Chief technology officers (CTOs) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Labor (DoL), U.S. Marshals Service, and the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) this week shared what their top priorities are going forward to ensure technology in government continues to evolve.

For Sanjay Koyani, CTO at the DoL, his number one priority is ensuring emerging technology innovation continues to be built out as a mature service for the department’s program areas, and “not as an add-on.”

“Technology in a lot of cases can be the easy part. Making sure that you’ve got leadership support, you’ve got the budget, you’ve got good systems in place to do this, you’re constantly demonstrating impact and value… is key,” Koyani said during a July 6 Federal News Network event.

“On the people side, hiring up talent, retaining talent, it’s a hard thing sometimes to get – finding the right contracting support for that kind of work as well,” he added. “And not just training within our program, but across all of DoL around the value this can create and for all of us to start thinking about it from that mindset.”

On the process side, Koyani explained that DoL has created innovation incubators and has started to get the infrastructure in place for Robotic Process Automation and AI. However, he said it’s the “maturing of that and it serving as a prime way we think about our operations” that is important.

As for NAVWAR, CTO Carly Jackson said her number one priority is “overmatching a technologically savvy adversary.”

“We’re just really focused on energizing our highly technical workforce and giving them all the tools, to include technology, but also addressing the culture and experience so that they are energized to field and develop the technologies that really will provide overmatch in their individual areas of expertise and domains,” Jackson said.

Similarly, U.S. Marshals Service CTO Christine Finnelle is also focusing on energizing and empowering her workforce so that they can best utilize technology.

“Our number one priority is empowering the adoption of innovative technology and ensuring that our users – whether it’s our business or our end-users – understand how they can adopt that technology get to that data, and hopefully maintain that data at the edge,” Finnelle said.

“All of those things are super key, but that culture shift is really the main driver between what will be successful and how we become more efficient as an organization,” she added.

Finally, DHS has been “investing a lot of calories” into figuring out how to make their operation “better, faster, stronger,” according to CTO David Larrimore.

“Everything has to find a way to lead to a burden reduction, increase experience, providing improved experiences the citizens and non-citizens alike,” Larrimore said. “We need to prioritize that across the department.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.