Stanford Scholar Issues Call to Action to Protect and Reform the U.S. Civil Service

A new working group led by Francis Fukuyama seeks to protect and reform the U.S. civil service by promoting nonpartisan, effective, and adaptable workforce practices while opposing politicization efforts like "Schedule F."
A red pedestrian traffic light in front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. A red pedestrian traffic light in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, is leading an effort to protect and reform the U.S. public service. He has organized a Working Group to Protect and Reform the Civil Service in response to plans elaborated in the Heritage Foundation's Project 2025 to strip civil service protections from all federal workers and replace them with political loyalists in a future administration.

The Need for Reform

A group of nonpartisan experts and scholars recently convened at the National Academy of Public Administration to discuss civil service reform. This discussion is critical in light of plans to revive "Schedule F," an executive order that would reclassify many federal positions, remove civil service protections, and allow political loyalty to dictate hiring and firing.

A Better Vision

The Working Group proposes an alternative vision for a more effective federal workforce based on five principles:

  1. Agility: Modernizing outdated systems to adapt to technological, economic, and social changes.

  2. Accountability: Ensuring federal employees remain loyal to the Constitution while being responsive to elected officials.

  3. Collaboration: Leveraging skills and knowledge across various sectors, including private industries and universities.

  4. Outcomes: Focusing on producing real-world results valued by the public and simplifying government procedures.

  5. Capacity: Providing federal workers with the skills, training, and education needed to fulfill their missions effectively.

Risks of “Schedule F”

Reviving “Schedule F” would undermine these goals, promoting politicization over merit-based results. Government workers might avoid necessary risks and innovation if judged on political loyalty. The Working Group plans to detail further how the federal government can evolve to meet these challenges and become a 21st-century government.

Fukuyama and the Working Group call for support in protecting and reforming the civil service to ensure a competent, non-partisan, and effective federal workforce. Click here to read their statement in full.

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