Department of Commerce
Mickey Kantor, Secretary
The Department of Commerce promotes job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and improved living
standards for all Americans by working in partnership with businesses, universities, communities, and workers. The
Department's mission is to:
- build for the future and promote U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace by strengthening and safeguarding
the nation's economic infrastructure;
- keep America competitive with cutting-edge science and technology and an unrivaled, forward-looking information
- provide effective management of our nation's resources and strengths to ensure sustainable economic opportunities.
Summary Budget Information
|FY 1993 (Actual) || FY 1996 (Budgeted) |
|Budget || Staff ||Budget || Staff|
|$3.216 billion || 38,343 ||$3.632 billion ||35,842|
When the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown joined the Department, he knew it was time for a new customer service
contract with the American people -- and time for a new guarantee of effective, efficient, and responsive government. His
goal was to make the Department of Commerce more streamlined and results-oriented -- to create incentives and tools that
allow managers to manage and deliver services more effectively. In addition, he wanted the Department to strive to
identify opportunities to reduce costs while maintaining the same or better levels of service to customers.
As Secretary of Commerce, I plan to continue to strive towards the goal of creating an organization that encourages
innovation and focuses on bottom-line, pragmatic results. Techniques such as strategic planning, business process
reengineering, selective rightsizing, and organizational streamlining have been vital to that goal. Immediately upon
taking office, I moved to institute certain specific, measurable management and administrative reforms with the following
With the smallest budget of any Cabinet Department, Commerce provides the biggest bang for the buck by helping
businesses, workers, and communities build a stronger U.S. economy. We are successful not by accident, but because we
have learned serious lessons from the business community. We have improved functions that support Commerce's core mission --
to enhance and ensure economic opportunity for all Americans -- and eliminated activities and jobs that do not. In fact,
the Commerce Department has a major role in the President's plan to balance the budget by cutting government. With major
new initiatives, some of which are highlighted below, we are achieving significant savings.
- Reduce the Department's workforce this year by an additional 5 percent beyond what has been called for by both the
Congress and this Administration.
- Eliminate two existing regulations for every single new one imposed. Dramatic results have already been attained.
For example, the Economic Development Administration deleted 62 percent of its regulations.
- Cut unneeded layers of management. Here, too, there has been progress, as evidenced by the example of the Import
Administration's reduction of its management structure from five layers to three.
Census Bureau Reengineering and Entrepreneurship Laboratory. We are reengineering the year 2000 decennial census by
using a simple new machine-readable questionnaire, coupled with sampling techniques to complete the enumeration. The
reengineered decennial census will save nearly $900 million from 1995 to 2002 and deliver the most far-reaching, accurate
Together with the private sector, the Census Bureau will market custom tabulations of census data. We anticipate that
this venture will yield a revenue of $50 million ($10 million for fiscal year 1996 and an additional $40 million expected
from 1997 through 2000).
Export Assistance "One Stop" Centers. Meeting customer needs has been a top priority for both former Secretary Brown
and me. In the past, businesspeople looking for help in exporting had to contact several federal agencies separately.
Secretary Brown's solution was the U.S. Export Assistance Center -- a single office that brings together in one location
information and often staff, from Commerce, The Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, and state
agencies. We have expanded the original four pilot Centers to 88 located throughout the country.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Initiatives under way at NOAA include the following:
Commerce Performance-Based Organizations (PBOs). This initiative is designed to reinvent operations at three bureaus
into more flexible and autonomous operational units and make managers directly accountable for measurable results. The
program is based on the British "next steps" agency approach to reinvention, in which business-like agencies with
separable policy and operational functions are given operating flexibility in exchange for strict management
accountability for improved performance. We are proposing four pilots under this initiative. For example, the National
Technical Information Service is currently self-funded from sales of government-created information products to the
public. As a PBO pilot program, this service will be able to use flexible business practices to serve its customers better.
- Reinvention of the NOAA Corps. An estimated $27 million will be saved from streamlining that reduced the NOAA Corps
by 130 employees from the 1994 level. In addition, the administration is finalizing a legislative proposal to terminate
the corps as a uniformed service which may generate additonal savings.
- Streamlining of the National Weather Service (NWS). By restructuring and modernizing the technology for predicting
the weather, we can close about 200 unneeded NWS field stations, resulting in a savings of $273 million over five years.
We will continue to privatize certain specialized weather services, allowing a bigger role for commercial weather
services that provide information to marine and agriculture users. This will save $44 million.
- Establishment of Polar Satellite Program. In cooperation with the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration, we are establishing a civilian operational environmental polar satellite program and exploring
new ways to share technology and environmental data. This satellite convergence initiative is expected to yield
significant cost savings -- over $1 billion over the lifetime of the program.
Streamlining Operations and Workforce. As a result of our reinvention initiatives, we have cut 2,501 jobs from the
Commerce payroll since 1993. In addition to reducing the workforce, we have streamlined our operations and cut regulations
to ease the burden on the business community. For example, Commerce has accomplished the following:
Finally, we have focused our efforts on being a customer-driven organization. Twenty-seven separate customer service
plans are now in place, including advisory and assistance services, business facilitation, export licensing, weather
services, patent and trademark information, and a variety of other activities. These plans contain nearly 200 specific
standards by which our customers may judge our performance and let us know if we are meeting our promises and their
expectations. Aided by these plans, we will continue to work in partnership with businesses, workers, and communities
to improve U.S. competitiveness and enhance economic opportunity for all Americans.
- We changed export controls on computers and telecommunications equipment, eliminating requirements for prior
approval on over $32 billion worth of exports. The Department has also completed the first comprehensive rewrite of Bureau
of Export Administration regulations in 45 years.
- We have drastically cut regulations. For example, NOAA consolidated, eliminated, and repealed obsolete or redundant
regulations, reducing its regulatory burden by 45 percent.
- We have reduced grants processing time across the Department by 25 percent.
- We have simplified forms, encouraged electronic filing, and coordinated data sharing with other statistical
agencies to reduce respondent burdens, thereby saving the private sector hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and