By Kevin Meyer
Earlier this year I started to ponder the sudden propensity of our new administration to create czars… ostensibly in a democracy no less.
request, or outright appointment, of a "czar" of something or another
in Obama's new administration. Nancy Killefer as "performance czar"
(or "czarina"?), for example. I'm sure there will soon be a "green
czar" and a "climate czar" and of course there's Dr. Sanjay Gupta as
Surgeon General… effectively a "czar by any other name." I opened up
my latest issue of Men's Fitness to find an editorial asking for
another "fitness czar." A couple weeks ago we were discussing an "auto
Of course we know by now that many of those particular czar nominees have since withdrawn for a variety of reasons I won't comment on. My biggest problem was with the concept of such positions in the first place.
And what is the accountability and authority? Without authority and
accountability, responsibility is a myth and true performance is
probably a pipe dream. Czars without authority and accountability set targets and goals,
which simply leads to gaming the system by those also without
accountability to the authority-less czar.
Ah yes… this will be fun. Czars and czarinas, already redundant with
the responsibility of existing government organizations, spewing
targets and goals galore with no one truly accountable to them, all
trying to figure out how to make themselves look good. Gotta love it.
Let the dysfunction begin.
And continue. Because soon there will be another… a "cyber czar."
czar" position, stepping up his administration's efforts to better
protect the nation's computer networks. The cybersecurity chief will report to both the National Security
Council and the National Economic Council, a compromise resulting from
a fierce White House turf battle over the responsibilities and powers
of the new office.
Not only will there be no true responsibility and accountability… this particular czar will report to two feuding organizations.
The overall goal to improve cyber security is a good one. Using czars to drive execution won't be effective.