Someone said, “Give me the making of a people’s songs, and I care not who makes its laws“. In today’s world we might say instead, “Give me the making of an Agency’s ten year plan, and I care not who the President is.”
The Bush Administration had eight years in the White House and changing our system was one of their goals. They sorely wanted to institutionalize their policies and programs, and in government you do that by making a long term plan with financial commitments and deliverable benefits.
You can bury so many details in a ten year plan. The new Administration shows up, opens the books, and sees what course has been plotted. It’s a projection of power from the previous team. The plan has already committed to, there are people that are going to benefit from that ten year plan, and they won’t want you to change it.
Between explaining what a Chief Operating Officer was, and explaining why our world changed the day we hired Russ Chew, and Running It Like A Business by Doing More with Less, and freezing hiring and imposing the White Book, I think they slipped some long-term goodies into the mix.
I admit that my eyes glaze over when I start reading about headquarters. Annual updates, Up With People, the Chorale, We Got Talent, awards ceremonies — I don’t give the propaganda much thought. When I saw the first flight plan I thought it was another glossy HQ boondoggle that wouldn’t have any effect on my world.
The Bush Team introduced the Flight Plan, a detailed plan that lists everything we’re supposed to be doing, and provides a four-year plan that lists everything we’re planning to do. That four-year plan contains spending programs that establish ten-year plans. It’s embedded as an established and accepted document, and it lists budget programs and priorities for a period way beyond the Bush years. It’s really pretty clever.
The Obama Administration’s people are still adhering to, still budgeting for, and are still being organized by Bush’s Flight Plan, at both the conceptual and content levels. There are small changes regarding technological advancements, but to a very large extent Bush’s framework and long range plan are still driving the organization. The Bush scheme is propelled by inertia, the interests that will profit from the flight plan, and the overwhelming burden of changing direction.
The new president comes into town with four years, maybe eight. This administration has already used up one of their years up addressing the White Book. I imagine they consider our problems fixed. They’ve got other things to do. But the whole outfit is still marching to the drumbeat of Bush’s Flight Plan scheme.
That’s like Hitler in his bunker, leaving directions for the Allies about what he’d like them to do with Berlin for the next five years. First item in the 2009-2013 flight plan: “NextGen starts now“.