The White House Office of Management and Administration

Authors

  • PERI E. ARNOLD,

    1. Professor of government at the University of Notre Dame and directs Notre Dame's Hesburgh Program in Public Service. He is author of Making the Managerial Presidency and numerous articles and book chapters.
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  • CHARLES E. WALCOTT,

    1. Professor of political science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Among his recent publications, with coauthor Karen Hult, are Governing the White House: From Hoover through LBJ, Governing Public Organizations, and “White House Staff Size: Explanations and Implications” (Presidential Studies Quarterly).
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  • BRADLEY H. PATTERSON JR.

    1. Extensive service in the federal government including fourteen years on the White House staffs of Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford. He is author of The White House Staff: Inside the West Wing and Beyond and Ring of Power: The White House Staff and Its Expanding Role in Government.
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  • AUTHORS' NOTE: This article is part of the White House Interview Program, a project undertaken by presidency scholars and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The program is designed to provide information to incoming staff on White House transitions and operations. See whitehouse2001.org for information on the project.

Abstract

The Office of Management and Administration (OMA) grew out of President Carter's 1977 reorganization of White House administration. Its title dates to the administration of George H. W. Bush. The head of the office, the assistant to the president for management and administration, currently handles numerous White House administrative functions such as salaries, office space, and budgeting, along with the allocation of perquisites like mess privileges and parking. OMA supervises units collectively called “White House Operations,” including the Travel Office, the Visitors Office, the Intern Program, and personnel security. The assistant for management and administration also oversees the White House Military Office. Drawing principally on interviews with former heads of the OMA and its predecessors, this article enumerates the great range of the office's responsibilities, highlights areas of potential controversy, considers the characteristics of a successful OMA manager, and summarizes the diverse approaches that have been taken to running the office.

Ancillary