Department of Commerce

Mickey Kantor, Secretary

Mission Statement

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:

Summary Budget Information

FY 1993 (Actual) FY 1996 (Budgeted)
Budget Staff Budget Staff
$3.216 billion 38,343 $3.632 billion 35,842

Reinvention Highlights

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 goals:

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.

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 census ever.

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.

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.


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