Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank Awards


December 8, 1986


Thank you. I don't know why, but it seems to sound better. [The President was referring to lengthy applause.] Thank you. [Laughter] Well, welcome to the White House. You may not have thought this building was a part of the White House; that's what they call it. Maybe White House complex would be better, but that sounds like a neurosis. [Laughter] Well, anyway, it's a pleasure to be here with you today. As you know, we're here to honor the top guns of the Federal Establishment, the best of the best in serving the American people.


When our administration came to Washington 6 years ago, we promised the American people a government that stopped doing what it shouldn't be doing and did well whatever was left. Our honorees today are helping to fulfill that promise. They lead the leaders of the Federal Establishment. They've been chosen the most outstanding members of the Senior Executive Service. We should always remember that their work is important, not only in the immediate sense of what they do but in a broader way as well. Yes, their jobs may be managerial or technical, but in a broader sense their work is to help ensure the success of the greatest experiment in self-government in the history of the world -- an experiment called the United States of America.


And just in case you're thinking that when I went over to Ireland a few years back I sneaked in a side trip and kissed the Blarney Stone, let me tell you about just a few of our awardees. Among them is Frederick Rall, who's been called the father of the modern Air Force. Then there's John Simpson, the Director of the Secret Service, the man who planned protection for all the Presidential candidates in 1984, for the Los Angeles Olympics, for the 40th anniversary celebrations at the United Nations, and who currently serves as President of Interpol. And there's one of the world's outstanding researchers on the workings of the human brain, Dr. Frederick Goodwin. To give you an idea of the impact of Dr. Goodwin's work, I'm told he's in the top one-tenth of 1 percent of all scientists most frequently cited in scholarly writings.


I could go on and on, but -- some of you are leaders in the critical work of getting Federal spending under control. Some of you are leading in rebuilding America's defense. Charles Nemfakos is helping to bring the 600-ship Navy to reality -- under budget. Others are helping to formulate and implement policy at the highest levels of diplomatic, military, and trade issues. Still others are enforcing the laws of our country, while others are making Federal programs give good service to their clients. I'm very proud of every one of you. And I know your colleagues and your families are proud.


So, let me just say, on behalf of the American people, thank you for all you're doing for our country. And now I'm going to turn to Connie Horner, who is going to officiate from here on.


Note: The President spoke at 1:30 p.m. in Room 450 of the Old Executive Office Building. Constance Horner, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, read the names of the recipients.