As Arizona Governor, Janet Napolitano made her mark promoting cooperative programs that resulted in efficiency and cost savings. She formed the Arizona-Mexico Commission with Sonora, Mexico, Governor Eduardo Bours to help restrict the flow of weapons and fugitives across the Arizona-Mexico border. She joined with another state and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to pilot citizen access to online medical records, and in 2008 launched Arizona Openness and Savings Strategies, a Web site that served as a forum for state agencies to exchange money-saving strategies and allow staff and public to contribute ideas and participate in the budget process. Her initiatives in procurement, energy conservation, travel, fleet management, training and electronic communications,resulted in an estimated $1 billion in savings and cost avoidances for the state.

As Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Napolitano just launched a DHS Efficiency Review initiative to improve efficiency and streamline decision-making. "I am committed to creating a new culture of efficiency at the Department of Homeland Security," said Napolitano, "and the Efficiency Review will allow us to cut costs while streamlining operations and decision-making. Over time, this will make DHS a leaner, smarter agency better equipped to protect our nation."

The review will focus on acquisition management, asset management, real property management, employee vetting/credentialing, hiring and information technology. And, as she did in Arizona, Napolitano will encourage and collect DHS employee cost-saving and efficiency-promoting ideas.

Within the first 30 days, for example, DHS will eliminate the printing of all documents that can be sent electronically or posted online. The plan also calls for energy efficiencies at the workplace, the consolidation of employee training, and an assessment of all full-time/ part-time employees and contractors to better manage the workforce.

Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government