Federal Chief Information Officer, Steven VanRoekel, is seeking to fundamentally change the way things are done in government by increasing the mobility of the federal workforce. VanRoekel has said there is more they can be doing to seize the mobile opportunity and that, “we need to be bold in doing it.” This approach is being rolled out in three phases. The first phase is described as being short term and is an attempt to seek input through a centralized acquisition vehicle. The second phase is described as being medium term and will be an effort to develop an “app strategy”. The third phase is described as being long term and will seek to address structural challenges in broadband.

Currently they are pursuing phase one, and VanRoekel issued a personal invitation:

“I invite you to share your thoughts on how the Federal Government can take advantage of the mobile opportunity…Your voice will help inform the draft strategy we release. Together, we can build a 21st Century Government using the power of mobility.”

The centralized acquisition vehicle they have developed to do this is the National Dialogue on the Federal Mobility Strategy website that the Executive Office of the President of the United States General Services Administration rolled out on January 11, 2012. Here participants can observe and interact about how to develop a mobility strategy using various technologies for the Federal government. The hope is this effort will achieve the following ends: improving services, engaging citizens with the government, reducing costs such as real estate, and increasing employee productivity for workers who are often not in an office. They are looking for ideas for embracing mobile technologies that center on six core objectives:

(1) Incorporate the power and possibilities of mobility into Federal government efforts

(2) Build mobile technologies/services for reuse and share common services among agencies and public developers

(3) Efficiently manage mobile and wireless acquisition, inventory, and expenses

(4) Create a government-wide foundation to provide mobility services and functionality needed in all agencies

(5) Foster collaboration to accelerate mobility across government

(6) Establish governance structure for Federal mobility

The use of the website was originally set to close January 20, but they have extended its use until January 27. The dialogue is open 24/7 and they are encouraging users to return to the site frequently to keep the conversation moving forward. Participants can also sign up to receive email alerts on particular ideas they are interested in following.

This is an attempt to unleash the power that comes through technological efficiency, mobility, and cost savings. The initial way they are attempting to do this is through the knowledge and experience of those who participate in the online dialogue. Phase 1 is an attempt to tap into the collective wisdom of the citizenry in order to establish a foundation upon which they can build a mobile strategy for the future.

Noah works with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and is an evangelical Christian trained in theological studies. He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife and two children. You can follow him at his blog www.noahbraymen.blogspot.com.

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