Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., called for members of Congress as a whole to boost their own technology-related credentials so that the Federal government can achieve greater success in tech-related innovation and efficiency.

Speaking at the MerITocracy American Innovation Forum on July 21, Rep. Bice talked about her work in the technology sector before coming to Congress, and on the need for more lawmakers to get up to speed on tech issues in order to better understand what’s at stake.

“I think there are not enough members of Congress that have a passion or an interest in that field,” Rep. Bice said.

“Whether it is for a national security . . . or agency initiatives, it is really important that we find members of Congress, educate them, and train them up so that they have the ability to be what I would consider subject matter experts in this field.” Doing so, she said, would “allow for us to innovate on the government side, streamline processes, reduce bureaucracy, and move our country forward.”

Rep. Bice, who came to Congress early last year, also expressed concern over the speed of technology acquisition in the public sector.

“There were several things that I realized pretty quickly, and [one] is that acquisition of technology by the public sector happens very slowly,” she said, adding, “as technology sort of advances, that procurement process delays our ability to be effective when we are trying to innovate and move technology forward for government.”

Looking at tech more broadly, she said one of the main factors that has hindered advancements in the field of technology has been the lackluster pursuit of technological certifications by younger individuals.

“For years, Americans have been told that they need a four-year college degree to be successful” she said. “However, many of you here [know] that this is simply not true.”

“The U.S., especially in my home state of Oklahoma, has a fantastic career tech system that can provide Americans with necessary training for a multitude of high tech careers” in network technology and cybersecurity, among others, she said.

Rep. Bice also noted that private sector firm are pursing the same course.  Those include Google, which she said is “utilizing these certifications to encourage young people to get into the computer science face while offering six months certifications rather than having to complete a four year college degree.”

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.