Clinton Offers Best Chance of Moving Government Technology Forward

(Photo: Joseph Sohm, Shutterstock)

(Photo: Joseph Sohm, Shutterstock)

We are a group of former Federal IT leaders, technology industry executives, and journalists. We believe the technology priorities embraced by the next President of the United States will be central to our nation’s ability to remain secure, competitive, open, innovative, and responsive to the needs of citizens.

Contrary to the virtual absence of technology priorities coming out of the campaign of Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton has outlined clear positions on most, if not all, of the technology issues facing the government, including modernization and  digital government, cybersecurity and privacy, research and development, workforce and education challenges, the need for patent reform, and support for innovation.

That is why we are endorsing Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

We believe in crafting a deliberate strategy to take Federal IT systems out of the era of black-and-white television and into the age of the cloud and the Internet of Things. Clinton would expand and make permanent the U.S. Digital Service—the Federal government’s internal tech startup that pairs industry tech talent with career public servants. Although it is in desperate need of more oversight and accountability, the USDS concept underscores the government’s willingness to adopt industry best practices. Trump has no plan for modernization and his only answer to the e-government challenge is to upgrade the systems at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

We believe not in cybersecurity sprints, but in running a better, faster, more agile cybersecurity marathon. Although legitimate questions still linger about the wisdom of using a personal email server to conduct official government business, Clinton’s stated policies on cybersecurity are clear. She would expand investment in cybersecurity, enhance public-private partnerships, and give greater authority to a new Federal chief information security officer. Trump has offered no real ideas for improving the nation’s cybersecurity posture, other than potential confrontation with nations engaged in cyberespionage.

We believe the “R” in research and development (R&D) is the engine that drives innovation. Clinton has pledged to grow the research budgets of the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and has specifically voiced support for R&D funding in supercomputing and machine learning. In addition, Clinton would set aside a portion of Federal R&D funds for commercialization of new products and technologies through accelerator grants.

Trump would pour money into current brick-and-mortar infrastructure projects—which are sorely in need of support—but he would do so at the expense of forward-looking innovation.

Significant progress on IT issues has been made during the last eight years under President Obama, from the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act to the appointment of the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer, among many other initiatives. But the Obama White House can’t claim victory on the technology front just yet.

A President Hillary Clinton must do more to increase the speed and scale of critical technology programs, and introduce new answers and a new sense of urgency to tackle the nation’s most vexing technology challenges. Based on her stated policy positions, she is off to a good start.

