What are the responsibilities and authority of the Bureau of Public Debt?
The public debt is a topic that seems to forever be in the news and rightly so. The amount of public debt is enormous at this point in time. The Bureau of Public Debt is more than likely an organization which many may never knew existed. This organization is heavily involved with the public debt and at today’s level of debt it is even more involved. The Bureau of Public Debt was formed on June 30, 1940. As part of the responsibilities of this bureau is to establish a strategic plan for which the current one in place covers fiscal years 2009 – 2014. Over the last twenty years the bureau has assumed additional responsibilities. These include administering government securities regulations, handling all Treasury operations involving federal investments and borrowings, and providing various shared services to other federal agencies.
The mission of the Bureau of Public Debt is to borrow the money needed to operate the federal government, account for the resulting debt, and provide reimbursable support services to federal agencies. The borrowing is a result of selling treasury bills, notes and bonds in addition to U.S. Savings Bonds. The values of this bureau are: information, informality, integrity, inclusion and individual respect.
The vision for the Bureau of public debt is to lead the way for responsible, effective government through commitment to service, efficient operations, openness to change, and
values-based behavior. The values of this vision are something all government agencies and departments should strive to meet in their operations. Examples of these values vision of this bureau are:
Personally demonstrating and modeling values in all our work behaviors, decision making, and interactions.
Using organizational values to help set priorities in our daily work life.
Letting values guide strategic directions, organizational goals, and the program decisions.
Recognizing employees whose way of working embodies organizational values.
Hiring and promoting employees whose actions are congruent with our values.
The examples of the values vision of this bureau are again something that all governmental organizations at all levels should strive to meet. While these values are great the real test comes in whether the actions of those employed by this bureau embrace these visions. This is not to say that employees of this bureau only that what is said organizationally should be matched in the actions taken by all employees.
In addition to the visions there are five programs for which this bureau is responsible. They are:
Wholesale Securities Services – This program ensures that the government’s critical financing needs are met and that the integrity and efficiency of primary and secondary markets for Treasury securities are maintained. This program includes all activities related to the sale and issuance of $4.5 trillion in Treasury securities each year.
Government Agency Investment Services - This program includes the offering of specialized investments for government entities at the federal, state and local levels, as well as borrowings by federal agencies.
Retail Security Services - This program serves more than 55 million investors in Treasury securities, most of whom are individuals. It encompasses the issuance, servicing, and redemption of U.S. Savings Bonds in both electronic and paper form, as well as marketable Treasury securities sold in electronic form directly to retail investors.
Summary debt accounting – This program is the key to meeting our responsibility to account for the more than $9 trillion of public debt and more than $400 billion in related annual interest expenses.
ARC franchise Services – This program provides superior reimbursable administrative and information technology services to a wide variety of federal agencies that look to the bureau to support their needs reliably and cost effectively.
As you can see the involvement of this bureau in our public debt is broad in scope but yet we never hear much about the work this bureau is doing. This article is an attempt to bring about a better understanding of this bureau and their responsibilities with regards to the public debt.