A Growing Risk of Government Failure Raises the Stakes for Agency Leaders to Practice Enterprise Risk Management

On average, six out of seven federal agency respondents (85%) envision a serious threat or disruption of mission operations in the next two to three years, per a recent survey jointly administered by the Senior Executives Association (SEA) and Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM).

In a whitepaper released today, “Getting Ahead of Risks Before They Become Government Failures: An Imperative for Agency Leaders to Embrace Enterprise Risk Management,” SEA and AFERM provide further evidence supporting recent reports and studies detailing a range of worsening trends and developments creating an increased risk for significant government failure.

While the previously cited reports and recommendations focus largely on the changes Congress and the Administration must enact to reduce the risk of government failure, AFERM’s President Tom Brandt notes, “They don’t put as much attention on what government leaders should do or what many government leaders are already doing to manage and address these risks – and that is, to practice and embrace Enterprise Risk Management or ERM.”

SEA’s President Bill Valdez adds, “The whitepaper released by SEA and AFERM aims to highlight how agency leaders can use ERM to reduce the risk of government failure while increasing the likelihood for the successful delivery of agency missions.” Agencies that have taken steps to implement ERM are beginning to realize the value it can enable for enhancing their ability to allocate resources to the most critical needs and to identify, understand, and respond to potential risks and opportunities proactively.

Brandt and Valdez also recommend that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) begin factoring ERM implementation and execution into their assessment of the most critical risks facing government, as reported in their biennial High Risk List. Such a step would help further promote the practice of ERM throughout government.

About SEA

The Senior Executives Association is a non-profit professional association that promotes ethical and dynamic public service by fostering an outstanding career executive corps, advocates the interests of career federal executives (both active and retired), and provides information and services to SEA members. The SEA is the professional association for career members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and equivalent positions. SEA also represents aspiring leaders (GS-12 to GS-15s) who are part of SEA’s leadership pipeline program.


The Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM) is the only professional association dedicated to the advancement of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) in the Federal government through thought leadership, education and collaboration. AFERM provides programs and education about benefits, tools, and leading practices of Federal ERM and collaborates with other organizations and stakeholders to encourage the establishment of ERM in Federal departments and agencies. For more information about AFERM, visit www.AFERM.org. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.