contemplating the future (SFIO CRACHO/

Governors prep for disruptive technology

With the rapid pace of innovation, each governor and state CIOs can be challenged to keep up with emerging technology developments.  The National Governors Association recently launched NGA Future, an initiative to give governors insights into potentially disruptive technology that is three to five years away.

Timothy Blute, who most recently worked as program director for Homeland Security and Public Safety Division of the NGA Center for Best Practices, is leading NGA Future’s efforts to convene stakeholders from industry, government and academia to discuss emerging technology issues that governors will face during their years in office.

“New technology is coming into the market every day, and it is going to require public-private partnerships,” Blute said.  “I’ve talked to companies, governors’ offices, universities and think tanks who are all doing valuable work, and we want to bring them together to talk and work together.”

NGA Future’s initial efforts have focused on identifying government's role in the introduction of autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing and internet of things devices.

“This is not going to be a crystal ball for three to five years in the future," Blute told GCN at the Nov. 15 Capital Cybersecurity Summit.  "But if you have a governor in office or coming into office in 2018, we are working to determine the things that will impact the economy in their state in government or society that they are going to need to address.”

Over the past six years, 21 state legislatures and five governors have taken action through bills and executive orders to address autonomous vehicles.  But Blute wants to look beyond regulation and take on broader infrastructure changes and impacts to accessibility, transportation, public safety and real estate.

For example, Blute sees that additive manufacturing may bring outsourced jobs back to the United States, but he is investigating the “economic consequences” that can develop when these manufacturing capabilities are not brought back to the communities of origin.

Additionally, 3-D printing can provide benefits to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“As we see more of these printers come online and this technology spreads across the country, this is going to be an interesting thing for our economy,” Blute said. "It’s too soon to determine what the impacts will be, but it’s definitely on our radar screen to explore in 2018.”

As the ability to connect sensors and devices becomes more ubiquitous, NGA Future wants to address the cybersecurity implications of IoT expansion. 

“We have to assume that in the near future just about any device that can be networked will be networked,” Blute said.  “How will these devices interact with government-owned devices?” The role of government in addressing the “overall security risk/reward equation,” needs to be defined, he added.

In 2018, NGA Future plans to release reports and podcasts to educate governors and their staffs around these specific technology policy areas.  Work is also underway on private, themed discussions where governors can interact with policy experts.

Part of NGA Future's work will be incorporated into Ahead of the Curve: Innovation Governors initiative, NGA Chair and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s program to help governors support innovation in the energy and transportation sectors.  The initiative's transportation's stakeholders will hold a summit in Las Vegas from Jan. 9-12 in conjunction with the annual Consumer Electronics Show.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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