Megan Smith ‘confident’ digital focus will continue into next administration

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U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith at White House Tech Meetup April 17, 2015 (Liz Gorman/White House)

The tech and digital services progress made under President Barack Obama should continue with a new administration because bipartisan nature, U.S. CTO Megan Smith said Monday.

“We’re pretty confident that whatever happens, it continues,” Smith said, joined by her deputy CTO Alex Macgillivray on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.

Smith referenced bills in Congress that, if passed, would make the U.S. Digital Service and the Presidential Innovation Fellows program permanent as indicators of a desire to see such initiatives extended.

“These topics are so bipartisan: operating more effectively, higher quality service delivery. The kinds of things the U.S. Digital Service team is doing together within the Veterans Administration, for example,” she said. “Now it’s gone from 45 minutes to 10 minutes to sign up for health care on a beautiful web app that isn’t impossible to use.”

Meanwhile, those currently in office are undertaking a blitz to make sure they can get as much done as possible before the transition next January.

“It’s the fourth quarter — the president says ‘Great things happen in the fourth quarter,’” Smith said. “The Olympics just happened. We have the baton, and we’re running as fast as we can” regardless of who takes office as the next president. “We’re not really involved in any way in the election,” she said.

Macgillivray agreed on the sprint to the finish line, describing how it hasn’t given him much time to think about what comes next as a political appointee whose term in government will end with the president’s.

“We’re sort of heads down, focused on completing our last part here, the fourth quarter,” he said. “So it’s hard to think about anything else. I’ll take a breath, see my kids more, that sort of thing.”

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Citizen Services, Government IT News, Innovation, U.S. Digital Service, White House