For the first time, the next president will have the opportunity to orchestrate the direction of federal agencies at the beginning of his term of office.

A new law adopted in 2010 requires all agencies to prepare new four-year strategic plans in the first year of each administration.  First drafts of these plans are due to the Office of Management and Budget in June 2017.

Professor Tama examines in this report how four departments have adopted the use of quadrennial planning reviews to inform the development of their strategic plans.  The first quadrennial review was required 20 years ago by Congress for the Defense Department.  Since then, three other agencies – State, Homeland Security, and Energy -- have adopted this approach, in part because policy makers found value in the results of the Defense Department's reviews.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations.  It offers recommendations to agencies that currently conduct quadrennial reviews; recommendations to agencies that might find some of the lessons learned from quadrennial reviews to be of value as they conduct their strategic planning efforts; and recommendations to the next Administration and Congress on ways they can better support investments in capacity to conduct longer-term cross-agency strategic foresight in order to better inform the development of agency strategic plans.