Development, and joining me is Kevin Bacon.

Well, Tom, just before we went to commercial we were talking about the changes that have taken place over the last half-century at USAID. Anything else you want to add on that?

Mr. Fox: Sure. The foreign aid program was initiated way back in the 1940s. It was a Point Four program in Harry Truman's Inaugural Address in 1949, but it really got its greatest momentum at the very beginning of the Kennedy Administration and was clearly a part of our overall Cold War strategy. We were trying to support the aspirations and the needs of developing countries in large part to make sure that they stuck with us and didn't join with the Soviet Union in what was then such a global competition. That unifying thread brought together all the various people that looked at foreign aid from their various vantage points, and it always provided the cover and the political support for the foreign aid program.

Since the Cold War ended that overarching rationale for a foreign aid program that everybody accepted no longer exists, and it's therefore a much more complicated story. Some people support foreign assistance, foreign aid, because it is the right thing to do. It reflects our values, the generosity of the American people, and it's another form of leadership. That's a powerful motivation for some. For others it is clearly related to helping developing countries advance to the point where they will be effective partners with us for commercial reasons, trade reasons, and indeed other reasons, political reasons. So there is that factor.

There are others whose view is primarily to protect us against global problems, be they environmental questions or infectious diseases or whatever. So there's not a single purpose not a single rationale. And because there is not just one rationale, there is much more emphasis on developing coalitions without a single consensus vision, which I think exacerbates the management challenge that the agency has in getting support for what it needs or wants to do in any given situation.

Mr. Bacon: Tom, you mentioned earlier that one of your roles is to help the agency in reengineering. In light of what you were just talking about, the changing context within which the agency exists, could you tell us a little bit about reengineering, which has been something central to the past seven years in Washington? Here all across the federal government agencies have been looking at reengineering, how they do things, and sharpening their focus on customer service and mission that they're here to serve. Could you talk a little bit about how reengineering has played out at USAID?

Mr. Fox: First, I think what's called "managing for results" is something that the agency was starting to embrace even before the administrations changed back in 1992-1993. And it was in part because there was a recognition that there wasn't adequate broad political support for foreign assistance, foreign aid. Therefore we needed to be smarter about answering the "so-what questions." In other words, we did this and this, but what actually has changed as a result?

And so the focus on longer-term results, on outcomes, was something that actually started at AID quite early in the 1990s before the administrations changed. But then as the administration changed the combination of the enactment of the Government Performance and Results Act and the administration's focus on the reinvention of government combined, and AID took that very seriously, both those things very seriously.

Both predated my coming so I can't speak about all of the origins, but the responsibility and the focal point for the agency's working on both those things are very much in my bureau, in some cases in close association with our management bureau, too, but the focal point is clearly within my bureau.

And at the time the agency developed the basic values that it was going to try to adhere to as closely as possible. One was managing for results; the second was customer focus; a third was a focus on teamwork; a fourth was empowerment and accountability; and the fifth was respecting and valuing diversity. Then, using those principles, a number of basic systems has been examined and in some cases really dramatically improved, but in others they are still not what they might be.

Similarly, in working with the Government Performance and Results Act we have vigorously embraced the notion of setting and establishing objectives, doing strategic planning, setting ways to measure, and introducing systems that do that efficiently and effectively. So those are the broad lines, but I can get more specific if you need me to.

Mr. Lawrence: What would you think would be an example of where you've made notable success, and conversely where's an example of an area where you think you've got a lot more work to do in what you're talking about here?

Mr. Fox: Right. Certainly the success and the thing that I'm the proudest of is establishing a planning process that is measurable and is now increasingly realistic. It was not so realistic, I think, a couple of years ago or three or four years ago because we were trying to pitch everything at such a high level that it was virtually impossible for us to see what our role was with some success.

But we've made huge strides on that and established a system of planning and programming by strategic objective, reporting in that way, corresponding with Congress about that, and developing our systems around that kind of a model, as opposed to little project by little project by little project. It's saved colossal amounts of time, is much more focused, I would say, even visionary, and is certainly more forward-looking.

I think that where we have not yet succeeded is maybe in two areas. One is what sorts of things require our staff to oversee and manage and what can we do in other ways, what are alternative ways to staff our program. Related to that is, because so much of our work is by grants and contracts, there's a huge pressure on the procurement and contracting process. We haven't solved that problem yet, either.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, it's time for a break. We’ll be right back with more of The Business of Government Hour. (Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to the Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and tonight's conversation is with Tom Fox, Assistant Administrator for Policy and Program Coordination at the US Agency for International Development, and joining me is Kevin Bacon, also a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Well, Tom, we left the last segment talking about managing for results, and one of the things I've always been curious about is how do measure the results of our foreign aid?

Mr. Fox: There are two issues here. One is how we measure what we do in a given country in a given activity, and the second is how we aggregate it in a way that people can understand it and get some overall vision of how effective our foreign aid program is.

On the first, each of our programs in every country, each of them, has three or four strategic objectives that they are managing against and that they are devoting resources to. They establish annual targets and then targets at the end of the activity, which could be five years, seven years, whatever. And they measure against those targets every year, carefully, and self-report. We will then go back sometimes and double-check from Washington, but by and large we are usually doing pretty well. We measure against performance measurements such as how many schools have been strengthened in this or that way, to what degree has primary school enrollment increased in a given region where we are active, that sort of thing.

The aggregation problem is much, much more difficult because there are so many factors that influence the big picture other than simply what we are doing. I just came back from a conference in Dakar, Senegal last week called Education for All, a big international conference where everybody got together and reviewed what are the overall targets that were established by the foreign assistance community several years ago. Among them is the goal to eliminate the distinction between girls and boys enrollment in primary school by the years 2005, and to allow for access to primary school education for everybody by the year 2015. So this group came together and said why aren't we making better progress toward that objective.

We can point to what we've done in a given country and to many different countries and see progress in several of those countries, but to meet the overall target that the community of development agencies working with developing countries have established is a much more complicated question because there are so many factors that we have no control over whatsoever.

For instance, those figures include primary school education in China. However, we have no program in China. So the aggregation problem's a very serious one. We can point to lots of general successes and know that we had a huge role in it, that Thailand is no longer considered a developing country, Korea is no longer considered a developing country, Costa Rica, on and on and on.

There are a number of stories where we had a major role in helping that country achieve a middle income category, and we can also point to where we've had huge successes in terms of something like how many women now have access to contraceptives and can thereby make their own choices about the rate at which they're going to increase the size of their families. But, again, to add that all up on a global level so we can say what's happening in the whole world and have that be influenced by this or that conflict, this or that war, this or that drought, which, of course, just wipes away things, it's very, very difficult to do.

Mr. Bacon: You know, one of the key aspects of any organization is the people that work in the organization, and I'd be interested in your thoughts about the employees at USAID. How are they expected to be different today than they were perhaps a decade ago, and, looking forward, what kinds of knowledge, skills, and abilities are the people who work for AID going to need to help you achieve your very ambitious goals that we've set for our foreign assistance program?

Mr. Fox: There's been a lot of evolution over the years. Twenty years ago, AID was dominated by people that had not only good generalist programming skills but also had particular technical capacity, technical skills. They were, in most cases, the primary providers of the cohesive development message or technical capacity. That's not the case today. Largely, the technical capacity that AID delivers comes through other organizations that we enable, that we support, that we complement.

Mr. Bacon: Do you use contracting or other kinds of grants?

Mr. Fox: Yes — universities or nonprofit organizations or whatever. As a result, our staff are now much more enablers for the provision of technical assistance. They are enablers and they are synthesizers. They are also the vehicle by which the technical cooperation, the technical assistance, is used in policy dialog. In other words, our staff will play the role of talking with the local government about what the implications might be for their policies and their institutions. So it means that the staff is much less technical than it was and much more involved in the skills of enabling.

Mr. Bacon: So they have to have much better partnering and management skills?

Mr. Fox: No question. Our staff is also substantially smaller; that is, the career staff is much smaller than it was several years ago.

Mr. Bacon: How much?

Mr. Fox: Well, we've lost 35 percent in the last seven years, roughly that figure in roughly that time frame, so our reliance therefore on contract staff and on associations through grants with universities and nonprofits is greater than it was. That's a strength, too, because we are tapping expertise of many diverse organizations.

Mr. Bacon: It would be hard for you to gather all that.

Mr. Fox: That's correct. There's strength in that evolution, without any doubts whatsoever. But there are still functions that only a government employee can perform — sign something and that sort of thing — so we have to still have that capacity. And we also need to have the memory that permanent career staff provides. That's terribly important; otherwise, you just lose the capacity to learn from what you did three years ago.

Mr. Bacon: With the shrinkage of your permanent staff, which is something other government agencies, other federal agencies, have experienced as well, I imagine that has really limited your ability to recruit new people into the agency.

