Most bureaucrats spend their entire professional lives working in the same area, often in the same department.
Lawyers in the Justice Department, scientists at the National Science Foundation, physicians at the National Institutes of Health, and even soybean experts at the USDA all have specialized knowledge as the base of their power.
Because of their expertise, bureaucrats know a lot more about their policy areas than the public or politicians do.
The bureaucrats have a lot of power when it comes to policymaking situations.
The three characteristics of bureaucratic culture discussed so far are identification with and protection of the agency.
As bureaucrats become attached to the policy interests of their agencies, committed to the rules and structures of the bureaucracy, concerned with the fortunes of their superiors, and appreciative of their own and their colleagues' specialized knowledge, they identify their interests with those of their agencies.
They will identify with the department because they believe in what it does, not just because their job depends on it, but also because they believe in what it does.
There are a number of political consequences to this pervasive bureaucratic culture.
It fosters values of commitment and loyalty to what could otherwise be seen as an impersonal and alienating work environment.
It means that the people who work in the federal government believe in what they do and do it well.
There are negative consequences to bureaucratic culture.
Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2002 that the culture likely had a role in the failure of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to anticipate and prevent the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The office in Minneapolis knew that a possible terrorist was looking to take flying lessons.
Minneapolis agents tried to get a warrant to search his computer, but couldn't because they didn't have one.
The implicit norm that field agents did not go over the heads of their superiors was the subject of her testimony.
She told the committee that there was a strong order.
Seven to nine levels is ridiculous.
It was bureaucratic culture that kept the FBI from knowing what information it had prior to September 11.
The cultures are not the same.
The FBI is mostly a law enforcement agency.
The CIA's anti-terrorist activities prior to September 11 were focused on investigations of terrorist attacks, but not on preventing attacks against domestic targets.
It is more secretive and focused on plans and intentions than on evidence and convictions.
The agents focus on relationships.
The two agencies need to work with each other, but they are worlds apart because of their different approaches to life, wrote a reporter covering the two agencies.
They can barely communicate in different languages.
It is relatively easy to cover up agency mistakes when they are charged with making the rules.
This would not be a big problem if Congress, the media, and the public had enough information.
One of the places where the channels of communication are narrow and the news is limited is where specialization concentrates the expertise and information in the hands of the agencies.
The media and Congress are both generalists.
They can tell something has gone wrong when terrorists attack the United States, but they can't evaluate the hundreds of less obvious problems that may have led to the failure to warn.
In the absence of facts, imaginations run wild.
Congress tried to check the temptation for bureaucrats to cover up their mistakes by offering protection to employees who expose instances of error, corruption, or waste in their agencies.
They are not popular with their bosses.
An independent agency was established to protect employees from being retaliated against for exposing wrongdoing.
The act's intention to protect whistleblowers is one way to counteract the negative tendency of organizational behavior, but it does little to offset the pressure that bureaucrats are under to protect their programs and agencies from harm, embarrassment, and budget cuts.
The law didn't work as supporters had hoped.
Over the past ten years, there have been an average of 835 complaints of punishment by the agency.
There is a problem with distinguishing valid claims of government wrongdoing from illegal behavior, or distinguishing insider information that is used to feed partisan attacks on an administration from valid information about coverups or bureaucratic wrong-doing.
partisan noise made it difficult to determine if any of the claims had merit.
There is a huge gulf between those who are appointed by the president and those who are long-term civil service employees.
About 3,500 of the two million employees in the U.S. civil service are appointed by the president or his or her immediate subordinates.
Government employees can feel protective of the legacy and mission of the agency they work for.
If the agency's mission is not a priority for a president, or if it runscounter to the president's own goals, it can lead to low morale.
NASA and the EPA are concerned about the Trump administration's skepticism about climate change.
Presidential appointees are sometimes considered "birds of passage" by the career service because of the regularity with which they come and go.
Appointees have their own careers or the president's agenda as their primary objective rather than the long-established mission of the agency.
The rank-and-file civil service employees are committed to their agencies.
When the ideology of a newly elected president varies sharply from the central values of the agency, there can be major rifts.
It has been found that presidents want to put their own people, rather than career civil service managers, in the higher ranks of agencies that do not agree with their policy preferences.
The emphasis on climate science in resource management was reduced, a ban on coal mining on federal lands was eliminated, and most of the U.S. offshore areas were opened up to oil and gas exploration.