Cabinet Exit Memos

By Jane Chong
Friday, January 6, 2017, 7:24 PM

Yesterday 27 agency and department heads released exit memos reflecting on their progress and the work yet to be done. Below are links to seven memos of likely interest to our readers, along with the subheaders for those looking to get a quick rundown of points of emphasis and common themes.

(1) Ashton Carter, Department of Defense

Adjusting to Strategic Change

  • Operationalizing the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region
  • A strong and balanced strategic approach to deter Russia
  • Deterring North Korea
  • Checking Iran's malign influence while strengthening regional friends and allies
  • Countering terrorists and other violent extremists
    • Iraq and Syria
    • Ensuring Long-Term Stability in Afghanistan
    • Defeating the Global Terrorist Threat
    • Establishing an Alternative to the Detention Facility at Guantanamo
    • Promoting Transparency in U.S. Actions
  • Maintaining a safe, reliable and effective nuclear deterrent
  • Strengthening our missile defense

Seizing Opportunities for the Future

  • Enhancing conventional deterrence
  • Addressing emerging threats in cyber, space, and electronic warfare
  • Raising the bar on readiness
  • Building the all-volunteer force of the future
  • Acquisition reform: driving smart and essential technological innovation

The Imperative of Reform

  • Reforming the DOD enterprise
  • Support to interagency priorities

(2) Jeh Johnson, Department of Homeland Security

Record of Progress

  • Counterterrorism
    • Preventing terrorist travel to this country
    • Information sharing
    • Raising public vigilance and awareness
    • Countering violent extremism (CVE),
  • Immigration and border security
  • Cybersecurity
  • Aviation security
  • Emergency response and resilience
  • Coast guard
  • Secret service
  • Lawful trade and travel
  • Management reform

(3) Loretta Lynch, Department of Justice

​Safeguarding National Security

  • Countering homegrown violent extremists and radicalized Americans overseas
  • Strengthening the nation's cybersecurity
  • Preventing U.S. military and strategic technologies from falling into the wrong hands
  • Protecting our constitutional principles in national security matters

Reducing Violence

  • Keeping guns out of the wrong hands
  • Helping challenger areas
  • Ending violence against women

Safeguarding Consumers and Preserving a Fair Marketplace

  • Combatting corporate and financial fraud
  • Preventing anticompetitive mergers and preserving market competition
  • Protecting environmental resources
  • Combatting lending fraud and lending discrimination

Reforming the Criminal Justice System

  • Overhauling sentencing policies
  • Reducing recidivism to improve public safety
  • Preserving constitutional rights

Making Historic Progress on Civil Rights

  • Defending the rights of LGBT individuals
  • Protecting the right to vote
  • Combatting the scourge of human trafficking

Building Trust Between Law Enforcement Officers and the Communities They Serve

  • Strengthening law enforcement and community relations
  • Ensuring constitutional policing
  • Promoting officer safety
  • Improving crime data collection
  • Reducing potential bias in law enforcement

(4) John Kerry, State Department

Keeping the American People Safe

  • Drawing down U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Countering Terrorism and violent extremism
  • Verifiably preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon
  • Confronting North Korea’s nuclear program
  • Preventing the spread and use of weapons of mass destruction
  • Protecting our planet

Supporting Efforts to End Conflicts

  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • Libya
  • Ukraine
  • Colombia
  • Israel-Palestine
  • Cyprus
  • South Sudan

Strengthening Our Alliances, Partnerships, and International Institutions

  • Leading at the United Nations
  • Reinvigorating our alliances in Europe
  • Rebalancing to Asia
  • Strengthening partnerships and addressing instability in the Middle East
  • Deepening cooperation in the Americas
  • Investing in the future of Africa

Expanding Opportunities for our People and our Businesses

  • Elevating entrepreneurship and innovation engagement
  • Deepening people-to-people ties
  • Raising trade standards and opening markets for American businesses

Defending and Advancing Universal Values

  • Gender equality
  • LGBTI individuals
  • Refugees
  • Unaccompanied children from Central America
  • Guantanamo Bay
  • MEK
  • North Korea
  • Human trafficking
  • Fight against corruption

Promoting global health and global health security

  • Ebola
  • Zika
  • Global Health Security Agenda

Modernizing the State Department

  • Enhancing embassy security
  • Strengthening cybersecurity
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion
  • Modernizing technology

(5) Samantha Power, U.S. Mission to the United Nations

We Have Leveraged the UN to Address Global Crises

  • Addressing security threats
  • Syria
  • Preventing and mitigating conflict
  • Global health, climate, development and refugees

We Have Worked to Reform and Improve the UN

  • Reforming the way the UN does business
  • Addressing anti-Israel bias
  • Strengthening peacekeeping

We Have Advocated for Our Values at the UN

  • UN Human Rights Council
  • Civil society & political prisoners
  • LGBT rights
  • Women's rights, human trafficking, and rights of persons with disabilities

Strengthening and Working with the United Nations

(6) John Holdren and Megan Smith, Office of Science and Technology Policy

Record of Progress on Science, Technology, and Innovation

  1. Increased science, technology, and innovation talent in the Executive Branch
  2. Strengthened scientific integrity
  3. Enacted a historic increase in research and development
  4. Prioritized and encouraged broad participation in STEM education and the technology sector
  5. Supported American manufacturing innovation
  6. Expanded entrepreneurship across the Nation
  7. Launched major new science initiatives to advance health care
  8. Took unprecedented action to address climate change
  9. Expanded broadband access
  10. Fostered a burgeoning private space sector and increased capabilities for our journey to Mars

20 Science and Technology Frontiers

  • Personal frontiers
  1. Developing precision medicine
  2. Investing in neuroscience and neurotechnology
  3. Combating antibiotic resistance
  4. Advancing biotechnology and global health security
  • Local frontiers
  1. Building smart communities and the Internet of Things
  2. Using innovation and data to improve policing and the criminal justice system
  3. Harnessing the ingenuity of citizen solvers and citizen scientists
  4. Connecting Americans through broadband deployment and spectrum for wireless Internet access
  • National frontiers
  1. Understanding the potential of AI, machine learning, and big data
  2. Developing robotics and intelligent systems
  3. Investing in strategic computing
  4. Supporting advanced manufacturing and a Nation of Makers
  • Global frontiers
  1. Advancing climate science, information, tools, and services
  2. Growing a clean-energy economy
  3. Addressing climate change and national security
  4. Increasing ocean resilience
  • Interplanetary frontiers
  1. Supporting our Journey to Mars and a robust U.S. commercial-space market
  2. Driving advancements in space science
  3. Enhancing prediction of and preparedness for space hazards
  4. Harnessing the small satellite revolution

10 Actions Needed to Foster Continued Innovation across the Frontiers

  • Action 1: Invest in fundamental research
  • Action 2: Recruit, retain, and empower top S&T talent in the federal government
  • Action 3: Identify and pursue grand challenges
  • Action 4: Increase access to high-quality STEM education and drive innovation for education
  • Action 5: Improve diversity, equity, and inclusion and mitigate the impacts of bias
  • Action 6: Support innovative entrepreneurs
  • Action 7: Maximize economic and social return from federal government data and the results of federally funded R&D
  • Action 8: Increase federal agency capacity for innovation
  • Action 9: Promote open government through transparency, participation, and collaboration
  • Action 10: Continue international S&T cooperation and engagement

(7) Robert McDonald, Department of Veterans Affairs

Record of Progress: Achievements for Veterans

  • Increasing access
  • Ending veteran homelessness

MyVA Transformation

  • Improving the veterans experience
  • Improving the employee experience
  • Improving internal support services
  • Establishing a culture of continuous performance improvement
  • Enhancing strategic collaboration

Vision for the Future: 2017 and Beyond

  • Appeals Reform
  • Budget Flexibility
  • Provider Agreements
  • Care in the Community
  • Remove the “80-hour pay period” Requirement
  • Special Pay Authority for VA Health Care Senior Managers
  • Construction and Leasing
  • Recording Obligations at Payment
  • Legislative Changes to Facilitate Sharing of Patient Information