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Richard Nixon: Message to the Congress Transmitting Reorganization Plan 2 of 1970.
Richard
Richard Nixon
77 - Message to the Congress Transmitting Reorganization Plan 2 of 1970.
March 12, 1970
Public Papers of the Presidents
Richard Nixon<br>1970
Richard Nixon
1970
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To the Congress of the United States:

We in government often are quick to call for reform in other institutions, but slow to reform ourselves. Yet nowhere today is modern management more needed than in government itself.

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed and the Congress accepted a reorganization plan that laid the groundwork for providing managerial assistance for a modern Presidency.

The plan placed the Bureau of the Budget within the Executive Office of the President. It made available to the President direct access to important new management instruments. The purpose of the plan was to improve the administration of the Government--to ensure that the Government could perform "promptly, effectively, without waste or lost motion."

Fulfilling that purpose today is far more difficult--and more important--than it was 30 years ago.

Last April, I created a President's Advisory Council on Executive Organization and named to it a distinguished group of outstanding experts headed by Roy L. Ash. I gave the Council a broad charter to examine ways in which the Executive Branch could be better organized. I asked it to recommend specific organizational changes that would make the Executive Branch a more vigorous and more effective instrument for creating and carrying out the programs that are needed today. The Council quickly concluded that the place to begin was in the Executive Office of the President itself. I agree.

The past 30 years have seen enormous changes in the size, structure and functions of the Federal Government. The budget has grown from less than $10 bib lion to $200 billion. The number of civilian employees has risen from one million to more than two and a half million. Four new Cabinet departments have been created, along with more than a score of independent agencies. Domestic policy issues have become increasingly complex. The interrelationships among Government programs have become more intricate. Yet the organization of the President's policy and management arms has not kept pace.

Over three decades, the Executive Office of the President has mushroomed but not by conscious design. In many areas it does not provide the kind of staff assistance and support the President needs in order to deal with the problems of Government in the 1970's. We confront the 1970's with a staff organization geared in large measure to the tasks of the 1940's and 1950's.

One result, over the years, has been a tendency to enlarge the immediate White House staff that is, the President's personal staff, as distinct from the institutional structure--to assist with management functions for which the President is responsible. This has blurred the distinction between personal staff and management institutions; it has left key management functions to be performed only intermittently and some not at all. It has perpetuated outdated structures.

Another result has been, paradoxically, to inhibit the delegation of authority to Departments and agencies.

A President whose programs are carefully coordinated, whose information system keeps him adequately informed, and whose organizational assignments are plainly set out, can delegate authority with security and confidence. A President whose office is deficient in these respects will be inclined, instead, to retain close control of operating responsibilities which he cannot and should not handle.

Improving the management processes of the President's own office, therefore, is a key element in improving the management of the entire Executive Branch, and in strengthening the authority of its Departments and agencies. By providing the tools that are needed to reduce duplication, to monitor performance and to promote greater efficiency throughout the Executive Branch, this also will enable us to give the country not only more effective but also more economical government-which it deserves.

To provide the management tools and policy mechanisms needed for the 1970's, I am today transmitting to the Congress Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1970, prepared in accordance with Chapter 9 of Title 5 of the United States Code.

This plan draws not only on the work of the Ash Council itself, but also on the work of others that preceded--including the pioneering Brownlow Committee of 1936, the two Hoover Commissions, the Rockefeller Committee, and other Presidential task forces.

Essentially, the plan recognizes that two closely connected but basically separate functions both center in the President's office: policy determination and executive management. This involves 1 ) what government should do, and 2 ) how it goes about doing it.

My proposed reorganization creates a new entity to deal with each of these functions:
--It establishes a Domestic Council, to coordinate policy formulation in the domestic area. This Cabinet group would be provided with an institutional staff, and to a considerable degree would be a domestic counterpart to the National Security Council.

--It establishes an Office of Management and Budget, which would be the President's principal arm for the exercise of his managerial functions.

The Domestic Council will be primarily concerned with what we do; the Office of Management and Budget will be primarily concerned with how we do it, and how well we do it.

DOMESTIC COUNCIL

The past year's experience with the Council for Urban Affairs has shown how immensely valuable a Cabinet-level council can be as a forum for both discussion and action on policy matters that cut across departmental jurisdictions.

