Purpose. This Circular provides guidance and
instructions on the management of Federal advisory committees and requires
Executive Departments and agencies to establish a committee planning and review
Background. On February 10, 1993, the President signed
Executive Order 12838, "Termination and Limitation of Federal Advisory
Committees," which requires each Executive Department and agency to reduce the
number of discretionary committees by one-third. New discretionary advisory
committees are subject to review and approval by the Director of OMB.
On June 28, 1994, the Vice President issued a memorandum reiterating
Administration policy regarding the maintenance of the reduction targets
mandated by Executive Order 12838, as well as new guidance relating to
Executive Branch action on advisory committees proposed by statute. The Vice
President's memorandum also called for additional savings in committee costs
over and above those achieved under E.O. 12838, as recommended by the National
Performance Review (NPR).
Policy. The Administration is committed to maintaining
advisory committees as a way of ensuring public and expert involvement and
advice in Federal decision-making. At the same time, the number and cost of
advisory committees must be carefully managed. Advisory committees should get
down to the public's business, complete it and then go out of business.
Agencies should review and eliminate advisory committees that are obsolete,
duplicative, low priority or serve a special, rather than national interest.
New advisory committees should be established only when essential to the
attainment of clearly defined Executive Branch priorities, as defined by E.O.
12838, and when they will not exceed an agency's advisory committee ceiling as
established by the Executive order's reduction requirement.
Administration will generally not support the establishment of new statutory
committees or legislative language that exempts advisory committees from
coverage under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). In addition, each
agency should make a concerted effort to work with its Congressional oversight
committees to reduce the number of existing committees required by statute.
Definitions. For purposes of this Circular, definitions for
"advisory committee," "agency," and other terms are the same as defined in
GSA's implementation regulations for the Federal Advisory Committee Act (41 CFR
Part 101-6). In addition:
A "non-discretionary advisory committee" is
an advisory committee either mandated by Presidential directive or by statute
and is subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. A "non-discretionary
advisory committee" mandated by statute is: (1) specifically identified by
name, specific purpose or function in statute, and (2) a committee whose
creation or termination is beyond an agency's legal discretion. Advisory
committees referenced by general ( non-specific) authorizing language or
committee report language will not be considered "non-discretionary." In
addition, where a statute requires an advisory committee as defined above, but
allows for one or more committees, only one committee shall be considered to be
required by statute.
Required Action. Each Executive Department and agency shall
report to OMB annually on the results of its efforts to maintain discretionary
committee levels required by E.O. 12838, and other actions to reduce its
inventory of non-discretionary statutory committees. This submission will be
used by the Director of OMB as the basis for approving requests to establish
Agency advisory committee management plans will be submitted to
OMB and GSA each year and include:
(a) performance measures used to evaluate each committee's
progress in achieving its stated goals or mission;
(b) plans for the establishment of any new advisory committees
during the coming fiscal year;
(c) a summary of actions taken to ensure the advisory committee
reduction goal is maintained; and
(d) the results of a review of non-discretionary advisory
committees and plans to continue, terminate or merge these groups through
legislation. This will include a list of those committees established by
specific statutory authority during the current fiscal year regardless of their
coverage under the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
With regard to non-discretionary advisory committees mandated by
statute, the agency will notify GSA of plans to establish such committees prior
to filing the charter required by section 9(c) of the Federal Advisory
Committee Act. Such notification will provide GSA with at least 10 working days
to review the proposed committee charter and advise the agency of its
OMB Responsibilities. The Office of Management and Budget
(a) review and approve agency advisory committee management plans
pursuant to Section 5 and in accordance with the Executive order;
(b) set advisory committee ceilings for each agency within the
government-wide advisory committee reduction goal established by the Executive
(c) work with agencies to control the establishment of
statutory advisory committees and develop legislation to terminate those
non-discretionary committees which are no longer necessary;
(d) ensure that relevant legislation is reviewed consistent
with OMB Circular A-19; and
(e) ensure agencies meet the cost reduction target recommended
by the Vice President's National Performance Review.
GSA Responsibilities. The General Services Administration
shall (in addition to its responsibilities under the FACA and as an agency
under Section 5 above):
(a) prepare required justifications and recommendations specified
in Section 5 for each advisory committee subject to the FACA and not sponsored
by another department or agency;
(b) assist OMB in its management and oversight of advisory
committees, including tracking agency compliance with the reduction goals
specified by E.O. 12838;
(c) develop guidance, specific reporting formats and
instructions to implement Section 5 of this Circular. To the extent
practicable, new reporting requirements will be limited to information not
readily available through existing sources of data;
(d) provide recommendations to OMB and each agency regarding
the continuance or management of advisory committees as required by Section
7(b) of FACA, which mandates an annual comprehensive review of all advisory
(e) implement section 5(2) of this Circular.
Information Contact. Questions about this Circular should be
addressed to the Federal Services Branch (202) 395-5090. Questions concerning
the role of GSA should be directed to the Committee Management Secretariat
Termination Review Date. This Circular will be subject to
review two years after issuance.
Effective Date. This Circular is effective upon issuance.