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Donald Kettl
Academic Dean

Donald Kettl

Donald F. Kettl is dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland and the author of many books, including The Next Government of the United States and Leadership at the Fed.

Archive: Donald Kettl

Painting yourself into a corner

Even if Walker wins, he won't get any extra budget savings, and he's surely going to make it harder to...

By Donald Kettl | March 1, 2011; 08:51 AM ET | Comments (5)


The challenge for the future, in growing 21st century jobs, was forceful and engaging. The blueprint for getting government and its budget under control, however, was much weaker...

By Donald Kettl | January 25, 2011; 11:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Making the case for civility

The Tucson tragedy is at least a momentary reset in the super-heated discussion in Washington. The truth is that no one knows what the long-run impact is going to be, and everyone is scrambling to find the right note...

By Donald Kettl | January 11, 2011; 07:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

Close encounters of the unpleasant kind

TSA is in a tough spot. Every encounter with the screening process is destined to be unpleasant: inconvenient waits, intrusions into personal privacy, the risks of rude workers--all the fun of dealing with the IRS, with the awful specter of September 11 in the background as the inescapable reason for the encounter to begin with...

By Donald Kettl | November 22, 2010; 07:25 PM ET | Comments (3)

Draper's search for identity

All of the tensions that have made a shambles of his personal life, and the lives of so many people around him, have made him an award-winning idea guy. Without Don's fierce and brutal search for identity, there would be no Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and the Time-Life Building would be looking for a new tenant on its...

By Donald Kettl | October 18, 2010; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Can a movement lead without leaders?

It's one thing to mobilize the troops. It's another to focus them on winning the war. Open-source organizations like the Tea Partiers are great at mobilizing but...

By Donald Kettl | September 21, 2010; 04:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Falling back on the same old song

A leader needs a compass to guide the way through the uncertainty that always comes with tough decisions. Malcom X reminds us that "If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything." But falling back on the same map for every question that comes up is...

By Donald Kettl | September 7, 2010; 08:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Our feuding Founding Fathers

We revere the founders now and hold their Declaration up as an enduring document of great ideas--which it is--and a ringing sign of their unity--which it wasn't.

By Donald Kettl | July 1, 2010; 12:19 PM ET | Comments (3)

A meal for the brave

It's hard to think of any other leader who has to push out so far in to the future and convince so many diverse constituents to follow.

By Donald Kettl | May 25, 2010; 06:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Eager for free lunches

In the hunt for the Times Square wanna-be bomber, we nailed it cold. Despite everyone's best efforts, the Gulf is a mess. What's the difference?

By Donald Kettl | May 6, 2010; 01:09 PM ET | Comments (21)

Blind obedience need not apply

Smart leaders lead by identifying the big goals, communicating them to their teammates, gathering the resources to get the job done, and licensing their junior leaders to lead.

By Donald Kettl | April 23, 2010; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Feeding the ravenous beast

Ducking and weaving and blaming and ignoring rarely works in the short term and never works in the long term.

By Donald Kettl | April 6, 2010; 06:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Original 'Tea Party' leaders

Sam Adams was a firebrand, while John Adams was more measured. Sam is now known for the beer that bears his name. John Adams became president of the United States.

By Donald Kettl | March 23, 2010; 05:59 AM ET | Comments (36)

A refreshing breath of off-message reality

How do we know what's real and what's artificial? A sly peek at a leader's vices helps make them real people.

By Donald Kettl | March 3, 2010; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Commandant Thad Allen

We don't need leaders focused on their own organizations. We need leaders ready to focus on the big-picture problem.

By Donald Kettl | February 21, 2010; 12:06 PM ET | Comments (8)

Leading the 'party of no'

It's one thing to stir people to action. It's another to show them which way to go.

By Donald Kettl | February 9, 2010; 05:41 AM ET | Comments (220)

Bold truth, political suicide

What we need most now isn't just leadership. It's civility, so we can talk about the issues that matter.

By Donald Kettl | February 2, 2010; 03:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

The politics of small things

Government isn't about serving the little things. It's about dreaming the big things and reaching for them.

By Donald Kettl | January 25, 2010; 04:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

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