Towson University

Dr. Martha Joynt Kumar is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Towson University. As a scholar with a research focus on the White House, she is interested in presidential - press relations, White House communications operations, and presidential transitions. Her most recent book, Managing the President's Message: The White House Communications Operation, won the 2008 Richard E. Neustadt Award for the best book on the presidency from the presidency section of the American Political Science Association.

Weekly Roundup: April 1 - 14, 2015

GAO Releases New Reports on Duplication, Overlap of Government Programs. GAO testified on its annual assessment of federal program fragmentation, duplication and overlap. In addition to providing details on 66 new areas where it found fragmentation, etc., it also released an evaluation and management guide to help Congress and others to conduct similar assessments. Fixing Federal IT.

How Can the Next Administration Build A Strong Political and Career Leadership Team?

On May 27, the IBM Center for The Business of Government and the Partnership for Public Service co-hosted a Roundtable to discuss how effective leaders can help drive successful outcomes for the next Presidential term. An exceptional group of current and former senior officials from Administrations of both parties, leaders from Capitol Hill, as well as experts from academia and the private and non-profit sectors participated in a robust discussion.

The Best Transition In History

The Bush to Obama transition was the smoothest in our nation’s history, because the two leaders made it a priority to invest significantly in planning and preparation. The details of this successful transition are the subject of a new book, “Before the Oath,” by noted Presidential scholar Dr. Martha Kumar.

Enabling Leadership Success for the Next Administration

This blog post is co-authored by Alan Howze In 2017, for the first time in eight years, a new President will be sworn into office. Regardless of which party wins, a new set of political appointees will serve as executive leaders across the government. The decisions that the new administration makes about who to appoint – which starts during the transition process -- will set a path forward for the administration.

Making Decisions in a Time of Transition (Part II)

This post is a continuation of our first blog on decision making, which highlighted a number of challenges for the next administration to address. In this blog, we present the key findings and recommendations in four areas. These action areas include: Decision Processes – finding ways to harness government decision processes and not getting bogged down. Define clear parameters - use career staff to help incoming appointees translate governing priorities into clear goals and action plans that take into account existing budget and statutory constraints.

Weekly Roundup: March 28 - April 1, 2016

John Kamensky

Clock Ticks. Government Executive reports:  “As the Obama administration winds down and a presidential transition looms, agency leaders insist they're committed to fulfilling the president's goals rather than trimming their sails as time grows shorter.”

End of the Space Shuttle & the Beginning of Commercial Space: Leadership, Change, and Private-Public Partnerships

Columbia shuttle disaster of 2003, there was almost universal recognition that the space shuttle had to be replaced. In 2004, President George W. Bush directed NASA to build a shuttle successor as part of an overall “vision” to explore deep space. Then-NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe put the possibility of launching cargo and eventually crew to the ISS through private commercial means on the NASA agenda. In 2005, Michael Griffin, O’Keefe’s successor, established a program – Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) – to do just that.