FEDTECH: What technology-related policies, practices and employees will stay on board?
Schulman: The career civil service employees across all the agencies, and particularly across those that are dedicated to technology, will remain in place, regardless of who's president. That is a critical element of our peaceful transition of power. All the experts that the current Trump administration relies on, whether at the General Services Administration or the Department of Defense or Homeland Security, they'll be there, no matter what new things the new administration wants to do.
All that being said, I can't make definitive predictions of exactly what will be kept in and what will be tossed out. I'm pretty confident that the Trump administration will be ready to hand off whatever they find to be their own priorities, in technology or any other space. The Biden team will be well prepared to seek out and understand where there's been positive progress on any number of fronts, particularly given what they've said many times is their commitment to government innovation, government operational improvements and effectiveness.
Technology in government is actually an area where we've seen a lot of good continuity across administrations, not only in this one, but in prior ones. The focus on modernizing tech is likely to continue under the Biden administration. I’d expect that some of the major tech initiatives that the Trump administration put in place will also keep going, whether it be development of new technologies and emerging tech like artificial intelligence or quantum computing, and also the focus on encouraging agencies to use technologies like this. I think they've actually had some really great effect with a lot of innovation during this COVID timeline.
The other thing I'd say is that a lot of initiatives that are ongoing right now, like the Centers of Excellence, have a lot of bipartisan support in Congress. The IT Modernization Center of Excellence was even codified into law in December 2020. There's a lot of institutional, foundational agreement that tech modernization should continue. Other things that received a lot of attention, like the Technology Modernization Fund, were actually proposed under the Obama administration and implemented during the Trump administration, so — just a prediction — they’re likely to continue under a Biden administration.
It’s always an instinct that new administrations have to work against, to not discard the great work of the guy that went before them. I think the Biden administration, given their interest, is really well poised to pick up on the good initiatives from the Trump team as well.