Mr. Fox: No question, because we are not expanding. If anything we are contracting a little bit every year, and we are. It means it's very difficult for us to recruit. We have made a very conscious effort in the last two years to recruit young foreign service officers, and last year was the first year that we brought in a significant number of people, and we're giving that a very, very high priority.

There are still a number of really, really fine people that want to work for AID and go overseas. It's a more competitive market because there are lots of other ways by which people can go overseas or have an international career rather than just work for the government unlike what it was thirty years ago when I started in this business. So there is much more competition with the private sector in particular for good, strong people.

Mr. Lawrence: And that was a question I was going to ask you. What's drawing these people to government service because, as we hear, there's tremendous opportunities? I wasn't surprised to learn that you began or virtually began in the Peace Corps, and I think a long time ago a lot of people went to the Peace Corps quite early and it was a very almost patriotic thing to do, and now I'm not so certain people are talking about it that much any more. So I am curious what's drawing people.

Mr. Fox: Altruism is still alive and well. It's not talked about enough, but it's still alive and well. There are a lot of people that are very motivated by simply doing what they believe is the right thing. And the right thing corresponds to that first argument that I used about why people support AID, that it reflects values and so forth, a vision of what we want American leadership to be, that it's more than simply economic and military muscle and influence and ideas. It's also a generosity that is in our self-interest and so forth.

And I think a lot of people are very motivated that way and can only express that through either government service or through nonprofit organizations. And so there's always going to be a community of people that feel that way and are motivated for that reason.

Mr. Lawrence: And how about just the sheer numbers of the way it worked? I mean, there was very little hiring, perhaps even none, for quite some time. You might even say a generation of employees. And so, if AID is like elsewhere, a number of people are getting ready to retire and there's no real team coming up behind them and there's a much younger group right behind them.

Mr. Fox: You're absolutely right, and that is indeed the issue, one that we have moved very, very aggressively on in the last couple of years to try to build up, as fast as we possibly can, a younger generation. We didn't lose a generation but we lost a few years, and as a result, particularly the Foreign Service employees of AID, which is not the majority of the direct hire because most of the people back here in Washington are more likely to be civil service, but having a Foreign Service that was getting increasingly old and closer and closer to retirement without a corresponding class or generation of people to catch up with them and replace them was a dangerous situation. I think we've caught it in time. And we're just getting some outstanding people because we can offer them a very exciting career.

Mr. Lawrence: Great. And it's time for a break. We'll right back with more of The Business of Government Hour. (Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers, and tonight's conversation is with Tom Fox, a system administrator for policy and program coordination at the US Agency for International Development. And joining me is Kevin Bacon, also a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In this last segment, Tom, we'd like to look out to the future, so I'm wondering if you could tell us about what the future has for USAID.

Mr. Fox: My crystal ball is not real good, and my own time with AID is likely to end January 20, 2001, because I am a presidential appointee. But I expect to stay involved somehow. As I hope I've conveyed, I care deeply about the agency and its mission.

I think there are a number of huge issues. The most important of them is can we achieve a consensus about why we have a foreign aid program and what is important about it? What interests, what taxpayers' interests, are served by our having a strong foreign aid program? A lot of it has to do with what vision of American leadership do we embrace as a people.

That sometimes looks like a partisan question, but I don't think it needs to be. It hasn't always been in the past. So I think that how it's played at the beginning of a new administration is going to be very important, how an attempt to achieve a consensus is dealt.

I think you're going to see a greater relationship between AID and our foreign policy apparatus in the State Department. I think that's healthy. We've been working on it a lot this year. I think we will also see a greater synergy between how we operate and how we view the world in our bilateral program, that is to say, the AID program but also what is happening with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and the UN agencies and all that.

And it might be that there will be more of a division of responsibilities than is currently the case. I'm not necessarily an advocate of that, but I think it might well be a conclusion that comes out of it which will assist in specializing and not trying to do everything at once, which is, of course, what we try to do now because we are a big enough agency and have a view of ourselves that we should be able to play a leadership role in almost any situation.

But there's probably a limit to what we can do. There is a limit to what we can do. So I think there's going to be some sharpening, and it's going to depend, I think to a large degree on the effort to develop a stronger, a clearer consensus on what the role is, the importance of it, the place of it in the taxpayer's priorities than is currently the case.

Mr. Bacon: There are some big things, obviously, many big forces at work in the world. Two of them that everyone talks about are the globalization of the economy; and the other is, of course, technology and in particular the Internet and the ability that gives people anywhere in the world to begin to participate in not only intellectual exchanges but economic and other kinds of exchanges. Do you see a role for AID in helping the developing world deal with these courses of globalization and the spread of technology?

