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Voting for America’s Success: How the Next President Should Change U.S. Tech Policy

- February 9, 2016 - 3 Comments

2016 is a big year for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that it is the year where we will elect the 45th President of the United States. Currently, there are many different candidates running on many different platforms, all with varying ideas of which policy issues are the most important. However, some of my peers and I thought that there was something missing from these policy conversations: technology.

Technology is expanding at a rapid pace, and government seems to be having trouble keeping up. Instead of just trying to prevent or shore up the potentially destabilizing effects technology can have on government and other traditional civic structures, government should be embracing and taking advantage of the global network. It can be used to keep U.S. leadership strong and support social, political, and economic advancement around the world. But how should government balance the positively transformative with the potentially negatively disruptive? How should it address the complex policy issues that arise due to the new social globalism technology has created?

To help them out, MeriTalk – a public-private partnership focusing on improving the outcomes of government IT – is releasing a paper with technology policy recommendations for the next president. The paper, “Tech Iconoclasts – Voting for America’s Success in a Network World,” was written by a group of former government CIOs and senior industry executives, including myself, who think that technology should be a bigger policy focus for the next president than it currently is. To help him or her out, we provided a roadmap of technology policies so that the next administration can harness technology to maintain America’s global advantage.

The report focuses on five specific areas, each of which contain multiple concrete policy recommendations. The five areas are:

  1. Advancing America’s Competitive Edge
  2. Rebuilding Trust in Government and Institutions
  3. Simplifying and Enhancing People’s Lives
  4. Reinventing Government Technology
  5. Evolving the Workforce

Whether it’s changing patent law to encourage innovation, using emerging technology to solve healthcare challenges like Alzheimer’s, investing in MOOCs to help the workforce learn new technological skills, or increasing security measures to ensure all Americans feel safe about their information online, there are numerous steps a leader can take to improve technology policy.

We wrote this report as an open letter so that all candidates understand the importance of these issues to the American public, and to start a dialogue on the need for increased focus on technology policy. We believe that our country’s technology policy must change in order to empower our government now and prepare us for success the future – I hope that this paper helps you believe that too.

I invite you to comment below and share what you believe is the most important technology policy recommendation for the next president. Also, join us for the launch of the paper on February 11 at 8am at the National Press Club to continue the discussion in person.

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3 Comments

  1. My biggest concern involves the desperate need to update. I understand that many of the computers are still operating on XP which presents a severe security risk. My information has been stolen from the Office of Personnel Management twice, first my employment records, secondly my background check information. Now, more than 700,000 taxpayer's information has been stolen from the IRS. Something needs to be done. I agree that the cost and inability for good communication as a result of the outrageous redundancy is another huge problem. Time to get it together and cut the fat.

    Nice article Alan! To emphasize Janice's point on overlap, I heard Senator Rubio state, in the latest Republican debate, that there are 628 agencies working on immigration. This truly is unbelievable and clearly an area technology can help clean up the government's act. Consolidating these agencies to one using data analytics, fewer systems and the need for fewer employees will create a more responsible and more importantly effective approach to this major national issue.

    Working with local, state, or government agencies can be a challenge because of the numerous departments and budgets which don't always align with an overall focus. Most important is developing a clear enterprise architecture which eliminates redundancy and mandates systems stay updated and secure.