The leaders of 18 U.S. technology firms — including the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google — met with president Donald Trump yesterday to discuss how the government’s computing systems can be made more efficient.
Specifically, the White House is looking to improve its information tech, save money and build stronger service. According to the president’s figures, the U.S. could save as much as $1 trillion over the next decade with such cutting.
“Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens,” Trump said. “Government needs to catch up with the technology revolution.”
The team that met represents the American Technology Council that Trump formed in May to support efforts to modernize the U.S. government.
“The U.S. should have the most modern government in the world. Today it doesn’t,” Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon suggested that the administration leverage worker retraining, AI and other commercially available technologies.
Before the meeting with the POTUIS, the CEOs met in 10 small group sessions with Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, along with the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ohio State University.
“[The administration wants to] unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizens services in a way that has never happened before,” noted Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who said the administration is working to dial back unnecessary regulation for computing systems and consolidating data centers in favor of additional cloud storage.
A 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report estimated the U.S. government spent more than $80 billion in IT annually in non-classified operations. And despite investments, there are still agencies using computing equipment that is over 50 years old.
“This structure is unsustainable,” Kushner said.
The CEOs and White House also planned to discuss Trump’s review of the U.S. visa program for bringing high-skilled foreign workers into the country, announced in April.