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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at the Global Conference on Transforming Governments in the 21st Century
Washington, D.C., January 14, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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REINVENTING GOVERNMENT

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much, Susan; and thank you, Prime Minister Shipley, Vice President Gore, distinguished counterparts, colleagues and guests.

It is fitting that, for this first-ever global forum on reinventing government a truly global audience has assembled. I welcome you all to the Department of State and congratulate you all, for your interest and expertise in improving the quality of public service. I want to salute the many stellar institutions sponsoring this conference, particularly Harvardís Kennedy School, the Vice Presidentís National Partnership for Reinventing Government; and the Ford Foundation.

As Secretary of State, I have a special interest in reinvention, because this Department has been so immersed in it. A decade ago, we had set up foreign policy institutions that were designed to deal with the superpower rivalry that no longer exists. Now, thanks in no small measure to the leadership of Vice President Gore, we are engaged in the most far-reaching reorganization of our foreign policy structures in more than half a century.

Weíve been guided in our efforts by the principles and lessons learned of the reinvention process. For we know that in our era, effective management requires that we instill in our employees a sense of mission, not shackle them with unnecessary rules. It demands that we get across the message that success in government must be measured not by how much blame we can avoid, but by how much real world progress we can achieve. And it leads us, whenever and wherever possible, to harness market methods to achieve public purposes.

As Secretary of State, I welcome reinvention, not only for its value to my government, but also for the contributions it is making around the world. For reinventing government serves more than the cause of efficiency; it also strengthens democracy.

Reinvented governments tend to be slimmer, more open and honest. Less waste and corruption engenders higher levels of public trust. More trust leads to enhanced stability, which is essential to long-term success.

In America, in my experience, no leader has better understood these principles or done more to spread the gospel of good government, or been more effective to taking a hammer to bureaucratic complacency, than Vice President Al Gore.

From the day President Clinton asked him to take on the reinvention assignment, the United States has been committed to a government that works better, costs less and delivers results that matter to the American people.

The bottom line stemming from recommendations made by the Vice Presidentís National Performance Review includes about $137 billion in savings; 250 programs eliminated; and a federal work force that is smaller, relative to the overall civilian work force, than at any time since the 1930s.

Of course, this kind of success is nothing new to Al Gore, and maybe itís because heís so tall, but throughout his career, Al Gore has been able to see further ahead than most. He has made a habit of identifying vital issues as they emerge, mastering their complexities and devising practical solutions, while others are still struggling to discern the nature of the problem.

This was true when he convened the first US Senate hearings on biotechnology policy. It was true of his proposal to eliminate land-based multiple warhead missiles Ė an approach that became the centerpiece of the START II treaty. It is true of his work in science, technology and commerce, where he has built on the legacy of his late father -- who was among the first to envision Americaís interstate highway system, Al Gore -- and named the information superhighway. And no one has done more than he to make that vision real and accessible to young people around the world.

Whether the issue is the environment, or national security, or the relationship between cutting-edge technology and ancient principles of fairness, Al Gore is a leader and a thinker and a teacher and the man to go get things done. If thereís any one message that Al Gore conveys, whether before a global audience or in a one-on-one, itís that all of us, as individuals or as nations, are part of something much larger than ourselves.

The ability to see connections that others miss tells us a great deal about Al Goreís mind, about his heart, and about his vision. It tells us why he is succeeded in what many considered to be the impossible task of making government leaner without making it meaner.

Iím very proud to be able to work with him very closely on our national security interests, and Iím very, very proud to call him my friend. Iím both pleased and honored to introduce to you, now, the Vice President of the United States, Al Gore.

(Applause.)

[End of Document]

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