President Trump calls for ‘sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology’

“President Donald Trump on Monday called for a ‘sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology,’ beginning his push to update the dated inner workings of Washington that drew some praise — and then some public requests — from the top tech executives at Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft,” Tony Romm reports for Recode.

“After a day of meetings at the White House with those and other tech leaders — some of whom have been his fiercest corporate critics in the past — Trump admitted that the feds had to ‘catch up’ with the private sector,” Romm reports. “He said federal agencies had to deliver ‘dramatically better services to citizens,’ for example, while buying cheaper, more efficient technology and adopting ‘stronger protections from cyber attacks.'”

“The comments officially concluded the inaugural meeting of the White House’s American Technology Council, a new effort chartered by Trump in May to bring the lumbering federal bureaucracy into the digital age. The group has a broad mandate — converting paper-based forms into easy-to-use websites, for example, while helping the government buy better technology and take advantage of new tools like artificial intelligence,” Romm reports. “Apple CEO Tim Cook — who also acknowledged that the U.S. had much work to do to modernize — said Washington should make coding a requirement in schools.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and the rest of the American Technology Council
U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and the rest of the American Technology Council

“Among the invitees Monday were the leaders of Adobe, Akamai, Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and Qualcomm, as well as some of Silicon Valley’s leading investors, like Peter Thiel, who previously advised Trump during his presidential transition,” Romm reports. “Opening the day’s events, Jared Kushner — one of Trump’s top advisers — emphasized that the government’s tech troubles are legion.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The rampant inefficiency of the U.S. federal government is staggering.

The full text of the Presidential Executive Order on the Establishment of the American Technology Council, verbatim:


– – – – – – –


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to promote the secure, efficient, and economical use of information technology to achieve its missions. Americans deserve better digital services from their Government. To effectuate this policy, the Federal Government must transform and modernize its information technology and how it uses and delivers digital services.

Sec. 2. Purpose. To promote the policy set forth in section 1 of this order, this order establishes the American Technology Council (ATC).

Sec. 3. ATC Establishment and Membership. The ATC is hereby established, with the following members:

(a) The President, who shall serve as Chairman;

(b) The Vice President;

(c) The Secretary of Defense;

(d) The Secretary of Commerce;

(e) The Secretary of Homeland Security;

(f) The Director of National Intelligence;

(g) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB);

(h) The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy;

(i) The U.S. Chief Technology Officer;

(j) The Administrator of General Services;

(k) The Senior Advisor to the President;

(l) The Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives;

(m) The Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives;

(n) The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs;

(o) The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism;

(p) The Administrator of the U.S. Digital Service;

(q) The Administrator of the Office of Electronic Government (Federal Chief Information Officer);

(r) The Commissioner of the Technology Transformation Service; and

(s) The Director of the American Technology Council (Director).

Sec. 4. Additional Invitees. The Director may invite the heads of agencies with key service delivery programs to attend meetings of the ATC on a rotating basis and may also invite the heads of those service delivery programs to attend. The President, or upon his direction, the Director, may also invite other officials of executive departments, agencies, and offices to attend meetings of the ATC from time to time.

Sec. 5. ATC Meetings. The President, or upon his direction, the Director, may convene meetings of the ATC. The President shall preside over the meetings. In the President’s absence the Vice President shall preside, and in the Vice President’s absence the Director shall preside.

Sec. 6. ATC Functions. (a) The principal functions of the ATC shall be to:

(i) coordinate the vision, strategy, and direction for the Federal Government’s use of information technology and the delivery of services through information technology;

(ii) coordinate advice to the President related to policy decisions and processes regarding the Federal Government’s use of information technology and the delivery of services through information technology; and

(iii) work to ensure that these decisions and processes are consistent with the policy set forth in section 1 of this order and that the policy is being effectively implemented.

(b) The functions of the ATC, as specified in subsection (a) of this section, shall not extend to any national security system, as defined in section 3552(b)(6) of title 44, United States Code.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the authority of any agency or of OMB, including the authority of OMB to monitor implementation of Administration policies and programs and to develop and implement management policies for all agencies.

