In a Nov. 10, 1961 directive, President John F. Kennedy created the boards to serve as government communication field offices helping coordinate the work of agencies outside the Washington, D.C. area.
It was the era of “Ask not what your country can do for you …” and the same year the Peace Corps was created. However, FEBs, then and now, are little known outside of the federal community.
FEBs act as communication switchboards between the feds in Washington and employees in the field. The boards can act as Washington’s megaphone to better get the word out but also provide D.C. policymakers with an ear to the ground .
“The boards help the federal government confront today’s challenges and reduce expenses by helping agencies meet their missions and address their workforce needs through collaboration,” stated Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), who sponsored the FEB resolution, in a release. The resolution garnered cosponsor support from Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.).
About 85 percent of federal employees actually work outside the D.C. region. There are 28 Federal Executive Boards in 22 states scattered across the country.
Watch a video marking the 50th anniversary of the FEBs: