On March 27, President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum establishing the White House Office of American Innovation (OAI). Headed by Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President, and consisting of several other senior White House staff, the OAI’s mission is to make recommendations to the President on policies and plans that improve government operations and services, improve the quality of life for Americans, and spur private sector job creation. It is responsible for launching initiatives with a focus on innovation, coordinating implementation of any resulting plans, and creating reports for the President setting forth policy recommendations. In carrying out these activities and producing these reports, the OAI is to gather information, ideas, and experiences from other parts of government, from the private sector, and from other thought leaders and experts outside of the federal government.
According to media reports, the innovation group has already been meeting twice a week, and they have already hosted meetings with private sector chief executives whose expertise they hope to tap for the effort. Areas they hope to tackle include overhauling Veterans’ Affairs, improving workforce development and targeting opioid addiction.
NTEU is concerned that the OAI’s efforts to harness private sector solution will translate into efforts to outsource federal jobs and operations. NTEU has long maintained that federal employees, given the appropriate tools and resources, do the work of the federal government better and more efficiently than any private entity. NTEU will continue to focus our efforts on leveling the playing field, improving the accountability and transparency of contractors within the federal contracting system, and ensuring that frontline federal workers, who are often in the best position to recommend changes to help improve efficiency and save taxpayer dollars, are included in the discussion.