by Frederick M. Kaiser
Interagency coordinative arrangements and activities—called for in public laws, executive orders, and administrative directives—appear to be growing in number, prominence, and proposals throughout virtually all individual policy areas and across-the-board. Underlying this growth are several developments: the increase in governmental responsibilities, cross-cutting programs, and their complexity; the inadequate preparation for and response to severe crises (in particular, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes); and heightened pressure to reduce or consolidate federal programs and expenditures.
This paper examines formal interagency collaborative arrangements and activities, which are intended to enhance joint efforts and cooperation among independent federal agencies with shared responsibilities and overlapping jurisdictions. The study provides definitions for understanding various types of collaboration, examines rationales for interagency collaboration, and discusses the difficulties in assessing the success of interagency collaboration.
This paper builds on and supplements an extensive collection of materials, covering various aspects of interagency collaboration, current and past. That compilation identifies analyses of different subject and policy areas as well as different types of arrangements used among agencies. The relevant studies—both current and historical—come from congressional committees, Congressional Research Service (CRS), executive branch entities, Government Accountability Office (GAO), governmental commissions, professional associations, and scholars.
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