Technology In Government
by U.S. Service Terri Moon Cronk, DOD News
December 21, 2020
Technology innovation is about people and making sure the best
are hired, the deputy director of the National
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency said in a discussion on
"Driving Technology in Government" at the virtual 2020 Aspen Cyber
Summit in December 2020.
Dr. Stacey Dixon said the internship program at NGA,
a prime example, has developed is a way to get a lot of innovative
thinking and new skill sets. The agency is not only able to bring in
a more diverse part of its workforce by focusing on a university,
it's getting students excited about NGA. "We find that once you give
[interns] very meaningful projects to work on, they will come back
year after year, and, then, our conversion rate to full-time
employment is hovering at about the 70% mark with the interns," she
Dixon said such a program is a good way for students to
try out the government to see if it's something that might interest
them. And as for people coming in from the outside, she says not to
assume their ideas are the best ideas.
government tends to be more bureaucratic in many ways than
industry," she said. "However, once you figure out how things work,
you can bring your new ideas, and you will find that there are a lot
of innovative people and capabilities inside [government]. And it's
a matter of merging the two: bringing your experiences from the
outside in, and then figuring out how to interact and collaborate
within the government to get your ideas to move forward."
The Army Corps of Engineers and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency reveal concept renderings for the Next NGA West (N2W) campus from the design-build team McCarthy HITT's winning proposal on April 9, 2019. The entire campus is expected to be operational in 2025. (U.S. Army photo by James Lowe)
and teleworking put NGA in a place where the agency needed to figure
out how to operate in a world in which most employees were out of
the building very quickly and needed to get a lot of meaningful work
done, she said.
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NGA gave employees a challenge to see what they could find out in
terms of publicly- and commercially-available data that can
contribute to their mission, she said.
"We've been astounded
at the types of products and analysis we've been able to do that has
either been standalone products or products that we could bring in
and enhance with classified information," Dixon said.
allowing people to know their innovation, productivity and ability
to learn something new is welcome, she said. "That's the kind of
environment we want. We want people who are willing to go learn new
things and figure out how to make them work within the mission that
we've given them."
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency reveal concept renderings
of an interior look of the Next NGA West (N2W) campus from the design-build team McCarthy HITT's winning proposal, April 9, 2019. The entire campus is expected to be operational in 2025.
(U.S. Army photo by James Lowe)
Dixon said she wants the American people to have more trust in
government, in general.
"In the intelligence community, we
have a lot of secrets, but we really go out of our way to be
transparent, to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars," she said.
"We're really jeopardizing our future, so I want faith in our
government… and an understanding [that] I want to keep this country
safe. I want to keep this country prosperous. And I want to make
sure that our values are values that we can define and determine, so
anything that the public can do to help, that is what I'm asking."
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