MeriTalk Iconoclasts Guide Tech Policy Recommendations for America’s Next President

Government Tech Experts Light Path Forward for America’s Economic Growth in a Network World

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--()--MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, today announced the “Tech Iconoclasts – Voting for America's Success in a Network World” position paper. The Iconoclasts paper, written by a group of former government Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and senior industry executives, provides tech policy recommendations for the next President of the United States.

“Tech defines America’s global advantage,” said Steve O’Keeffe, founder, MeriTalk. “The Iconoclasts’ recommendations map a concise tech policy platform. Hillary and Donald, if you’re reading this on your iPhone – yes, we’re talking to you.”

Structured in five areas, the paper provides a concrete roadmap of technology policy recommendations to advance America’s competitive edge, rebuild trust in government and institutions, simplify and enhance American lives, reinvent government technology, and evolve the U.S. workforce. The policy recommendations developed by the Tech Iconoclasts are as follows:

Advancing America’s Competitive Edge

The report directs the U.S. to move a portion of its Research and Development – R&D – investment dollars to lower-cost areas throughout rural America and provide incentives for companies to repatriate R&D funds. It proposes reforming America’s patent laws to ensure that patents that are not productized within five years automatically expire. The Tech Iconoclasts propose that our government issue more H-1B visas and retain talent by issuing green cards to international students that earn advanced Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – STEM – degrees in America. The paper calls on the U.S. government to invest aggressively in new, cloud-based, secure IT systems.

“This report is ambitious in its thinking, it advocates aggressive timetables, and presents a challenge to a new administration to create a true 21st century government,” said Alan Balutis, senior director of U.S. public sector at Cisco Systems and former CIO at the Department of Commerce.

Rebuilding Trust in Government and Institutions

Focusing on cyber security as well as law enforcement trust issues, the Tech Iconoclasts recommend that the U.S. government develop and define national privacy standards. The report proposes that the U.S. government require websites and applications to notify users when and how their data is being shared with third parties. The Iconoclasts propose the development of uniform data breach notification standards to alert Americans when their personal information is stolen or compromised online. The paper recommends enforcing compliance with cyber security standards via corporate incentives and penalties. The Iconoclasts also call for clear rules on the use of body cameras by law enforcement – defining what is allowed, when, why, how long must law enforcement retain these records, and who has rights to access them.

Simplify and Enhance People’s Lives

The paper identifies four recommendations for technology to simplify and enhance Americans’ lives. These include calls for clear standards for the Internet of Everything (IoE), particularly in interoperability and security. The group proposes a “moon shot” to leverage emerging technology to target one of the biggest challenges in health care – cancer, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s disease. This closely aligns with President Obama’s cancer ‘moon shot’ announced at the recent State of the Union. It recommends that the government follow through on modernization efforts started by the E-Gov initiative to drive new models of mobile service delivery. The report encourages the market to deliver free broadband wireless everywhere in America.

Reinventing Government Technology

The Tech Iconoclasts propose a big-bang approach to fixing what ails outdated and inefficient Federal IT. The Federal government spends more than $80 billion on IT each year. According to the Federal CIO, Tony Scott, 80 percent of that money goes toward providing life support for legacy IT systems – only 20 percent is available for investments in new technology solutions. The OPM cyber security breach, and subsequent Cyber Sprint effort to secure Federal IT, demonstrate the fact that it is impossible to secure Federal IT systems built decades ago. The Tech Iconoclasts propose a radical shakeup of Federal IT called .usa2020 – a completely new government IT infrastructure with a modern set of applications that support multiple agencies’ requirements. The report supports the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act – FITARA – as a way to empower forward-thinking Federal CIOs. It advocates for establishing minimum credentials for Federal CIOs – and suggests making these positions career civil-service jobs rather than Presidential appointee positions.

Evolving the Workforce

The Tech Iconoclasts propose that America invest in and prioritizes new forms of education – Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and apprenticeships – to produce the types of graduates that employers need. It advocates preparing America to compete by offering continuous training to ensure workers remain up to date and competitive in the workforce. The paper recommends identifying “heroes” in education and industry in order to drive students’ interest in tech-related careers from an early age.

“The paper represents a fundamental rethink in how we position America to compete in today's network-connected world,” said Anil Karmel, CEO, C2 Labs, and former Chief Technology Officer at the National Nuclear Security Administration. “The recommendations enable government to unshackle the tethers that have held us back, allowing us to reclaim our place as the world’s leader.”

About The Iconoclasts

A cadre of former government CIOs and senior IT executives, the Iconoclasts are the top minds in government IT. This paper provides recommendations to the next President on how to hone America’s competitive edge in the rapidly emerging Network World. The Iconoclasts encourage candidates to make tech policy a plank in the Presidential platform.

About MeriTalk

The voice of tomorrow’s government today, MeriTalk is a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT. Focusing on government’s hot-button issues, MeriTalk’s leading news and information site hosts Big Data Exchange, Cloud Computing Exchange, Cyber Security Exchange, and Data Center Exchange – platforms dedicated to

supporting public-private dialogue and collaboration. MeriTalk connects with an audience of 115,000 government and industry professionals. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter, @meritalk. MeriTalk is a 300Brand organization.


Chelsea Legendre
703-883-9000 ext. 134

Release Summary

The Iconoclasts paper, written by a group of former government CIOs and senior industry executives, provides tech policy recommendations for the next President of the United States.


Chelsea Legendre
703-883-9000 ext. 134