Fixing the Beuro-crazy (Part 2 of 4)
Getting a seat at the table for People, States, Science, and the Post Office!
- The top of the government needs specific departments that it does not have today, such as ones focused on Internal Relations with the States/Territories and on Science, Technology, and the Environment.
- Other areas should be merged together, such as a single Department to mange all military, police, intelligence, and investigative agencies; or another for the concerns of People and Society.
- In particular, the government has a special duty to protect the Interconnectivity of people, data, goods, and communications.
Fixing the Beuro-crazy (Part 1 of 4)
If sharing is caring, why doesn’t the government do it?
Department of Internal Relations
One of the Federal Government’s main concerns is the relationship with the governments for the States and Territories. At the end of the day, the United States is just that: a number of States united in a common federation. Although a strong Federal Government has grown over the past 230 years, the Constitution and Amendments are very specific that the States have rights and that the Federal Government must respect them. While we think of the Bill of Rights — the first 10 Amendments — as enumerating protections for the people of the country, that is not entirely true. The 10th Amendment in particular states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This is in addition to the entirety of Article 4 on the States’ relationships with the Federal Government. Therefore, this affiliation and working within it is a top priority. Because of this, an organization should be set up to manage the overall relationship, but surprisingly there are very few agencies that have specific responsibilities at this time, just more parts of other agencies.
One could say that most of this vital function is buried somewhere in the Executive Office of the President, so breaking it out would be a further activity. There are specific agencies working with Native Americans, but very little dealing with State and Territory management, and that should change as well.
Beyond working with States, Territories, and Native governments, the last area this department should focus in on is Elections. Especially with the changes made to the legislative elections that were inserted in the prior sections of this document, coordination with the States and ensuring results is going to be a massive responsibility, and one that crosses all political divides. As such, elections are a core competency that must be focused in on.
Department of Foreign Relations
Where the relationship within the various governments inside the United States is important, so, too, is the relationship of the United States with all foreign nations and extra-national groups. In the 21st century the world is much more intertwined than it was in the 18th century and what happens abroad has direct impacts at home and vice versa. While the existing Department of State covers some of these ideas, this expanded department fully fleshes out the roles and moves many disparate free-standing international interaction points under one roof.
Most important from all of this is pulling any interaction with a foreign government into one place, whether that is through diplomatic channels like ambassadors or the UN or through volunteer organizations like the Peace Corps. If the government is interacting with a foreign body, it must be as a united face with a singular message, otherwise agencies could be providing conflicting messaging.
Department of Safety and Security
One would assume that the existing Department of Defense would cover all military functions within the United States, but it is not even close. Many military and military-like organizations are far outside and in other Departments entirely, especially with peeling off Homeland Security into its own area. Others, like the aforementioned CIA, are under no direct Department per se. When one asks the question “What does the government spend on military, security, and intelligence functions?” it is not a question that can be easily answered because these functions are spread out everywhere (hint: it is a trillion dollars).
Having a separation of all these functions has led to deadly consequences in the past and will again in the future unless changes are made. We will get much deeper into how to further resolve these disparities in the next section, but for now let us just concentrate on the idea of having a single front for all of these functions that focuses on the safety and security of the American people, our country’s properties, and interests at home and around the world.
As such, this Department could be broken up into smaller sub-areas including:
- Operations and Management
- Military Organizations (i.e., Army, Navy, Air Force, etcetera)
- Investigations and Security (i.e., U.S. Marshalls, ICE, CBP, NTSB, Capital Police, Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, etcetera)
- Intelligence and Special Operations (i.e., CIA, FBI, NSA, Military Intelligence, Navy Seals, etcetera)
- Relief and Recovery Organizations
- Veterans Services
Department of People and Society
It is difficult to imagine, but the interests of the people of the United States are not well represented in the current Cabinet. Parts of the Departments of Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, along with the Health and Human Services and HUD would seem to have this covered, but they are not strongly focused and are missing many key elements. For instance, the Social Security Administration — one of the largest parts of the entire government in terms of dollars spent — is not represented at all. And when you look at HUD you can see that although they have a seat at the table they are far too specialized to have a say in any decision making process. No, in order to have a complete understanding of the social needs and desires of the public, all these various programs need to come together in the wholistic view of people and the societies in which they live.
