What is the Stennis Center for Public Service?
One of the things that surprised me when I discovered this organization was the principles under which it operates. Many individuals may not have heard of the Stennis Center for Public Service but it is one with which we all should become familiar, especially its mission. This center was named after John Stennis who served 42 years in the Senate for the state of Mississippi. The principles which were important to him can be seen in the mission of this organization. The main principle cited in its mission statement is the belief that no government can be better than the people who make it work. To me this is a novel concept which seems to lack the exposure it deserves. The focus of this organization is also on people over policy. The concept of putting people over policy needs to be embraced by all government officials whether local, state or federal.
To get a better idea of the mission and scope of this organization below is the mission statement.
“The Stennis Center believes no government, regardless of its history and structure, can be better than the people who make it work. That is why our focus is on people over policy. We are confident that if we can get the best possible people in public service leadership, we will also get good policy.”
The principle identified in the above mission statement is an important one and one which we as voters should strive to accomplish. The mandate for the center is to attract young people to careers in public service, and to offer development opportunities for senior congressional staff. Along with the principles they operate there are several resources which connect to various government organizations. This organization was created by Congress in 1988 and it is hoped that it is never abolished as a result of the budget issues. As long as there are enough funds from the interest on the $7.5 million dollars in Treasury Securities Congress provided when it created this organization in 1988 it will be around. The one danger an organization like this faces is an action by Congress to eliminate it.
Leadership programs and the resources provided by way of this organization provide opportunities for developing individuals to become leaders. For some individuals this may not be a hard task to achieve while others it will be more difficult. It is indeed rare for a government organization to provide a mechanism to learn what being a leader represents and what it takes to be one.
Examples of programs this agency provides includes newly elected members of Congress are provided the opportunity to acquire a working knowledge of the military that do not have prior military experience. Another example involves connecting prospective commanding officers and members of Congress to enhance civil-military relationships. There are numerous other examples of programs which this organization provides to enhance the quality of leaders in public service. All the efforts and the objective can be seen in the mission statement provided earlier. It is hoped that the readers of this article become familiar with this organization in an effort to not only understand what it represents but to help it achieve the purpose for which was created.
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