These are trying and uncertain days for federal employees. Their compensation and contribution to the nation are under scrutiny as never before. Public support is low. The nation’s leaders are engaged in debate on how to readjust the size and role of government. And meanwhile, federal workers are retiring in large numbers.

As the nation celebrates Public Service Recognition Week, Federal Times asked leaders in the federal community to reflect on the state of federal public service and on what, if anything, should be done to improve it. Following are excerpts of their responses.