The Domestic Council will be chaired by the President. Under the plan, its membership will include the Vice President, and the Secretaries of the Treasury, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health, Education and Welfare, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation, and the Attorney General. I also intend to designate as members the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and, while he remains a member of the Cabinet, the Postmaster General. (Although I continue to hope that the Congress will adopt my proposal to create, in place of the Post Office Department, a self-sufficient postal authority. ) The President could add other Executive Branch officials at his discretion.

The Council will be supported by a staff under an Executive Director who will also be one of the President's assistants. Like the National Security Council staff, this staff will work in close coordination with the President's personal staff but will have its own institutional identity. By being established on a permanent, institutional basis, it will be designed to develop and employ the "institutional memory" so essential if continuity is to be maintained, and if experience is to play its proper role in the policy-making process.

There does not now exist an organized, institutionally-staffed group charged with advising the President on the total range of domestic policy. The Domestic Council will fill that need. Under the President's direction, it will also be charged with integrating the various aspects of domestic policy into a consistent whole.

Among the specific policy functions in which I intend the Domestic Council to take the lead are these:
--Assessing national needs, collecting information and developing forecasts, for the purpose of defining national goals and objectives.
--Identifying alternative ways of achieving these objectives, and recommending consistent, integrated sets of policy choices.

--Providing rapid response to Presidential needs for policy advice on pressing domestic issues.
--Coordinating the establishment of national priorities for the allocation of available resources.
--Maintaining a continuous review of the conduct of on-going programs from a policy standpoint, and proposing reforms as needed.

Much of the Council's work will be accomplished by temporary, ad hoc project committees. These might take a variety of forms, such as task forces, planning groups or advisory bodies. They can be established with varying degrees of formality, and can be set up to deal either with broad program areas or with specific problems. The committees will draw for staff support on Department and agency experts, supplemented by the Council's own staff and that of the Office of Management and Budget.

Establishment of the Domestic Council draws on the experience gained during the past year with the Council for Urban Affairs, the Cabinet Committee on the Environment and the Council for Rural Affairs. The principal key to the operation of these Councils has been the effective functioning of their various subcommittees. The Councils themselves will be consolidated into the Domestic Council; Urban, Rural and Environment subcommittees of the Domestic Council will be strengthened, using access to the Domestic Council staff.

Overall, the Domestic Council will provide the President with a streamlined, consolidated domestic policy arm, adequately staffed, and highly flexible in its operation. It also will provide a structure through which departmental initiatives can be more fully considered, and expert advice from the Departments and agencies more fully utilized.

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

Under the reorganization plan, the technical and formal means by which the Office of Management and Budget is created is by re-designating the Bureau of the Budget as the Office of Management and Budget. The functions currently vested by law in the Bureau, or in its director, are transferred to the President, with the provision that he can then re-delegate them.

As soon as the reorganization plan takes effect, I intend to delegate those statutory functions to the Director of the new Office of Management and Budget, including those under section 212 of the Budget and Accounting Act, 1921.

However, creation of the Office of Management and Budget represents far more than a mere change of name for the Bureau of the Budget. It represents a basic change in concept and emphasis, reflecting the broader management needs of the Office of the President.

The new Office will still perform the key function of assisting the President in the preparation of the annual Federal budget and overseeing its execution. It will draw upon the skills and experience of the extraordinarily able and dedicated career staff developed by the Bureau of the Budget. But preparation of the budget as such will no longer be its dominant, overriding concern.

While the budget function remains a vital tool of management, it will be strengthened by the greater emphasis the new office will place on fiscal analysis. The budget function is only one of several important management tools that the President must now have. He must also have a substantially enhanced institutional staff capability in other areas of executive management-particularly in program evaluation and coordination, improvement of Executive Branch organization, information and management systems, and development of executive talent. Under this plan, strengthened capability in these areas will be provided partly through internal reorganization, and it will also require additional staff resources.

The new Office of Management and Budget will place much greater emphasis on the evaluation of program performance: on assessing the extent to which programs are actually achieving their intended results, and delivering the intended services to the intended recipients. This is needed on a continuing basis, not as a one-time effort. Program evaluation will remain a function of the individual agencies as it is today. However, a single agency cannot fairly be expected to judge overall effectiveness in programs that cross agency lines--and the difference between agency and Presidential perspectives requires a capacity in the Executive Office to evaluate program performance whenever appropriate.

The new Office will expand efforts to improve interagency cooperation in the field. Washington-based coordinators will help work out interagency problems at the operating level, and assist in developing efficient coordinating mechanisms throughout the country. The success of these efforts depends on the experience, persuasion, and understanding of an Office which will be an expediter and catalyst. The Office will also respond to requests from State and local governments for assistance on intergovernmental programs. It will work closely with the Vice President and the Office of Intergovernmental Relations.

