Currently, I work on homeland security issues, with a focus on enforcing Federal Regulations. My overall plan is to remain with the government with the likelihood of retiring from a governmental agency. My professional philosophy revolves around the nature of service, and I believe that my skills, enthusiasm and patriotism all combine in a better way by using my skills to help the United States.
Before this recent job change, I was a bank regulator. I transferred to Homeland Security because of its importance in the contemporary environment and its mission to protect America at home and abroad. When one stops to reflect a moment, we see that the world is a far different place than it was prior to the events of 9/11. In fact, as a direct response to the terrorist attacks on the United States in September, 2011, the Office of Homeland Security was created, specifically with the mission:
To develop and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks. The Office will coordinate the executive branch's efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States (National Strategy for Homeland Security, 2002).
The overall impetus was a way to coordinate various law enforcement agencies, information, and implementation of resources to be far more efficient in preventing any security breach, and if one occurs, to have a way to create a more seamless national response network (Department of Homeland Security, 2012).
This mission and agency guideline is extremely important to me for personal, patriotic, and professional reasons. As a former member of the U.S. Air Force, then moving into the academic world to complete a BA in Finance, and then an FDIC Bank Examiner, I personally witnessed a number of challenges and resultant opportunities that may have a major effect upon the United States. I have taken courses that focused on Homeland Security, National Security and Biodefense Security, which helped me understand that in order to really make a difference and effect change; I needed to combine tactical knowledge with strategic planning and direction. A degree in Public Policy is the next logical step in my career by heightening my ability to lead and shape the agencies with whom I work in a proactive and positive manner.
During my tenure at the FDIC, there were many times that I interacted in a managerial and leadership role, as I do in my current position. I continually assume focal roles, and regularly network with others and hone my communication skills. I am outgoing and love to make presentations and help others understand issues. To do this, though, I realize that I not only need expertise in individual issues, but a broader, more scholarly approach to the entire sector of Public Policy and Administration.
In making my decision, I decided that I needed to become far better informed about the concept of Public Administration. I researched the origins of our Federal system, finding that the idea of a union, made up of different components, could only work if there was a strong Federal government that was able to work on the larger issues that would benefit society. For instance, it is unlikely that the Colony of Maryland could have defeated the British for their independence, yet pulling together, despite disagreements and a number of compromises, the Federal system allowed for a more utilitarian approach to modern government (Spicer, 1995). It was then I realized that at times, we take for granted the struggle and complex nature of establishing, nurturing, and helping democracy grow. In fact, looking at the development of the issues caused by globalization, it seems to be that Public Administration is made possible by Federal control, but designed to allow a broader system of government "by the people and for the people" to work more efficiently for the betterment of society. In the view of one Constitutional scholar writing over 50 years ago, Public Administration helps teach society to find the best set of models for the greater public good (White, 1948).
In this manner, we may think of the idea of public service as an extension of public trust. During my time in the military I realized that I was not just representing a flag and a country, but an idea and individuals who counted on our service for protection. In the same manner, working for the FDIC, I realized that most of my generation has no memory of a bank failing, shutting their doors, or the tragedies that occurred as a result of October 1929. Instead, we simply assume that our money is safe, but often do not take into consideration just what it takes from thousands of people, to make that happen. In many ways, these two ideas congregated together to form a central paradigm for me: it is not enough to think about leading, but to help society one must step up to the plate to be a leader.
One might ask what this means for a degree in Public Administration? However, if we look at the issues surrounding Enron, Arthur Anderson, the Housing Crisis, Bernie Madoff and a host of other incidents that have both hurt millions of individuals and contributed to the public's lack of trust in the government, then one can see that at the very core of the field, moving towards a positive and proactive leadership role is absolutely vital. According to the Gallup Poll, as recently as 2010, almost from a two-decade trend, about ae of Americans believe they can only trust the government "some of the time" (Gallup Poll, 2011).
Once I realized that there was such a disconnect between the public's trust in government and the reality of the large majority of governmental workers, I decided that it was time not just to remain a focused tactician, but to aggressively move ahead to become an integral part of the system. To accomplish this, I realized that I needed a broader academic background, and began to reflect that in contemporary Western culture, may adults incorrectly assume that school and learning is a process reserved for the youth. May adults believe themselves incapable of relearning, hence the popular cliche, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." This self-defeating belief, while less common than a few decades previous is still an attempt for many adults to separate themselves from the educational system at large.
This separation is counterproductive and never results in a forward momentum for society. For the government to continue its role, it must be willing to embrace the realities of culture, stakeholder needs, and the evolution of ideas about government. If the government fails to fulfill its role for the public, then eventually there will be no Public Administration. It is with this optimistic viewpoint I decided to pursue advanced study in the field of Public Administration.
Having been an employee of the military and federal government for years, I had a semblance of the structure of Public Administration, yet I did not really understand the theoretical concepts behind the discipline. If we accept that government somehow needs a layer of management to diffuse actions and programs from the Federal to State to Local levels, then Public Administration is about management. I then thought of something I remember one of my relatives saying, "He has a career in Civil Service." It then dawned on me that these two issues were alike -- civil service is what the public expects from its government and various administrative bodies. The key is the attitude of service -- and the realization that in many ways, we are all public servants. However, to take this a step further, particularly in this era of complex global models, requires a more academic background, particularly in areas of theory, so that upon completion of the proposed degree, I can be poised to increase my own service through leadership.
For instance while I was researching the history of Public Administration, I came across two theories that seemed to be repeated in the scholarly literature. The first, called Niskanen's Maximizing theory. This theory holds that bureaucrats will always seek to increase their budgets to fund politically appropriate growth expenditures. The second, Dunleavy's Bureau-Shaping theory, believes that bureaucrats only maximize that part of the budget that is in their own agency's best interests -- in other words, the ebb and flow of the Administration's viewpoint (Raadschelders, 2003; Dunleavy & Carrera, 2013). How could I reconcile these two concepts with my own views of government, the idea of civil service, and the lack of trust the public has in its own government?
How then, can we integrate management, policy effectiveness, and globalism into a cogent definition of Public Administration? With a view towards a combination of military history and some of the great public reformers of the early 20th century, I realized there was only one way to reconcile these theoretical ideas and…