Our Story

The professional relationships at the core of CTSI began to develop almost 20 years ago, following publication of Michael Barzelay’s Breaking Through Bureaucracy: A New Vision for Managing in Government. Many of the Academic Fellows at CTSI were in close communication with Michael Barzelay whilst he was writing Breaking Through Bureaucracy in the 1987-91 period as a junior faculty member at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The initial origins in consultancy work lie in a Synergy Inc. project for the Principal Deputy Director of Defense Logistics Agency, conducted in 1992, which brought about the redirection and reorganization of this U.S. defense agency, led by Dr Terrence Colvin and Michael Barzelay.  A Harvard case study of this experience was subsequently published, click here to read this.

Experience in academic-practitioner consultancy accumulated in parallel with writing and publishing academic work on public sector management. Don Mizaur, Terry Colvin, and Michael Barzelay individually and often together worked on projects for various agencies, including EPA, NIH, the U.S. Air Force’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs (then-Lt Gen Lawrence Farell), and the U.S. Air Force’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics (then-Lt Gen John W. Handy).

An especially formative experience was a year-long consulting project in 1995-96 for the Commander, Air Force Materiel Command (then-Gen George T. Babbitt, Jr.), during which Michael Barzelay, Don Mizaur, and Fred Thompson assisted with the implementation of a dramatically novel approach to organization, planning, and accounting.  This project resulted in a publication issued by the IBM Center for the Business of Government, (click here for the link) and a journal article in Public Administration Review, “Responsibility Budgeting at Air Force Materiel Command.”

The Brookings book, Preparing for the Future: Strategic Planning in the U.S. Air Force, by Michael Barzelay and Colin Campbell, became a key reference point for the academics and executives who came together to establish CTSI.

The ideas in the book below inspired CTSI and the writing, research, and teaching that has occurred on the basis of book has brought together the CTSI board and core team.

Preparing for the future: strategic planning in the U.S. Air Force By Michael Barzelay, Colin Campbell