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Helping government navigate change and weather disruption

Dawn Scalici  Government Global Business Director

Dawn Scalici  Government Global Business Director

Disruption doesn’t have to have a negative connotation; it can lead to opportunity. True leaders embrace it to succeed in a rapidly shifting landscape.

We recently held our second annual Government Conference in Washington, D.C., bringing together federal government customers and industry leaders who serve the government space for a day of provocative discussions.

We took an edgier approach to our event this year and selected the theme of “Finding Opportunity in Disruption” to shed a light on the rapid pace of change we experience domestically, globally and technologically.

As a business, we recognize that disruption doesn’t have to have a negative connotation; disruption can lead to opportunity. True leaders embrace it to succeed in a rapidly shifting landscape.

Two keynote speakers helped set the tone for the day. We were privileged to have the event kicked off with a speech from acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. While his remarks were off the record, I can say that he delivered an inspiring message on leadership, particularly in the face of disruption. Freshman Representative Jack Bergman, the highest ranking military officer ever elected to Congress, spoke later in the day sharing insights from both his military and Congressional service. His message of leading through disruption and preparing for the mission ahead, with a focus on perseverance, teamwork and diversity, rang true to all.

True leaders embrace disruption to succeed in a rapidly shifting landscape.

The day also featured four expert-led panel discussions focused on trending topics of interest to both government and industry, including:

  • News in the New Era. What’s real? What’s fake? And what matters?
  • Challenges posed by insider threats, government initiatives that have been deployed to address the issues, and the impact of technological advances in both propagating and disrupting such threats.
  • Changes in the global trade landscape and best practices relevant to trade enforcement and confronting supply chain risk.
  • Technological advancements pertaining to digital identity and its application for national security missions, to include screening and vetting to protect the U.S.

Never before has there been so much focus not only on the content of news, but the art of news making. Given the profound impact of social media on news reporting and the phenomena of “Rumint” (a term I was quite familiar with in the Intelligence Community) and “fake news,” we were pleased to feature a panel of Reuters news editors, photojournalists and investigative reporters to share their experience and insights gained from reporting on the domestic and international scene. In this era of “instant news,” the panel stressed the need to get the story right, not necessarily first, and to approach reporting in an appropriately aggressive but still balanced way. We learned that how you know what you report is central to what Reuters does, and that what you don’t release can sometimes be as important as what you report. This profound and passionate discussion was an important stage-setter for the remainder of the day’s discussions.

Are our mobile devices the solution for a more universal, convenient way to prove identity to access government and commercial services?

Given the growing risk of insider threats, and its impact on national and economic security, we featured an expert panel on the issue to further explore trend lines, responses and lingering challenges. While insider threat is not a new phenomenon, we are increasingly challenged by the seeming “normalization” of leaks and a growing perception—sometimes reinforced by the media—that leakers and whistle blowers share the same motivations. Ferreting out insider threat actors continues to be a daunting challenge, and one fraught with privacy-related concerns. The key, according to the panelists, is to compare a disparate array of data across a normalized baseline to identify and explore deviations from the norm. Technology solutions, however, continue to outpace government policies and practices to address the threat. Public-private collaboration, which also served as a continuing theme of our conference series – is key.

Global trade is inherently intertwined with economic competitiveness and prosperity. Given today’s deregulatory environment, and the fact that significant regulatory and policy change create both opportunities and disruption, a panel of government and industry experts explored the complexities of the issue. The current administration’s focus on economic growth, achieved in part through decreased regulations and red tape, has led the U.S. to revisit long-standing trade protocols. Given the complexity of global supply chains, the U.S. cannot act alone, and countries across the globe face the unrelenting challenge of moving goods at the speed of e-commerce. In today’s environment, the panelists stressed that we must dispense with the notion that vigorous global trade and security are incompatible—we indeed need both.

We closed out the day with a fascinating discussion on digital identity—an issue that sits at the intersection of commerce, regulation and security. The United Nations has set an ambitious goal of establishing a legal identity for every person on the planet by the year 2023. Technology is key to achieving scalability and security, while also addressing privacy concerns. The challenge is making this achievable across populations. The answer may be at our fingertips. Are our mobile devices the solution for a more universal, convenient way to prove identity to access government and commercial services? Regardless of the mechanism used, the panelists stressed the need for clear and logical standards that can evolve with both practice and technology.

The notion of a recurring Thomson Reuters conference to connect with government was established a year ago, and one that our entire team has happily embraced. Our goals this year were to drive discussions on pressing global issues, illuminate the needs of government, and encourage creative collaboration amongst the public and private sectors. I think I can confidently say that we hit all our marks. We have created new opportunities to engage government customers and support them in navigating change, weathering disruption and finding the answers necessary to support their mission. We’ve set a high bar for next year, and that’s a good challenge to have!

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