President Obama's key performance officials are finally in place after some delays. The next step is announcing an agenda. A June 2009 report to the Obama Administration, "Building a Better Government Performance System," offers an ambitious set of principles and recommendations.
Observers have complained for nearly two decades that Congress doesn't care about performance. This changed in October when the Senate Budget Committee created a new Task Force on Government Performance, led by freshman Senator Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia. In state government circles, he was seen as a champion of performance-driven government.
It was all tongue-in-cheek, but still filled with meaning. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley strode briskly into the dimly lit State-Stat briefing room to the strains of the soundtrack from "Star Trek" with the Starship Enterprise flying by on the overhead screens.
President George W. Bush told NASA to return to the moon and prepare for manned exploration of Mars. The man he put in charge, Michael Griffin, was a certified rocket scientist with a passion for manned space exploration. In the four years he served...