Improvement of Government organization, information and management systems will be a major function of the Office of Management and Budget. It will maintain a continuous review of the organizational structures and management processes of the Executive Branch, and recommend needed changes. It will take the lead in developing new information systems to provide the President with the performance and other data that he needs but does not now get. When new programs are launched, it will seek to ensure that they are not simply forced into or grafted onto existing organizational structures that may not be appropriate. Resistance to organizational change is one of the chief obstacles to effective government; the new Office will seek to ensure that organization keeps abreast of program needs.

The new Office will also take the lead in devising programs for the development of career executive talent throughout the Government. Not the least of the President's needs as Chief Executive is direct capability in the Executive Office for insuring that talented executives are used to the full extent of their abilities. Effective, coordinated efforts for executive manpower development have been hampered by the lack of a system for forecasting the needs for executive talent and appraising leadership potential. Both are crucial to the success of an enterprise--whether private or public.

The Office of Management and Budget will be charged with advising the President on the development of new programs to recruit, train, motivate, deploy, and evaluate the men and women who make up the top ranks of the civil service, in the broadest sense of that term. It will not deal with individuals, but will rely on the talented professionals of the Civil Service Commission and the Departments and agencies themselves to administer these programs. Under the leadership of the Office of Management and Budget there will be joint efforts to see to it that all executive talent is well utilized wherever it may be needed throughout the Executive Branch, and to assure that executive training and motivation meet not only today's needs but those of the years ahead.

Finally, the new Office will continue the Legislative Reference functions now performed by the Bureau of the Budget, drawing together agency reactions on all proposed legislation, and helping develop legislation to carry out the President's program. It also will continue the Bureau's work of improving and coordinating Federal statistical services.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHANGES

The people deserve a more responsive and more effective Government. The times require it. These changes will help provide it.

Each reorganization included in the plan which accompanies this message is necessary to accomplish one or more of the purposes set forth in Section 901 (a) of Title 5 of the United States Code. In particular, the plan is responsive to Section 901 (a) ( 1), "to promote the better execution of the laws, the more effective management of the Executive Branch and of its agencies and functions, and the expeditious administration of the public business;" and Section 901(a)(3), "to increase the efficiency of the operations of the Government to the fullest extent practicable."

The reorganizations provided for in this plan make necessary the appointment and compensation of new officers, as specified in Section 102(c) of the plan. The rates of compensation fixed for these officers are comparable to those fixed for other officers in the Executive Branch who have similar responsibilities.

While this plan will result in a modest increase in direct expenditures, its strengthening of the Executive Office of the President will bring significant indirect savings, and at the same time will help ensure that people actually receive the return they deserve for every dollar the Government spends. The savings will result from the improved efficiency these changes will provide throughout the Executive Branch--and also from curtailing the waste that results when programs simply fail to achieve their objectives. It is not practical, however, to itemize or aggregate these indirect expenditure reductions which will result from the reorganization.

I expect to follow with other reorganization plans, quite possibly including ones that will affect other activities of the Executive Office of the President. Our studies are continuing. But this by itself is a reorganization of major significance, and a key to the more effective functioning of the entire Executive Branch.

These changes would provide an improved system of policy making and coordination, a strengthened capacity to perform those functions that are now the central concerns of the Bureau of the Budget, and a more effective set of management tools for the performance of other functions that have been rapidly increasing in importance.

The reorganization will not only improve the staff resources available to the President, but will also strengthen the advisory roles of those members of the Cabinet principally concerned with domestic affairs. By providing a means of formulating integrated and systematic recommendations on major domestic policy issues, the plan serves not only the needs of the President, but also the interests of the Congress.

This reorganization plan is of major importance to the functioning of modern government. The national interest requires it. I urge that the Congress allow it to become effective.

RICHARD NIXON
The White House
March 12, 1970


Note: Reorganization Plan 2 of 1970 became effective on July 1, 1970.

On March 12, 1970, the White House released a summary of the Executive Office reorganization plan and the transcript of a news briefing on it by Robert P. Mayo, Director, Bureau of the Budget; Roy L. Ash, Chairman, Walter N. Thayer, member, and Murray Comarow, Executive Director, all of the President's Advisory Council on Executive Organization.


Citation: Richard Nixon: "Message to the Congress Transmitting Reorganization Plan 2 of 1970.," March 12, 1970. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=2907.
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