Closing Washington's tech gap

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Could the federal government look more like the commercial sector in terms of technology? 

Gelsinger is confident it can. He notes that the new wave of agile development is helping organizations working on large, complex problems to realize key misfires much sooner, and course-correct earlier in the development cycle. In his view, this transformative capability means that no one needs to get 5 years and billions of dollars into a program before discovering that critical adjustments are required. They could hypothetically produce prototypes years earlier, make adjustments and save enormous amounts of time and money.

“This is a huge opportunity for government to close the technology gap.”

The promise of faster, virtual networks has enthralled tech enthusiasts. But in the government world, perhaps more so than in some commercial settings, security is a primary concern.

“In this new architecture, there are new ways we can do security,” he explains. “In a software-defined world, we can build far more capable security into each application. We can create a secure connection, move data, and then make the connection disappear.

Just as important as speed is cost. Information technology has captured the imagination of consumers in part because the industry constantly offers more and more power and capability at lower and lower costs. In this fiscal environment, virtually all partisans can agree that more capability and lower cost would be welcome.

Gelsinger offers a one-word answer: SoMoCloBad.

“SoMoCloBad is a mnemonic for the confluence of social media, mobility, cloud, and big analytic data,” he says. “That confluence in both the consumer and enterprise is the biggest disruption to ever hit the information technology industry.”

Gelsinger’s optimism about continued US dominance of innovation is slightly tempered by his observation of other economies are eager to compete on that front.  If he were in charge, he says he’d focus on three things that he sees as “hindrances” to US innovation.

“We need a budget. That’s basic. We need R&D investment by the government, and a tax credit for the private sector,” he opines. “And education. We need the best and the brightest.”

He adds, “Anyone who is not a bit paranoid about the US leadership in innovation doesn’t have a passport.

 “When you see how hungry these other countries are, and you see the hindrances we have here at home,” he says before pausing and adding. “As a US citizen and CEO, it really breaks your heart.”

Hon. Phillip Bond is former Undersecretary of Commerce for Technology,
and former CEO of TechAmerica, an tech trade association. Today he is 
CEO of Petrizzo Bond, Inc. a technology and health care lobby firm
with offices in Washington and Silicon Valley.