As federal leaders know all too well, collaboration among agencies on common missions is a rarity. The government is set up on a program-centric and agency-centric model, and having separate federal entities and programs work together to achieve a shared goal can be extremely difficult.
The exception to disconnected government comes during times of crisis when public attention is focused on a major problem and there is unity of action. This has been the case with the fight against terrorism since 9/11, and for natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
In a new report titled "Building the Enterprise: Nine Strategies for a More Integrated, Effective Government," the Partnership for Public Service (my organization) and Booz Allen Hamilton argue that cross-agency collaboration must become the norm rather than the exception.
The report calls for our government to act as a single, integrated enterprise -- not a set of separate agencies and programs -- in achieving important goals and to better husband its resources so it can begin to eliminate program duplication and overlap.