The Postal Service has been an important American institution since the birth of the nation. However, its organization and legal framework have failed to keep pace with changing times. The last institutional reform of the postal system was in 1970, when the Post Office Department was replaced by the modern, independent, and “business-like” Postal Service.
In 1970, the core mission of the Postal Service was still the timely exchange of first-class letter communications. Today, although letter mail remains significant, the primary functions of the Postal Service have shifted to distribution of packages, advertisements, and other commercial material.
In these activities, the Postal Service operates not as a monopoly supplier of governmental services but as a part of national distribution network dominated by the private sector (e.g. private delivery services and advertising media). The 50-year-old statutory framework does not provide USPS with the tools, incentives, and flexibility needed to participate successfully in the 21st-century marketplace.