Top 10 Agency Initiatives: Commerce Department

Read more about the top Commerce Department initiative, as selected by Federal News Radio, as well as other initiatives Commerce singled out for recognition.

As part of the special Federal News Radio series, “The Obama Impact: Evaluating the Last Four Years,” we asked more than two dozen federal agencies — including all of the Cabinet-level agencies — for a list of the three most effective, nonpolitical management initiatives or policies they’ve embarked on over the past four years.

From the responses collected from nine agencies, Federal News Radio narrowed the list down of the top 10 agency initiatives — in the agencies’ own words. Below, read more about the top Commerce Department initiative, as selected by Federal News Radio, as well as other initiatives Commerce singled out for recognition.

Top Initiative


The BusinessUSA initiative seeks to change the way government interacts with business.

BusinessUSA, which is housed at the U.S. Department of Commerce, accomplishes this through its customer-centric approach and its ongoing collaboration with federal, state and local resources. BusinessUSA makes it easier for America’s businesses and entrepreneurs to access government resources to help them grow by decreasing time and effort wasted navigating the federal bureaucracy, introducing complementary resources, leveraging existing resources and assets, and enhancing customer service. The initiative is led by executive director, Dennis Alvord.

Other Initiatives

Campaign to Cut Waste

The Obama Administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste aims to make government more accountable to the American people and cut wasteful spending. One example of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s initiative to support those efforts is its department-wide strategically-sourced computer and accessories contract in February 2012.

Commerce strategically sourced a contract for computers that is expected to save taxpayers $20-25 million over the next five years. Through this contract, Commerce will reduce the cost of desktops and laptops by 40 percent. The contract leverages the large volume of computers that Commerce purchases each year and standardizes specifications to achieve significant cost reductions, while at the same time increasing small business participation by over thirty percent. Making wise spending decisions like this will enable Commerce to focus resources on its primary mission, which is supporting innovation, helping American businesses create jobs, and driving U.S. competitiveness around the world.

Administrative Efficiencies Initiative

As part of efforts to support President Obama’s Administrative Efficiencies Initiative, the U.S. Department of Commerce has moved aggressively to reduce our administrative costs. The Initiative was launched across the department in early 2011, and Commerce is on track to meet our goal of saving $143 million by the end of FY12 in areas such as acquisition, fleet, human resources, and information technology.

Specifically, in FY11, Commerce saved approximately $51 million in administrative costs, including through a new printing policy calling for double-sided, black and white, and draft quality printing, as well as reduced energy settings, which has resulted in a reduction of printing by 27 percent and agency savings of $4.2 million.

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