All Federal Departments are required to prepare strategic plans that identify their key goals and objectives, their strategies for attaining them, and measures of progress. USDA's most recent strategic plan covers FY 2014-2018.
USDA’s Strategic Goal 4, “Ensure that all of America's children have access to safe, nutritious and balanced meals,” sets out the major objectives for the 15 Federal nutrition assistance programs administered by the Food and Nutrition Service – programs designed to work together to improve food security and diet quality for children and low-income people throughout the United States. Goal 4 includes performance measures that assess progress with regard to these outcomes.
USDA’s Strategic Goal 4, Ensure that All of America's Children Have Access to Safe, Nutritious and Balanced Meals
The work of the Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services mission area is captured under two of the Goal 4 supporting objectives:
Objective 4.1: Improve Access to Nutritious Food - representing FNS’s efforts to reduce and prevent hunger by providing food-based nutrition assistance program benefits.
Objective 4.2: Promote Healthy Diet and Physical Activity Behaviors - representing the work of FNS, along with its sister agency, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), to support and encourage healthful diets through state- of-the art, science-based nutrition guidance and information, and strong nutrient standards and nutrition education.
USDA's strategic plan provides an organizing structure for a corporate priority-setting process that promotes focused and effective management of scarce administrative resources.
USDA Goal 5: Create a USDA for the 21st century That Is High-Performing, Efficient, and Adaptable
Objective 5.1 – Develop a customer-Centric, inclusive, and high-performing workforce by investing in and engaging employees to improve service delivery
USDA employees work on the frontlines every day to serve the country and its taxpayers, whether it is through battling wildfires or ensuring the safety of our Nation’s food supply. Since the employees are responsible for providing these services, it is imperative that the workforce be equipped with the skills and abilities to effectively and efficiently carry out the Department’s responsibilities. To effectively develop the workforce, therefore, USDA is focusing on ensuring that the skills and competencies of its employees are appropriately assessed and improved upon. At the same time, the Department is striving to institute an inclusive and high-performance culture that not only values the differences offered by a diverse workforce, but also leverages those differences to better serve the Department’s customers. To further improve performance, the Department is engaging its workforce in the development and implementation of innovative solutions to the challenges of today.
Objective 5.2 – Build a safe, secure and efficient workplace by leveraging technology and shared solutions across organizational boundaries
In order to effectively serve the public and deliver the programs and services to USDA customers in the future, the Department must modernize its operations and administrative support structures. With a modern structure and workplace, the Department can more quickly and efficiently support America’s farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, rural communities and other USDA stakeholders. In addition, by creating a modern workplace, the Department can better ensure the security of the USDA facilities infrastructure and the safety of employees and customers across the country.
A key provision to this modern workplace will be the focus on streamlining operations and creating an environment through which employees can be as effective as possible. To achieve these streamlining targets, the Department will look across its entire portfolio of operations to identify opportunities to reduce the time and effort required to deliver its programs and services. Through coordinated and continuous process improvements, USDA will reduce the burden on its employees and the public while enhancing program delivery. In addition, the Department will also strive to improve the effectiveness of its employees through the increased implementation of technology solutions and workplace enhancements, such as telework. These improvements will enable USDA to become more flexible in its service delivery and more adaptable and responsive to the needs of its employees and customer base.
Objective 5.3 – Maximize the return on taxpayer investment in USDA through stewardship of resources and focused program evaluations
In order to become a truly modern organization, the Department will need to improve the efficiency and efficacy with which it utilizes taxpayer resources to deliver services to the public. Intrinsic to these improvements will be an enhanced focus on being good stewards of the financial and property resources entrusted to the Department. Key to such stewardship will be a continued focus of the Department on the accuracy of payments being made through USDA programs. USDA will continue to strive to reduce its rate of improper payments to ensure that the program resources are being received by the intended recipients.