Mr. Fox: Right. Several questions embedded in that but we are certainly, particularly in Africa, deliberately trying to encourage the use of the Internet as a teaching tool and a development tool. There's a limit to what we can do there, but that is, I think, going to be viewed at the end of our time as a legacy, particularly the last few years here, of trying to use the Internet as a development tool and to spread its use.

It is likely to be a major topic of discussion among the Group of Seven leaders in Okinawa in July about how all of the major donor countries can cooperate on that field. So I think that's a very promising area, particularly in the use of Internet.

As to the broader question about globalization, our particular role in that, particularly if you're talking about economic globalization, is in helping developing countries better participate and better benefit from globalization. By that it means do they have financial systems and transparency systems that can withstand the kinds of pressures and speed that take place in the moving around of money and ideas? Do they have an institutional and a policy base that allows them to take advantage of it? Do they have it in a way that will allow for some equitable distribution of the benefits and not simply those that are the most ready to take advantage of the immediate opportunities that come from globalization?

So a capacity-building role is what I think our niche is in that. Both the private sector and the multilaterals are the more direct players in the movement around money and so forth, but capacity building is a particular niche of ours and a very important one.

Mr. Lawrence: What about the future of things like managing for results or even GPRA? I mean, these were born in the Clinton Administration and shortly it'll be coming to an end and people wonder will they continue or should they?

Mr. Fox: I think they're here to stay. I don't think the GPRA has yet been fully institutionalized within the whole of the Congress. It is part of the Congress. It supports it very strongly and others that would like to stick with the same old way of doing things, but I think that is going to continue to evolve.

The GPRA is clearly going to be a very, very important thing for AID. We've got it so much now institutionalized in our own reporting and measurement systems that we're not going to walk away from it. We're still learning from it. It's still hard sometimes, but we've made a huge institutional investment in taking advantage of GPRA without getting so lost in it that we do get confused.

I just learned before coming here that Senator Thompson, who is the father of GPRA, announced that our annual performance report for 1999 was the best of all federal agencies. That was just announced this noon. That's a huge tribute to our agency, and they particularly cited the customer-focused, the forward-looking quality of it as well as the transparency of it.

So, no, I think our commitment to that is clear. I would be very surprised if a new administration, whether it's Democratic or Republican, would walk away from a focus on trying to make government work better and using the principles of the private sector and reengineering as a basis of that.

Certainly it's a major focus, obviously, of the vice president. But my understanding is of Governor Bush's administration in Texas he's results-oriented as well, so I think the focus on how to make the government work better for both the efficiency of the government overall but also for the service to the taxpayers is here to stay, and so it's a much more constructive way of looking at government than simply bad-mouthing it, which all too often has been current in political dialog.

Mr. Bacon: One question. As the change of administration comes upon us what kind of advice would you give your successor in terms of helping her or him succeed in the post similar to the one you've filled for the last three years?

Mr. Fox: The beginning of a new administration is always a wonderful opportunity for new ideas. And similarly toward the end of an administration is much harder because you have no sense that there's going to be some sustainability in what you might want to initiate. So I think it's terribly important that whoever comes into AID as our generation leaves that they come with a vision and with the courage to try to support it even against all of the many obstacles that are going to be there to any significant change and really stick with it because change is needed. Consensus must come. We waste too much time now in trying to overcome the absence of consensus.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, how about some lessons learned for those organizations that are not as successful with their GPRA plans as you've been?

Mr. Fox: I think the important thing is to view GPRA as an opportunity, that it's not an imposition from the Congress. It is rather an opportunity to take advantage of management principles that have been fully established in other sectors of our society, and all of it won't work and to be very deliberate about what you're going to build on, what you're going to capitalize on and use, and what you are going to only almost put to the side but do the minimum. In other words, pick and choose where you're going to take advantage of the tools that GPRA provides.

Mr. Lawrence: And is there a time frame they should understand as well in terms of how long it takes to really get your hands around it?

Mr. Fox: I think it took us four years. But all agencies now have gone through a learning process and are much wiser. We actually started earlier and submitted these annual performance reports and plans earlier than others just to get practice, and so this one that we just cited as Number 1 was the first official one.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, great, but I'm afraid we're out of time. I want to thank you, Tom, for spending time with us tonight. Kevin and I enjoyed our conversation very much.

This has been the Business of Government Hour, conversations with government leaders. To learn more about the PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for The Business of Government, visit us on the Web at See you next week.

Thomas H. Fox interview
Thomas H. Fox

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