Setting the stage for the nation’s coronavirus pandemic recovery begs new ways of thinking and collaboration. That’s why MeriTalk, ACT-IAC, and the Partnership for Public Service are joining forces on a project to deliver a set of operating and policy recommendations to promote stronger and more resilient Federal government operations to power the recovery.

The project “Resilient: Government Pandemic Insights for a Safer America” aims to provide recommendations at the intersection of IT and human capital that focus on innovation, security, technology, and workforce. Those recommendations will be rooted in a survey of hundreds of Federal government executives, and informed through roundtable discussions of public and private sector stakeholders.

The recommendations will be published in January 2021, and showcased in a virtual colloquium scheduled for February.

Importantly, the recommendations will be forward-looking to inform government’s options as the nation embarks on pandemic recovery. While government IT operations have emerged as an indispensable lifeline since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it’s time to look beyond the disaster-response phase and focus on the changes necessary to make America more resilient in the future.

“9/11 was a real inflection point for government and for the nation, and led to major changes such as creation of the Department of Homeland Security,” said MeriTalk Founder Steve O’Keeffe. “We’ve been talking about continuity of operations plans for years, but nobody’s paid a whole lot of attention. It hasn’t been a primary driver, but it will be going forward. We know the pandemic is a watershed event that will change how we do things as a country and a government going forward.”

 

“What we all wanted to do was come together and provide a public-private platform to develop recommendations from industry and government to shape what the government can do going forward,” he said. “All of us are stronger together, and rather than starting our own separate initiatives, we thought why don’t we create a common platform and a common effort.”

“We are clearly in uncharted waters, but the lessons we learn from the pandemic will help us to thrive in the ‘new normal’ we will find ourselves in post-pandemic,” said ACT-IAC CEO Dave Wennergren. “The future we will face together will inevitably include a virtual component and require new thinking and new approaches. The work we will do together in the months ahead will provide tremendous opportunities for government and industry to partner together to accelerate the adoption of new technologies, advance the IT modernization agenda, become more digital and think in bold new ways about cybersecurity.”

“A year ago I was saying that the Federal government shutdown at the end of 2018 demonstrated the many ways in which we rely on public service, but that seems to just pale in comparison to what recent events have shown us about the ways in which Americans rely on our government at all levels,” said Katie Malague, Vice President for Government Effectiveness at the Partnership for Public Service.

“The truth is America deserves a great government – one that is efficient and innovative and responsive to the needs of the American people,” she said. “It’s in that context that the Partnership for Public Service was founded in 2001, and since then we’ve tried to serve as a bridge between administrations, across the political aisle, and from government to the private sector to bring together diverse perspectives and develop forward thinking solutions.”

“The crisis we face in this country will fundamentally change the way government works and, as we have learned in recent years, government can’t do it alone. So we’re delighted to collaborate with MeriTalk and ACT-IAC on this one-of-a-kind program,” she said.

For more information on “Resilient: Government Pandemic Insights for a Safer America,” please contact: Caroline Boyd, CBoyd@meritalk.com; Carol Miller, CMiller@actiac.org; and Peter Kamocsai, PKamocsai@ourpublicservice.org.

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About John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.
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