Managing the Business of Government

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Don Graves

Deputy Secretary

U.S. Department of Commerce

Andrea Palm

Deputy Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

John Tien

Deputy Secretary

U.S. Department of Homeland Security



The Federal Government awards over $1.5 trillion in Federal contracts and financial assistance each year—and sometimes much more in times of crisis. This creates an enterprise-level opportunity to lean on Federal systems for managing the business of Government—the goods and services we buy and the financial assistance and resources we provide and oversee—to create and sustain good quality union jobs, address persistent racial and wealth gaps, and address other challenges our Nation faces. The Administration has already taken bold action to leverage Federal acquisition and financial assistance to take on our most pressing challenges as a country. Accomplishing these ambitious goals and activities collectively will also require continuous improvements in our procurement, financial assistance, and financial management ecosystems. This shift will require new measures and processes, new training for the Federal workforce, and new tradeoffs that agencies together will need to address going forward.


We can harness this collective power and make connections across the Federal acquisition and financial assistance systems to strengthen the U.S. manufacturing base and support American workers, catalyze new solutions that address the climate crisis and enhance sustainability, and advance equity. The public will benefit from a Government that buys together and manages financial assistance together, devoting attention to how these systems deliver results—prosperity, security, and opportunity—for all people in this country. Federal agencies will look across existing Administration initiatives to ensure that system-wide, continuous improvement in Federal acquisition and financial management systems occurs. This system-wide focus can include, for example: opportunity and issue spotting, including resolution of conflicts across discrete lines of effort; training and guidance for practitioners within agencies; data-management and evidence-building strategies; and other capacity-building strategies.



Foster lasting improvements in the Federal acquisition system to strengthen the U.S. domestic manufacturing base, support American workers, lead by example toward sustainable climate solutions, and create opportunities for underserved communities.

The Federal Government is the world’s largest buyer of goods and services, and the success of the Federal acquisition system directly impacts the ability of agencies to meet their missions and the degree to which contracting can act as a catalyst to support critical public priorities, such as equity and stewardship. In FY 2021, agencies spent over $630 billion through contracts for goods and services with over 120,000 business entities, supported by nearly 40,000 Federal contracting officers and hundreds of thousands of program managers, contracting officer’s representatives, and other acquisition professionals. Over the last decade, the Federal acquisition community has made significant strides in moving away from a decentralized system where local buying offices were largely left to research the market and manage acquisitions on their own.

Today, agencies follow category management stewardship practices for over $425 billion in common requirements, where business intelligence for different types of common needs is shared across the Government, saving taxpayers over $60 billion. Procurement innovation initiatives, supported by improvements in technology and training, are reducing acquisition cycle time and have shifted the workforce’s orientation from compliance to outcomes. Federal agencies are now working together to advance equity in procurement practices, including the President’s goal to increase awards to small, disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) to 15% by FY 2025. This enterprise approach enables the Federal procurement system to adapt and adjust in a coordinated manner to meet Government-wide objectives, such as the Administration’s goals to advance domestic manufacturing. Federal agencies have transformational opportunities to work together on structural and foundational improvements to support the Federal acquisition workforce and further advance the capacity of the Federal procurement system.

Goal Statements and Success Metrics: Under development, with input from Federal agencies and stakeholders.




Build capacity in Federal financial management, including through Federal financial assistance, to catalyze American industrial strategy, address climate-related risks, and deliver equitable results.

Over the past decade, the Government has published and implemented cross-cutting regulations and guidance to modernize how it manages grants and other forms of financial assistance. Agencies have focused on building the necessary systems and tools to meet these new requirements. Since the Federal financial assistance system operates under a common set of regulations, guidance, and guidelines, the Federal Government is well-positioned to further improve processes, practices, and capabilities related to management of Federal grants and other financial assistance. Given lessons being learned from implementation of major new laws—such as the American Rescue Plan Act (Public Law 117-2) and the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Public Law 117-58)—as well as increasing Federal focus on program and payment integrity, now is an opportune time to break down silos and focus on managing the business of Government as a Federal enterprise to ensure that system-wide, continuous improvement occurs.

This system-wide focus requires first examining the current capacity of the financial assistance workforce to ensure it has the guidance and training required to develop and administer grant programs equitably and efficiently. In addition, capacity-building strategies need to be implemented to guarantee lasting change for how business is conducted, which includes examining how financial assistance policies are informed and established.

Goal Statements and Success Metrics: Under development, with input from Federal agencies and stakeholders.