United States

Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation: Three Adversaries to Establishing Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability

Sep 01, 2014
From the Government Institute

Under current law, by 2040, interest on the burgeoning national debt will be the largest component of federal spending and, together with Social Security, will consume almost all federal revenue.

So long as debt trajectories continue unabated, federal agencies will feel the pinch of ever-tightening budgets. The longer there is an impasse on spending and revenue reform, the more difficult it will become to absorb continuing budget reductions.

But there is a silver-lining. By requiring agencies to become more efficient to simply survive, they will be forced to address the realities of duplication, overlap and fragmentation in programs and operations - three long-standing adversaries to establishing efficient, effective government. Shared services will become a way of life, missions will be recalibrated, and partnerships will be formed - not because agencies necessarily want to, but because they will have to change.

This article, reproduced with the permission of the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and first published in the fall 2014 issue of AGA's Journal of Government Financial Management, explores the issue from the lens of three case studies covering shared services, consolidation, and public-private partnerships (PPP) and provides insights on the way forward.