Ask the Experts

Getting Ahead of Risks Before They Become Government Failures

An Imperative for Agency Leaders to Embrace Enterprise Risk Management

Several recent reports and studies have detailed a range of worsening trends and developments that are creating an increased risk for significant government failure. Many of the reports offer recommendations for action by Congress and the Administration. However, they do not go as far to suggest and recognize what agency leaders can do, and in many cases are doing, to help address these challenges. This paper, from the Senior Executives Association (SEA) and the Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM), aims to highlight how agency leaders can use enterprise risk management to reduce the risk of government failure while increasing the likelihood for the successful delivery of agency missions.

Summary of April 2018 ERM Workshop: Beyond Compliance, Driving Organizational Value

On April 16, 2018, the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and the Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM) held the second annual enterprise risk management (ERM) workshop with federal government professionals. This workshop provided an opportunity for over 150 professionals to hear ERM thought leadership from senior government leaders and discuss with their colleagues how ERM can, and is, driving organizational value and enhancing performance. This summary report shares the information discussed during this workshop.

“Risk Appetite” Statement – USAID (June 2018)

The purpose of the Risk Appetite Statement (hereinafter “Statement”) is to provide USAID (or “Agency”) staff with broad-based guidance on the amount and type of risk the Agency is willing to accept – based on an evaluation of opportunities and threats at an organizational level, and in key risk categories – to achieve the Agency’s mission and objectives. The Statement is a critical component in USAID’s overall effort to achieve effective Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), and the leadership of the Agency reviews and updates the Statement annually as the ERM program matures and needs evolve.
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OMB Circular A-123, Appendix A (June 6, 2018)

Grounded in the President’s Management Agenda, this guidance will:
• Provide agencies the discretion needed to use Enterprise Risk Management and take a risk-based approach to internal controls over reporting;
• Eliminate over 100+ pages of burden and obsolete, overly prescriptive guidance to agencies; and,
• Supersede previous OMB guidance that may have provided a confusing foundation for audit criteria externally.

 

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DHS HQ Risk Lexicon

This is the second edition of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Risk Lexicon and represents an update of the version published in September 2008. More than seventy terms and definitions were included in the first edition of the DHS Risk Lexicon. The 2010 edition includes fifty new terms and definitions in addition to revised definitions for twenty-three of the original terms. It was produced by the DHS Risk Steering Committee (RSC). The RSC, chaired by the Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate and administered by the Office of Risk Management and Analysis (RMA), has produced a DHS Risk Lexicon with definitions for terms that are fundamental to the practice of homeland security risk management and analysis.
The RSC is the risk governance structure for DHS, with membership from across the Department, formed to leverage the risk management capabilities of the DHS Components and to advance Departmental efforts toward integrated risk management. The DHS Risk Lexicon makes available a common, unambiguous set of official terms and definitions to ease and improve the communication of risk-related issues for DHS and its partners. It facilitates the clear exchange of structured and unstructured data that is essential to the exchange of ideas and information amongst risk practitioners by fostering consistency and uniformity in the usage of risk-related terminology for the Department. The RSC created the Risk Lexicon Working Group (RLWG) to represent the DHS risk community of interest (COI) in the development of a professional risk lexicon. The RLWG’s risk lexicon development and management process is in accordance with the DHS Lexicon Program. Terms, definitions, extended definitions, annotations, and examples are developed through a collaborative process that is open to all DHS Components.

Definitions are validated against glossaries used by other countries and professional associations. Terms, definitions, extended definitions, annotations, and examples are then standardized grammatically according to the conventions of the DHS Lexicon Program. All terms in the DHS Risk Lexicon were completed using this process and represent the collective work of the DHS risk COI. The DHS Risk Lexicon terms and definitions will be included as part of the DHS Lexicon, and future additions and revisions will be coordinated by the RSC and RLWG in collaboration with the DHS Lexicon Program.