Good Government
Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Federal government
 "I believe that more effective and efficient management are vital to the success of the Federal government and will yield savings and positive outcomes.  As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, I have witnessed how poor management can compromise taxpayer dollars and harm government missions. We must continue to improve the performance of the Federal government, as agencies seek to achieve better outcomes at lower costs."  

Senator Akaka has led efforts in Congress to improve the management and efficiency of the Federal government.  As Chairman of the Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee, he is responsible for overseeing the management, efficiency, effectiveness, and economy of all Federal agencies and departments.  Working closely with U.S. Government Accountability Office, Senator Akaka has led initiatives to reform government programs at risk for waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.  Senator Akaka has also enacted legislation requiring the Federal government increase efficiency through enhanced agency performance planning and reporting.

From Hawaii's critical national security role as the home of U.S. Pacific Command to the vital role of the U.S. Postal Service in connecting Hawaii, the unique relationship between Hawaii and the Federal government has benefited our State and strengthened our Nation.  Senator Akaka recognizes that despite Washington's fixation on partisan debates, it is the critically important, yet often overlooked, issues of management practices and government performance that determine whether the Federal government serves the needs of all Americans, and especially the people of Hawaii.

Current Priorities

Senator Akaka will continue his strong leadership to further good government.  At the beginning of every new Congress, the Government Accountability Office releases its High-Risk List of programs at risk of waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement.  This provides an invaluable resource for the Senator's Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee, which targets high-risk areas for focused oversight.

Senator Akaka is the leading champion in Congress of strengthening Federal employee whistleblower protections.  He believes protecting employees to expose waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and illegal activity is critical to accountable, effective, and efficient government.  Senator Akaka will continue to fight to enact robust whistleblower protections.

Given the daunting fiscal challenges confronting our Nation, Senator Akaka will continue to lead efforts to improve the performance of all Federal agencies and departments.  In addition to exercising oversight of the implementation of Senator Akaka's GPRA Modernization Act, Senator Akaka's Subcommittee also plans to examine each agency's selection of high priority performance goals to make sure they are balanced and take into account the needs of Hawaii.

Another important area that Senator Akaka will continue to examine is Federal contracting policy, including the recruiting and training of the contracting workforce needed to ensure that the Federal government is spending taxpayers' money wisely and not using contractors to perform sensitive jobs that should be performed by Federal employees.

Senator Akaka is also committed to continued oversight of the United States Postal Service.  The Postal Service has lost billions of dollars since the economic downturn began, putting delivery service and postal jobs in jeopardy.  Nonetheless, it remains a self-sustaining government entity that does not receive taxpayer dollars.  Senator Akaka has been an outspoken advocate of ensuring the best mail services for all Americans -especially for the people of Hawaii who rely to a unique extent on the Postal Service for the delivery of basic goods and services - without privatization.  In response to a proposal to reduce mail delivery to five days per week, Senator Akaka is urging the Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission to take into account the unique needs of Hawaii.  Senator Akaka recognizes that postal employees are sacrificing to assist in the Postal Service's recovery, and he has sought to protect them from being unfairly and disproportionately harmed by reforms.  Additionally, he introduced a bill, S. 1345, to clarify protections for Postmasters, which he had enacted in 2003 as part of his Postmaster Equity Act of 2003.  Senator Akaka will continue to fight to modernize the Postal Service while preserving services.

Recent Accomplishments and Activities

As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Senator Akaka has worked for improving government management through oversight and legislation.

In 2010, Senator Akaka worked with a bipartisan group of Senators to develop and pass the first significant update of the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) - the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-352).  GPRA remains a milestone in government performance legislation, as it marks the first time Congress created a comprehensive framework for Federal government strategic planning and performance reporting.  As an original cosponsor of GPRA, Senator Akaka believes this landmark bill has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of Federal programs by requiring agencies to set goals for program performance and measure results.  However, he also recognized GPRA could be updated to take advantage of new technology and apply lessons learned from nearly two decades of implementation.  The GPRA Modernization Act will accomplish this by refining GPRA's requirements to produce more frequent, relevant data to inform decision makers.   

History - including the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the October 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole, as well as more recent attacks in Madrid, London, and Glasgow - has shown that government transitions may be a time of increased risk for terrorism at home and abroad.  Senator Akaka focused on ensuring a secure and effective presidential transition, and to implement lessons learned from the transition.  In 2008, Senator Akaka held two hearings examining preparations for the smooth transfer of power to an incoming administration, such as preparing career government employees to continue agency operations until new administration officials are in place.  A follow-up hearing in 2010 looked at how the Bush and Obama administrations worked together to ensure a smooth and successful transition.  After these hearings, Senator Akaka helped secure passage of the Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act of 2010 (S. 3196), which puts into place the best practices learned from oversight of the recent transition.

Senator Akaka's strong oversight has also led to improvements in the Federal government's security clearance process, speeding and improving the process for putting national security personnel in place.  This helps the Federal government fill national security gaps quickly and improves its ability to recruit the best and brightest.  Before 2005, background investigations to clear Federal employees for access to sensitive materials and facilities frequently took over a year to complete.  Today, they generally take less than two months.  Senator Akaka's Subcommittee has held a series of seven hearings on this issue to date, leading to high-level attention to implementing extensive reforms to the process.  

In 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act changed important aspects of how the Postal Service is run.  Senator Akaka championed the inclusion of more transparent financial reporting requirements for the Postal Service, helping the public and Congress better understand its financial condition.  

Additional Information

Senator Akaka has asked for several Government Accountability Office reports to assist in oversight and legislation regarding good-government issues.

MANAGING FOR RESULTS: Opportunities to Strengthen Agencies' Customer Service Efforts; LINK

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Actions Taken Toward Management Integration, but a Comprehensive Strategy Is Still Needed; LINK

QUADRENNIAL HOMELAND SECURITY REVIEW: 2010 Reports Addressed Many Required Elements, but Budget Planning Not Yet Completed; LINK

RESULTS-ORIENTED GOVERNMENT: GPRA Has Established a Solid Foundation for Achieving Greater Results; LINK

PROGRAM EVALUATION: Experienced Agencies Follow a Similar Model for Prioritizing Research; LINK

DOD PERSONNEL CLEARANCES:  Preliminary Observations on DOD's Progress on Addressing Timeliness and Quality Issues; LINK

Government Accountability Office's High Risk List; LINK

Constituent Services

  • Washington D.C. Office
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United States Senate

141 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Telephone: (202) 224-6361

Fax: (202) 224-2126


Honolulu Office

300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. 3-106

Box 50144

Honolulu, HI 96850

Telephone: (808) 522-8970

Fax: (808) 545-4683


Hilo Office

101 Aupuni Street, Suite 213

Hilo, HI 96720

Telephone: (808) 935-1114

Fax: (808) 935-9064