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12/6/2017
One Nation After Trump

FEI 50th Anniversary
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The Federal Executive Institute is celebrating 50 years of service and leadership training. Below are a few pieces in a series from FEI that takes a look back at key moments in FEI history.

 

FEI History Snippets #1: President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Speech at Princeton University’s Commission of the Woodrow Wilson Building on May 11, 1966

FEI History Snippets #2: On May 17, 1968, John Macy, Chairman of the Civil Service Commission issued this memorandum announcing the establishment of the Federal Executive Institute.

FEI History Snippets #3: Tomorrow’s Challenge Today: The FEI’s Second Decade

 

FEI History Snippets #4: Perspective on the Federal Executive Institute  (coming soon)


 

FEI History Snippets #1: President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Speech at Princeton University’s Commission of the Woodrow Wilson Building on May 11, 1966



The Federal government experienced a rapid expansion as a result of the New Deal and World War II. By the 1950s, many in government began calling for a training program for the people who would lead this expanded federal workforce. The Government Employees Training Act of 1958 gave the President the authority to establish an academy to train these “civilian generals.” His speech [excerpted below] at Princeton University on May 11, 1966 officially began the process of creating the Federal Executive Institute.

There was once a time when knowledge seemed less essential to the process of government. Andrew Jackson held the opinion that the duties of all public offices were “so plain and simple” that any man of average intelligence could perform them. We are no longer so optimistic about our public service. The public servant today moves along the paths of adventure where he is helpless without the tools of advanced learning. He seeks to chart the exploration of space, combining a thousand disciplines in an effort whose slightest miscalculation could have fatal consequences. He has embarked on this planet on missions that are no less filled with risk and no less dependent on knowledge. He seeks to rebuild our cities and to reclaim the beauty of our countryside. He seeks to promote justice beyond our courtrooms, making education and health and opportunity the common birthright for every citizen. And he seeks to build peace based on man’s hopes rather than on man’s fears. These goals will be the work of many men and of many years. We are still wrestling to provide a world safe for democracy just as Wilson did more than 50 years ago. We are still fighting to gain the freedoms that Roosevelt talked about more than 30 years ago. All of these will call for enormous new drafts of trained manpower that will be available for public service.

I have asked Chairman John Macy of the Civil Service Commission to head a task force that will survey Federal programs for career advancement. I have asked him to study an expanded program of graduate training which, with the help of universities, can enlarge our efforts to develop the talents and broaden the horizons of our public service career officers.

 

 

 

FEI History Snippets #2: On May 17, 1968, John Macy, Chairman of the Civil Service Commission issued this memorandum announcing the establishment of the Federal Executive Institute.



MEMORANDUM TO HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

Subject: Federal Executive Institute

In his memorandum of May 9, President Johnson announced the establishment of the Federal Executive Institute as an advanced study center for upper echelon executives. I want to move rapidly to carry out the plan for the Institute as described in the President’s announcement. In so doing, I look forward to working with you to assure its successful operation.

It would assist the Commission in the development of the Institute’s program if you would designate an official in your organization with whom there can be discussion on the selection criteria and procedure for attendance, curriculum plans and funding.

I have designated James R. Beck, Jr. to act as project coordinator.

 

 

FEI History Snippets #3: Tomorrow’s Challenge Today: The FEI’s Second Decade



In summer 1979, Alan K. Campbell, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, wrote an article in The Bureaucrat applauding FEI’s performance over the previous decade. He addressed the important role FEI played as one of few opportunities for those in the Senior Executive Service to continue their professional development. He also highlighted FEI’s mission teaching executives about the importance of people, as well as processes or equipment, in their organizations.

“Those who come here are the leaders who link the elected and appointed policy makers with the rest of the civil service system. This link is essential to an effective operation of the federal government.”

“The fact is, although executives make up less than one half of one percent of the federal civilian work force, they make or break the effectiveness of the other two million employees.”

“Aspirants to the executive ranks have found few opportunities to prepare for higher responsibilities.”

“What must be done is to develop a system that can deal with the total work force, in a way that will cause pride and belief in the work they are doing, and permeate the entire system.”

“Of course, it is the Federal Executive Institute which has a particular responsibility in that area. We see it coming to play in the next decade a much bigger role, a much stronger role, a role in planning for career development throughout the system. They will associate themselves with other training institutions-public and private, federal and non-federal- to develop the kind of program which will have relevance to the total executive needs of the federal government.

I believe we must begin to move in a direction where personnel management is seen as the heart of the total management system. Personnel people who see their role as that of enforcing procedural rituals should begin looking elsewhere for employment, because that is not what the new system is all about.

Indeed, the FEI will have to play an expanded part in fostering the teamwork, without which none of us can succeed. I think the first 10 years of the history of this institution indicates it clearly has the ability, the skill, and the commitment necessary to do that. I very much look forward to a close continuing association.”


 

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