Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
Subject: Establishment of the Presidential Domestic Policy Review System
The Presidential Domestic Policy Review System is hereby established to coordinate the work of the Departments and Agencies in developing the Administration's position on selected key domestic policy issues.
This System was recommended in the Reorganization Project's report on the Executive Office of the President as a means to ensure greater Department and Agency participation in the domestic policy decision process. The System's principal objectives are to:
--Ensure that the full resources of government are brought to bear on particular domestic issues in a timely manner;
--Provide a full range of realistic and properly staffed options on an issue;
--Encourage advance planning and priority setting to promote coordination among issues;
--Establish procedures to ensure that Departments and Agencies have the opportunity to comment on issues relevant to their expertise and policy responsibilities; and,
--Provide for systematic follow-up on Presidential decisions.
Memoranda and Procedures
The System will make use of the following memoranda and procedures:
--Issue Definition Memorandum
Issues for inclusion in the Domestic Policy Review System will be selected through an Issue Definition Memorandum submitted for Presidential approval by the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs and Policy (at his initiative or the request of a Department or Agency) after full consultation with the Vice President, all affected Departments, Agencies, and senior Presidential advisers. The Issue Definition Memorandum will briefly state the questions to be covered and the Agencies to be involved, and shall designate a lead Agency and the membership of a coordinating committee at the Cabinet or sub-Cabinet level--including representatives of all participating Agencies. The memorandum shall include a date for submission of a Response to the memorandum. Upon Presidential approval, the Issue Definition Memorandum will serve as a directive for analysis to begin on the questions defined.
The lead Agency will take responsibility, in coordination with the Domestic Policy Staff and with the full assistance and cooperation of participating Agencies, for development of a Response Memorandum providing background, analysis of decision options, and Agency recommendations on questions identified in the Issue Definition Memorandum. The Response Memorandum should analyze the issues set forth in the Issue Definition Memorandum and, in doing so, reflect the views of all Agencies represented on the review committee, as well as any other Agencies affected by the Memorandum.
Where appropriate, a Presidential Decision Memorandum summarizing decision options will be prepared by the Domestic Policy Staff with review by affected Departments and Agencies and Senior Presidential advisers.
--Domestic Presidential Directive
Where appropriate, Presidential decisions will be set forth through a Domestic Presidential Directive.
Because of the number of Departments and Agencies involved, there will be no permanent standing committees associated with the Domestic Policy Review System. There will, however, be a coordinating committee established for each issue and the composition of that committee will be defined in the Issue Definition Memorandum.
A member of the Domestic Policy Staff will be assigned responsibility for working with the appropriate lead Agency. In addition, these committees will normally include representatives from OMB and CEA.
Alternatives to Memoranda Process
Domestic issues which otherwise would be covered by the Domestic Policy Review System may have to be handled differently because of excessive time pressures or unusual policy sensitivity. And on some domestic policy issues, extensive .and formal interagency coordination will simply not be required. However, in each of these circumstances, the intent of the System is to establish early and extensive involvement between the Domestic Policy Staff and the affected agencies, whether through the Memorandum process or more informal communication.
Use of this process will result in increased circulation of domestic policy documents. Circulation of draft Memoranda must be closely supervised by all parties to maintain confidentiality and avoid premature disclosure. Identification of current issues
As a first step in implementing the new System, I would like each of you to submit a brief list of domestic issues (indicating priorities among them) to Stu Eizenstat, for possible inclusion in the Domestic Policy Review System. The list should be limited to those issues which have substantial impact on domestic policy and which require significant interagency involvement. The list should be submitted by September 23.