On Monday, President Trump is unveiling a new office, headed by senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, that will attempt to draw on the business world to revamp the federal bureaucracy, potentially by privatizing some government roles. The White House Office of American Innovation has been meeting informally twice a week and reaching out to top business leaders since shortly after Trump's inauguration, and Kushner's list of targets is ambitious: overhauling the Veterans Affairs Department, modernizing the IT infrastructure of every federal agency, transforming workforce training programs, and tackling America's heroin and opioid problem, among other goals.
"Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants," The Washington Post says, "the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind, and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements." Kushner, a 36-year-old former real estate and media executive, will add the role of innovation SWAT team leader to his already substantial portfolio, which includes acting as a key adviser on foreign and domestic policy and White House personnel, and point man on relations with Mexico, China, Canada, and the Middle East.
The innovation office includes White House National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, strategic initiatives adviser Chris Liddell, technology adviser Reed Cordish, deputy national security adviser and economic adviser Dina Powell, and Domestic Policy Council director Andrew Bremberg. Kushner will report directly to Trump, and he describes the council as a non-ideological innovation factory, with a focus on technology and data. "We should have excellence in government," Kushner told The Washington Post, adding a novel twist to the idea that the government serves the public. "The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens."