The Bureau of Reclamation, FEMA, the Labor Department, the Customs Service, and HUD are at the forefront of reinvention. They represent the kind of top-to-bottom change that NPR hopes to see across government. These agencies will continue to reinvent themselves. They are not done -- not by a long shot. In fact, as they will tell you, they may never finish the job. That's just the point. Reinvention must not be a sideshow, an activity to perform between, say, 10 and 10:15 a.m. It must be the main event, a state of mind that should transcend all activities of work. Federal employees must not reinvent and move on; they must continue to reinvent.
Nor is this a job just for Dan Beard or James Lee Witt or George Weise. It is a job for every federal worker. NPR's goals of better customer service, of worker accountability and empowerment, of less red tape, and of lower costs would be important enough. But, as previously discussed, the stakes are much, much higher.
To be sure, the five agencies discussed in this chapter do not encompass all of the government's reinvention efforts. Rather, they represent the most comprehensive of them. But all across government, from the Pentagon to the Small Business Administration, federal employees are finding new ways to conduct the people's business.
While progress is often hard to categorize, these activities generally fall within one of the main themes that NPR outlined last year. So it is to better customer service, to the new federal workforce, to less red tape, and to less red ink that this report now turns.