Sec. 7. ATC Administration. (a) The ATC may function through ad hoc committees, task forces, or interagency groups, each to be chaired by the Director or such official as the Director may, from time to time, designate. Such groups shall include a senior interagency forum for considering policy issues related to information technology, and a deputies committee to review and monitor the work of the ATC interagency forum and to ensure that issues brought before the ATC have been properly analyzed and prepared for decision.

(b) The ATC shall have a Director, who shall be an employee of the Executive Office of the President designated by the President.

(c) All agencies are encouraged to cooperate with the ATC and to provide such assistance, information, and advice to the ATC as the ATC may request, to the extent permitted by law.

(d) Consistent with the protection of sources and methods, the Director of National Intelligence is encouraged to provide access to classified information on cybersecurity threats, vulnerabilities, and mitigation procedures to the ATC in order to facilitate the ATC’s activities.

Sec. 8. Termination. This order, and the ATC established hereunder, shall terminate on January 20, 2021.

Sec. 9. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof;

(ii) the functions of the Director of OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals; or

(iii) the provisions of the Presidential Memorandum of March 19, 2015, entitled “Establishing the Director of White House Information Technology and the Executive Committee for Presidential Information Technology.”

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.



April 28, 2017.

Apple CEO Cook to President Trump: The U.S. should have the most modern government in the world; coding should be a requirement in every public school – June 20, 2017
President Trump tells Apple CEO Cook that U.S. needs comprehensive immigration reform – June 20, 2017
President Trump advisor Kushner: Government must move past floppies, Y2K and ‘unleash the creativity of the private sector’ – June 19, 2017
President Trump to meet with Apple CEO Cook, other tech execs on cutting government waste, improving services – June 19, 2017
Apple CEO Cook, other tech CEOs to attend President Trump’s Jared Kushner-led summit – June 9, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook pressured to follow Elon Musk and leave President’s Council over Paris Agreement kerfuffle – June 2, 2017


  1. sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology

    • New mindset of reaching and remaining on the cutting edge every day forever. That’s currently nowhere in sight except perhaps the NSA.
    • Investment of $Billions now and a steady stream onward.
    • Total divorce from Android and Windows, except for research purposes.
    • Direct collaboration with the computer security community, lunatic thought it is. It has got to become an actual science (versus a competition or clown show).
    • An offensive approach of finding security holes versus merely defensively responding to each crisis.
    • A collaboration with universities and developers to create a seriously secure as well as effective method of coding. No more buffer overruns, for example. It could happen!

    Please add more ideas. Clearly, #MyStupidGovernment needs all the help it can get when it comes to technology.

    1. Absolutely, Derek! However, my prediction is that instead of committing the resources necessary to do all this, the current Administration will follow the example of all the governments before it — of either party — by focusing on “inefficiency.”

      In other words, they want to spend even less money on technology while demanding better results. When the effort collapses under its own weight, who will get blamed? My guess is that it will be the government employees handed an impossible task, rather than the politicians who made it impossible.

      1. Yeah, I saw the word ‘economical’ in their manifesto, which typically is used to justify being cheapass.

        “Do Less With Less”. That of course makes matters even worse while further wrecking morale. Of course that’s going to be what happens, but I remain optimistic because optimism at least has an element of fun, joy, hope, prospect, endurance, future, progress…, as opposed to the usual ‘Starve The Beast’ demolition from the current clowns-in-power.

  2. “…shall not extend to any national security system”

    Then why are there so many of the Security and Intelligence Agencies on the Council?

    I seem to recall, a very long time ago, that a number of the upper echelons of those services (the most security-conscious and secret) use Macs.

    I’ve long waited for the day that all governments would junk legacy crap operating systems and make the decision to solely buy Apple.

    Over the long term, it’s a decision which would save an awful lot of problems and expense (for multiple reasons).

    Surely that’s a sensible starting point?

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