Change and evolution have defined the past year. A global pandemic, an almost instantaneous migration to work from home and a host of other challenges further defined our reality around the world. Governments around the globe – and certainly the U.S. federal government – were confronted with additional challenges along with the responsibility to actually guide America through the crisis.
Cisco has been a long time and proud partner of the U.S. federal government, helping them meet the mission and power an inclusive future for all. That’s why we were very proud to host our first-ever summit for the U.S. federal government to share lessons and a path forward for digital transformation across federal agencies. In May, hundreds of federal leaders joined us for FedFWD: A Roadmap to Digital Transformation.
We were proud that our CEO Chuck Robbins addressed the group and explained, “As a company, our purpose is to power an inclusive future for all and in many cases that comes from working with our federal government – helping them deliver veterans services, social security checks, delivering infrastructure and broadband into rural parts of this country and doing things that give people an opportunity to help those who need it.”
It’s our enduring mission to help federal agencies meet theirs – whether that be providing citizen services or providing for the common defense. In this unique time, that means helping in America’s recovery and doing our part to ensure that it is an inclusive one.
Through the many struggles of the past year, one important lifeline was technology and the platforms deployed that allowed agencies across the federal government to go completely remote. Tech supported personal supply chains through the postal service, helped the Army Core of Engineers rapidly build infrastructure to support our cities recovery, and provided the mobile platforms to help Veterans Administration deliver health care across our nation.
There have been cultural shifts in how we think about what’s next. There is a new appreciation for the platforms that provide for simplicity and rapid deployment. There are questions about how to harness and leverage the power of data, how to take full advantage of the possibilities in a multi-cloud world, how to build flexibility and security throughout the network and empower it to the edge. And there are new questions arise about how to accelerate the digital transformation.
Among those providing invaluable perspective was U.S. Air Force CIO Lauren Knausenberger. “We were just discussing, this past week, deploying forward capability,” she told the group of federal government technology leaders, “And here we are at FedFWD talking about moving our platforms into place to protect and defend the digital battlespace.”
She echoed what we heard from many of her peers: those who had transformation plans in place adapted quickly. They pivoted and accelerated those transformations and were able to adapt with speed and agility.
Let’s look at one of the questions federal leaders are asking: how can the explosion of data help the federal government better serve the American people?
Paul Brubaker, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and Deputy CIO told us, “You're seeing more and more sensors, usable, wearable technologies that are monitoring the health and wellbeing of veterans and that's a lot of ones and zeroes that are moving and we have to make sure that we're protecting that data.”
NASA’s Ron Thompson, the Associate Chief Information Officer for Transformation and Data and Chief Data Officer said, “Data is one of the core thrusts that we're seeing as absolutely pivotal.” He called data a strategic asset for NASA.
Underlying that surge in data is the networking and software power to process, analyze and empower decision makers with Cisco technology.
Whether we’re helping NASA look to the stars or help veterans have more timely health information and treatment, Cisco has, is and will continue to partner with federal agencies to help them understand how technology can help serve the mission so that together we can define the art of the possible.
We believe that between tradition and transformation, there’s a bridge. We’re proud to help our customers and partners in the federal government meet the mission to build a recovery for the American people that leverages the power and potential of technology and innovation.