This week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) convened a roundtable with state, local, Tribal, and territorial (SLTT) tech leaders to discuss ongoing efforts to harness the power of technology to benefit all Americans. Building a better America requires coordination across all levels of government, and technology and data are key enablers of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to grow the economy from the middle out and bottom up. At the roundtable, senior Administration officials announced the launch of the U.S. Tech Policy Network—a conduit for sharing tech policy between federal and SLTT governments.
At the roundtable, White House officials described benefits for security, equity, privacy, and accessibility that the U.S. Tech Policy Network could deliver for communities across the country. The U.S. Tech Policy Network will serve as a hub for disseminating federal tech policies and gathering input from SLTT tech leaders.
Roundtable participants discussed how the U.S. Tech Policy Network could deliver specific benefits for the American people, including:
- accessible local government services, due to quicker and broader adoption of the upcoming final Americans with Disabilities Act rule on digital accessibility;
- more accurate and useful data on disparities, as police departments adopt the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s potential changes to the race/ethnicity categories;
- assurance that all levels of government will respect rights and protect safety as local governments use OMB’s artificial intelligence (AI) guidance as a model for their own AI policies; and
- easier online access to government services, such as Social Security, state retirement plans, and county vehicle registrations through login.gov.
Participants also discussed how the U.S. Tech Policy Network will enable:
- a regular means of communication for the nation’s 19,000 SLTT governments to learn about relevant federal policies in a timely manner;
- a better process for bringing the knowledge and expertise of SLTT tech leaders into the development of federal tech policies;
- clearer guidance on mandatory and optional policies, and curated resources to explain the relevance and benefit of new policies;
- clearer guidance on how federal funding recipients can use federal direct costs to build relevant technical capacity such as cybersecurity, geographic information systems, and integrated data systems;
- streamlined SLTT procurement processes, by raising awareness about federally approved vendor lists or best practices for specific technologies; and
- a clearer role for intermediaries (e.g., professional associations, academic centers, and non-profit organizations) to disseminate tech-relevant policy, provide technical assistance for implementation, and help SLTT tech leaders navigate offerings by tech vendors.
SLTT tech leaders welcomed the opportunity to work closely with the federal government on tech policy implementation, describing how this partnership would strengthen their roles within their respective governments.
Moving forward, the General Services Administration (GSA)’s Office of Technology Policy is supporting OSTP’s launch of the U.S. Tech Policy Network as part of GSA’s ongoing commitment to develop, advance, and accelerate solutions that deliver world-class IT across government. To recommend a professional association, academic center, or non-profit organization that works with state, local, Tribal, or territorial tech professionals to participate in the U.S. Tech Policy Network, please send an email to TechPolicy@gsa.gov.