Select Members of the MeriTalk Editorial Advisory Board

Steve O’Keeffe

Roger Baker

Alan Balutis

Richard Beutel

Scott Hastings

Richard Spires

Dan Verton

  1. Anonymous | - Reply
    She had an illegal server in her house. She destroyed federal records. If any of you endorsing her did that you would BE IN JAIL. How can you endorse this?
  2. Anonymous | - Reply
    What are you all thinking, or drinking?? Hillary Clinton?? Unbelievable.
  3. Anonymous | - Reply
    You have got be kidding me?!?!?!? Your decision to collectively endorse a candidate has alienated me and likely others. It's great if you have a personal opinion about who you would like in office. However, to use your organization which my company supports financially as a platform to endorse "your candidate" is aggravating and disappointing. If Hillary get's elected is she going to kick off the next MeritTalk event with a talk on Cyber Ethics in Federal Government.!?!?! Or if Trump get's elected you guys are going to move to Canada. How hard is it to stay out of one of the most polarizing elections ever? What real good came out of your "decision"? Are you reaching for a "Courage" award from ESPN? Is someone on the Bleach Bit board of advisers? Sincerely, LET DOWN
  4. Anonymous | - Reply
    She allowed a US Ambassador and three other Americans trying to save him to be killed because she cared more about getting money for her foundation than their lives. As a Federal employee, I'd be in prison if I mishandled classified records and misused federal computer systems and records like she did. She is corrupt in every sense of the word. I'll unsubscribe as soon as I hit enter.
  5. Anonymous | - Reply
    Unbelievable!!! I will work at ensuring your "Organization" is never used here. Ethics? Track record? On what remotely feasible fact did you base this endorsement? Ridiculously incompetency must rein with you folks. --Unsubscribe--
  6. Anonymous | - Reply
    Although I believe you are correct regarding which candidate will best support technological advancement by having well considered plans, I was surprised that you chose to make this endorsement. Because our culture is currently skewed toward mistrust in all arenas, respectful discourse has become difficult if not impossible. I worry that by choosing sides, you may hamper your own ability to promote such discourse, as the comments before mine suggest. I would hope that had your choice been different than mine, that I would at least try to understand the rationale behind your choice and would have debated those considerations rather than simply identifying that the candidate that you chose is undesirable in other respects. Neither candidate is perfect, we are talking about the lesser of evils here, and in this instance, for our collective technological future. I agree with your assessment, but do wonder if, given the polarization of our culture it might better have been left unsaid.
  7. Anonymous | - Reply
    Agree or disagree, as a current Federal employee, I have no interest in receiving your political preferences at my .gov email account. Wrong venue and bad form! I will immediately unsubscribe.
    1. Dan Verton | - Reply
      A little perspective on this endorsement seems in order. First, it is a longstanding tradition for media organizations to endorse candidates for office. For example, 84 newspapers and media organizations endorsed Hillary Clinton during the primaries and 27 have endorsed her in the general election. Four media outlets endorsed Donald Trump during the primaries and one of those—the New York Post—has done so during the general election. That said, the endorsement of Hillary Clinton by members of the MeriTalk Editorial Advisory Board likely represents a first for Federal IT trade publications. Media outlets in our market are notoriously risk averse—I know, I’ve worked at a few of them. But MeriTalk is no shrinking violet. We value your opinions. But in this case, there is one incontrovertible fact that we must all face: Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. There’s no way out of what many Americans believe is a bad choice all around. We get it. But since our mission is to serve the Federal IT community, it is appropriate for us to take a stand for the candidate who has proposed technology policies and initiatives that we feel will do the most to improve Federal IT and move our digital government forward. That is the basis of this endorsement and the only topic that was factored into this decision. This is not an endorsement on any policy topic other than Federal IT.
      1. Anonymous | - Reply
        You've got to be kidding! She's broken the very rules that all of us would be fired for (that we all sign for) and DoD employees are actually jailed for. So you may chose to believe that she's proposed certain things that advance us, but I'm in the government and I've seen nothing more than a leader who will all of a sudden mind if I follow her lead. One has to wonder how open-minded and operating with journalistic integrity Meritalk has been operating under. I work the the VA and Meritalk and the other trade rags have very-much dropped the ball on asking many tough questions of our current CIO. She's leading the VA into an IT disaster and jumping ship just before it hits the big piece of ice. Perhaps the pass you've given her needs to be questioned all the more after reading your endorsement.
  8. Anonymous | - Reply
    George Herbert Bush plans to vote for Hillary Clinton.
    1. Anonymous | - Reply
      That's the GOP establishment resisting a change for the better.
  9. Anonymous | - Reply
    We always enjoy lively debate at MeriTalk, and anticipated spirited discussion in an election cycle where many people feel there is no ideal choice. To be very clear, the editorial board is endorsing Hillary Clinton through the lens of which candidate is strongest based on his or her stated IT policy. Are there questions about her using a private email address? Yes. Are many senior government officials using private email addresses even today? Yes. Is classified information critical to our nation's security? Of course. America is a great nation because we're open to free flow of ideas. I'm not going to make any comment about walls. We respect your opinions -- we don't delete comments on our site unless they are hateful or obscene, and by that we do not mean contrary to the personal opinions of MeriTalk staff members or the Editorial Board. Please keep your comments coming. Respectfully, Steve O'Keeffe Publisher MeriTalk
  10. Anonymous | - Reply
    Someone beat me to posting the Bush 41 endorsement -- a man who is a GOP icon and person of integrity. Sorry to see we can't present one's views without unleashing a screed of invectives, I hope those who are unsubscribing stand ready to do the same when the POST, WSJ, NY Times, and other publications that come to their office do the same. Respectfully, Alan Balutis
  11. Anonymous | - Reply
    I love Meritalk so much more now that you have supported the next President of the United States ..... Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is clearly unfit to be President and those who support him have no business in Federal IT. Thank you for having the chutzpa to speak what is on your mind.
  12. Anonymous | - Reply
    She had to cancel another fund raiser last night. Her body finally caught up with her brain .... she is sick.
  13. Anonymous | - Reply
    What IT policies is MeriTalk and the Editorial Board saying are being touted by Hilary Clinton that are the best path forward for Federal IT? I haven't heard one.
    1. Anonymous | - Reply
      "Clinton’s stated policies on cybersecurity are clear. She would expand investment in cybersecurity, enhance public-private partnerships, and give greater authority to a new Federal chief information security officer."
  14. Anonymous | - Reply
    Unsubscribe!!! I consider your endorsement to be "very Hollywood".

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