Obama seeks more diverse skills for federal managers, aims for greater customer service

President Barack Obama wants top management prospects in the federal bureaucracy to develop a more diverse set of skills as the upper ranks of the federal workforce retire in greater numbers.

He also is aiming to improve the quality of government service in the face of user satisfaction rankings that place the federal government below the private sector.

In a series of executive actions Tuesday, Obama was launching a leadership program for future government career executives with a goal of giving potential managers multi-agency experiences and breaking out of a tradition of promoting senior bureaucrats from within their own agencies.

The administration is also creating a program of customer service awards to reward excellence by individual federal employees.

The White House was announcing the initiatives as part of Obama's appearance Tuesday before the federal workforce's Senior Executive Service, which comprises the career management leadership of federal agencies.

The White House projects that by 2017, about 1 in 4 senior managers will retire. The White House plans to create an advisory group on how to make changes to the Senior Executive Service to prepare for that loss in the leadership ranks.

The White House said that in his address, Obama would salute the work of federal managers and outline steps to develop current managers, recruit more talent and better serve the public.