This works in both directions as well; not only does the President and Congress get a complete view of the programs supporting the people and communities of the United States, but the people themselves can have a single stop front office in this Department to bring their needs to. How those needs are parsed out is an internal decision within the Department and not something that the typical person need worry about. Therefore, a person with social needs can present a single case and the system can streamline the results and end much of the waste and redundancy — both for the government and the person.
In a similar vein, there is a purposeful intent in having the Census and Citizenship being part of this Department. Much later in this document we will return to this very point and why they are together in one place, but for now consider that in order to assist people, you need to know who they are. People who are citizens or want to be citizens (or at least guest workers) all have similar needs and therefore the actual management of keeping track of people can fall to the department that works with people.
Department of Interconnectivity
This is a subject we will return to later in great detail, but it is a question of government responsibility in how data, materials, and people flow throughout the country and beyond. There are very particular requirements in the Constitution around the “Post Office” and “Postal Roads”, so this is just a slight preview of that. For now, let us consider that we are talking about the ease of movement of anything between people and organizations. To illustrate this, we have this example:
- In the early 1800’s, if someone needed information they had to have a piece of paper written and then moved along postal roads by foot or horse and brought to the destination.
- By the mid-1800’s, that process was sped up with the advent of trains and the building of the intercontinental railroad.
- Around the same time, the telegraph started to be refined and grew to be the method of fast communication. By the turn of the 20th century, telephones started to become available and became the method of quickly sending information.
- Later in 1935 the “telefax” was added so that original documents could also be sent using the same lines as telegrams and telephones.
- These uses continue to grow to where computers in the 1980’s could dial into each other to share data. This would further explode in the 1990’s with gateway internet services and the world wide web.
- Today, workers need not even go to an office and can remotely connect through cloud services to work-stations and share data across the world in real time.
What this shows is the same question has been answered differently over time and yet all are connected. The means by which information, goods, and people flow is completely entwined and cannot be separated, especially as technologies continue to change. These are concepts that cannot be unwound from each other and should be considered as resolving the same question: how do we move something from A to B? What that something is will change (or stay the same for centuries), but the answers cannot be considered fixed. Hence, there is an interconnectivity that cannot and should not be ignored.
Altogether, what this is trying to demonstrate is that the technology makes no difference, only the intent of getting people, data, or goods from A to B in the best, safest, and most economical ways. As mentioned, we will delve into this much deeper later in this document, so this is the preview to the question: Why did the Founders of the Constitution believe Postal Roads were so important?
Department of Science, Technology, and Environment
Just as the management of the Post Office, internet, highways, and railroads should not be considered independently but instead ruminated as an overall policy, so, too, should be all of Science, Technology, and the Environment. How can you have an energy policy without consideration for the environment? How can you think about how food is produced without also thinking about forest management? How do you plan for the future of space exploration without considering the health and medical technology needed to make it happen or what impact Earth diseases could have elsewhere?
In today’s Federal Government, that is exactly what happens as scientific and technological research is all separated from each other and, in many cases, from direct departmental oversight. Some is focused just on war and defense while others on agriculture and others yet on nothing at all but their own concerns. We cannot talk about the technology that is to change the world or protect the people of the United States without talking about the consequences and impacts of those technologies elsewhere, and vice versa. This is all about having a unified approach for all scientific discovery and management.
As should be noted, there is significant overlap in these areas as well. Many different organizations are responsible for various areas of regulation that a lot of funding is being wasted on operations and bureaucracy that could be used to further the scientific ambitions of the nation. At the same time, Departments that have been in direct conflict like Energy versus Health and Human Services become conjoined under this new Department. The issues of competing needs can be met and worked out from a more scientific perspective and less from a political one by placing these fields together into a single train of thought. It will not end all debate, but that has never been the point of this document. Remember: this is about how to have the conversations, not enforcing the answers of one interest or another.
TO BE CONTINUED…