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Planning and Operational Processes

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The CFTC is transforming its planning processes to ensure all activities create a comprehensive and integrated approach to effectively fulfilling its mandate. To achieve this: 1) the CFTC’s Mission Statement, Strategic Goals, and Objectives must articulate the Commission’s direction and desired outcomes; 2) tactical or annual operating plans are developed, budgeted, and executed to implement the goals and objectives and day-to-day activities; and 3) performance metrics are established and applied to determine level of success and to provide a means for review, evaluation, and effective improvement. The CFTC’s transformation is evident in many ways at the Division and Office levels and at the CFTC as a whole. A Manager for Strategic and Operational Planning has been hired as well as a Business Manager for each Division. New techniques are being employed to establish, assign responsibility, and track priorities to completion. Cross divisional teams are working on more than 60 rules and studies and all activities are being tracked and managed in one place with continuous oversight.

Together, these planning, execution, and review actions create a structure to best identify and accomplish priorities and make the most efficient use of CFTC resources. Development and communication of the Strategic Plan and operational activities inform all CFTC staff, other domestic and international agencies, derivatives market participants, and the public of the direction of the Commission and how it will measure success. These long-range planning and execution processes provide a framework to effectively adjust programs in response to market, financial, and regulatory contingencies.


The CFTC employed a more inclusive approach to develop, adopt, and implement this new long-range Strategic Plan. This Strategic Plan was created by the CFTC under the direction of CFTC’s senior leaders, Commissioners, and the Chairman. As a result, the Strategic Plan represents the direction that will be taken to fulfill the regulatory mandate placed on the CFTC. This direction establishes the long-term programmatic requirements, which will be translated into mid and short-term operational activities.

Concurrent with the development of the Commission’s Strategic Plan and the mid and short-term operational activities, staff determined the related resource requirements to carry out the proposed effort. The resource requirements include, among other things, staffing, IT, contractual, and ancillary needs. The anticipated resource requirements were reviewed for overall reasonableness and effectiveness before finalizing the Strategic Plan. The CFTC Strategic Plan and associated resource requirements were thoroughly vetted and approved by the Commission and the Chairman.

Looking Forward

The approved Strategic Plan forms the basis for each fiscal year’s annual operating plan and associated activities and requirements. The proposed Annual Operating Plan establishes the basis and justification for the Commission’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congressional budget requests. When the annual appropriation is finalized and placed into law, the fiscal year Annual Operating Plan is adjusted as necessary and executed by staff.

At the end of the fiscal year or at the conclusion of individual activities, staff evaluate performance and resource utilization against the performance measures identified in the Strategic Plan and in the budget. These evaluations tell the Commission how effective it has been and whether adjustments are needed in future program activities or resource allocations.

The described process, while informal, has been in place and has been effective. However, as the Commission grows in scope of work and size a more formal documented set of planning processes are being developed as described in Goal 5. The development and implementation of this formal set of processes will ensure the continued success and effectiveness of the CFTC.


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