President Donald Trump wants the federal government to weed out hundreds of no longer needed or inactive advisory committees from its roster.
The president’s executive order on Friday called for each agency by Sept. 30 to “terminate at least one-third of its current committees,” which were established under Section 9(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
An exemption is allowed for so-called “merit review panels” or advisory committees that were formed to “provide scientific expertise to support agencies making decisions related to the safety or efficacy of products to be marketed to American consumers.”
Other exemptions include those agencies with fewer than three eligible committees and those that obtain a waiver from the Office of Management and Budget director.
The White House seeks to reduce the number of advisory committees from upward of 1,000 to no more than 350 governmentwide.
Federal advisory committees have long been a useful tool for government agencies to solve technical issues and bring about operational efficiencies for both regulators and the private sector.
For the past 30 years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has relied on a select group of private-sector compliance specialists from among the nation’s top importers and related services providers, known as the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC), to help shape cross-border trade policies and procedures that enhance national security while allowing for legitimate cargo facilitation. COAC is scheduled to meet in Buffalo, N.Y., on Aug. 21.
In 2011, the Commerce Department established the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC), which includes about 45 private-sector members, to provide advice on shaping the national freight infrastructure and freight policy to support U.S. supply chain and export competitiveness.
While the government agencies carefully choose private-sector representatives to participate on these advisory committees, the companies, trade associations and institutions themselves cover the costs of travel and time out of the office for their employees to be involved.
The president’s order has many advisory committees questioning whether to proceed with scheduling meetings for the last quarter of the year until they know for certain that they have made the cut. Members of the ACSCC raised this question during a meeting on Wednesday at the Commerce Department’s headquarters in Washington with regard to planning its Oct. 21-22 meeting in Laredo, Texas.
Rick Blasgen, president and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, who chairs the ACSCC, told the committee to “proceed as we should with the work that we do.” He also said the ACSCC will continue with plans to file for its November recharter.