Obama: Let’s be more like Google

President Obama on Monday said he would take new steps to remake the federal government in the image of a Silicon Valley start-up – or at least a modern technology company.

After meeting with his cabinet, Obama said he had directed his administration to “to develop an aggressive management agenda for my second term that delivers a smarter, more innovative and accountable government for its citizens.” He tapped Sylvia Matthews-Burwell, budget director, to lead the effort.

Obama said that before he ran for president, he visited Google, and came to understand that the federal government needs to be overhauled to meet 21st century needs. When came to office, he noted, “I had to fight really hard just to keep my Blackberry.’

But Obama said he was pleased with the progress his administration has made, hiring technology experts from the private sector and introducing a range of new policies to make government more efficient. He said they include Internet and mobile apps to reach people affected by natural disasters and opening the government’s troves of data to people in the private and non-profit sector.

“Dealing with the federal government is not always high tech and is not always user friendly,” Obama said. “Over the past four and a half years we worked diligently to change that.”

Obama said the administration would be pursuing several new projects, including one that will automatically fill in details in government forms and then allow users to track the status of an application in real-time. He also said the administration would use technology to simplify the procurement process.

 

Zachary A. Goldfarb is policy editor at The Washington Post.
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