7 (non-network-centric) IT priorities for the Obama Administration

Scott Bradner offered a 10-point wish list for Obama-era technology policies. 8-9 of the 10 dealt with internet and/or telecom issues (depending on where you classify his call to end computer/internet/telecom-related Fourth Amendment violations). Richard Stiennon's 10-point list focuses even more narrowly, on infosecurity. Here on NetworkWorld.com, that orientation makes perfect sense. Still, the technology-savvy Obama campaign talked about a broader range of technology issues, and my interests align that way too. I won't focus on networking-related points, except to point out that the most extreme forms of network neutrality aren't actually needed.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my non-networking technology priorities for the Obama Administration. And by the way, I have at least some basis for claiming that I know what I'm talking about.

  1. Pick the right Chief Technology Officer.
  2. Fix the government technology contracting process in general.
  3. Fix the air traffic control system in particular.
  4. Generally take a businesslike approach to government IT. Obama's focus on making government "transparent" and searchable would be just one byproduct of that effort.
  5. Continue to beef up internal search and knowledge management (remember the FBI agent who guessed the 9/11 plans, but couldn't communicate his ideas to anybody who cared).
  6. Write privacy laws of the sort that will, for example, allow electronic health records to be adopted without great fear of misuse. (I have some strong opinions as to what form those laws should take.)
  7. Drastically beef up math education!! (Science too, but math is especially important.) This takes leadership to convince people it's CRUCIAL to be numerate, perhaps even more than it takes specific policy initiatives. Little else is as important.

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