Insights

Measuring Progress: Value of Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation

July 2, 2018

LMI Staff

— (2018 National Defense Strategy)

There is an increased focus in the U.S. government on measuring the results of programs and activities to improve accountability, effectiveness and efficiency. In January 2018, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued “Monitoring and Evaluation Guidelines for Federal Departments and Agencies that Administer United States Foreign Assistance.” These guidelines were mandated by the July 2016 Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA).

Data Analytics

The FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) required that the Department of Defense (DoD) maintain a program of assessment, monitoring and evaluation (AM&E) in support of security cooperation programs and activities. The components of this program include monitoring implementation to measure progress in execution and achievement of desired outcomes; evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness in achieving desired outcomes; identifying lessons learned and developing recommendations for improving future DoD security cooperation programs and activities.

The international development community, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has a rich history of evaluating and monitoring programs and activities. During the last three decades, USAID has issued and implemented detailed guidelines and processes to measure the progress of its development activities. However, DoD has not applied the same standards to its security cooperation programs. As stated in the FY17 NDAA Joint Explanatory Statement, “despite the marked increase in DoD security cooperation programs and activities over the last 15 years, the Department has not applied sufficient emphasis and resources to develop a comprehensive framework to assess, monitor and evaluate its security cooperation programs and activities from inception to completion.”

The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense of Defense for Policy, Security Cooperation, is working to implement the new FY17 NDAA requirements and issued AM&E guidance in January 2018. However, AM&E shortfalls continue throughout DoD that will require increased support and specialized experience and expertise.

Why Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation?

AM&E has the double purpose of learning and accountability. Per DoD Instruction 5132.14, “Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation Policy for the Security Cooperation Enterprise”, AM&E ensures that security cooperation more effectively supports defense objectives in the near, medium and long-term. It improves return on investment and allows policymakers and decision-makers throughout the Department to identify and improve or eliminate ineffective programs and activities. AM&E will help DoD understand what security cooperation methods work and why, and apply best practices and lessons learned to inform security cooperation resources and policy decisions.

LMI’s Focus on Measuring Progress

LMI has a systematic performance management approach that can help DoD to implement AM&E requirements. LMI’s approach focuses on creating a positive culture of results and transparency and involves clearly defined and communicated performance goals and expectations, a balance between short-term and long-term goals and priorities, an outcome-oriented system that links outputs and outcomes, and an infrastructure that integrates a consistent set of performance metrics throughout the organization.

LMI’s approach also ensures a clear vision for performance, continuous internal and external communication, strengthened networks, collaborative scorecards and dashboards and emphasis on leadership commitment and accountability for performance. Moreover, it is an approach that seeks to address four fundamental challenges of government:

  • Focusing the organization on results important to stakeholders and customers
  • Improving results with constrained resources
  • Coordinating within and across services
  • Gaining and keeping the public’s trust and confidence.

LMI helps help government organizations move beyond the view that performance management is only necessary for compliance reasons. The key is thoroughly considering the improvements to be made with measures for success. For organizations that have begun to put the building blocks in place, our solutions help make the business case for moving forward. For those beginning to evaluate their needs, our models and best practices point the way to necessary changes and improvements.

Our performance management capabilities that support AM&E include:

  • Performance management program design and implementation
  • Metrics
  • Dashboards
  • Strategic management systems.

LMI has supported AM&E implementation efforts for government clients such as the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Security Cooperation. In addition, we’ve supported the performance management efforts of several other clients, including the Army; departments of State, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, and Veterans Affairs; the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Trade Commission. From developing new planning processes for security cooperation to standing up an independent evaluation office, we have the AM&E expertise organizations need to meet requirements.

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