Lassman Says Digital Tech. Enables Necessary Reorganization
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the nation continues to gird for battle with the new terrorist threat, Progress & Freedom Foundation Research Fellow Kent Lassman notes an “emerging connectedness” between levels of government and an evolution in governing systems to meet the demands of homeland security. At once a technological and social phenomenon, this “may constitute a fundamental change in federalism.” At least, Lassman says, it is causing significant changes in governance, enabled by digital technology.
“Today, the deployment and management of new information technology resources combined with a far-reaching demand for homeland security, are catalysts for a potentially long-lasting change in the relationships among citizens, localities and the federal government,” Lassman writes in ‘Networks Transformed’, published by Tech Central Station. Digital technologies at all levels of government have “transformed day-to-day processes and the institutions of government from within.”
This increased connectedness is necessary because of the nature of terrorism: “While terrorists strike at a target in a particular location the effects of the attack are simultaneously local, regional and national,” he writes. “Likewise, the public resources needed to prevent or, if necessary, respond to an attack are marshaled by multiple levels of government.”
“The focus on the Homeland Security legislation has been the creation of a new cabinet department,” he continues. “However, for nearly 18 months the trench work has been to develop new ways to distribute authority and responsibility.”
Lassman also says the E-Government Act of 2002 will encourage cooperation between levels of government. In particular, changes in federal security and procurement rules will make it easier for state and local governments to use federal contracting procedures. “This feature opens the door to new collaboration among levels of government – the creation of networked solutions – for complex problems like homeland security and immigration.”
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the impact of the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1993.