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And Word Rings Forth, "Fund More Tech"

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, August 7 2009

Think more about technology. And by all means, figure out how we can buy more of it. That's the gentle nudge that Peter Orszag and John Holdren gave federal agencies in a joint memo issued this week.

The directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Office, respectively, asked federal offices to include in their 2011 budget request ideas for how scientific and technological research can confront "four practical challenges" facing the U.S, namely job growth, energy creation, health care, and national security.

What's more, think about playing well with each other, said Orszag and Holdren. In a nod to "today's open innovation model" that's all the rage outside the halls of government, agencies are given notice that "the whole chain from research to application does not have to take place within a single lab, agency or firm." Agencies are prodded to "become highly open to ideas from many players, at all stages."

We like to ask just how, exactly, Vivek Kundra, Aneesh Chopra, and other government technologists-in-residence are going to drag America to a tech-savvy future we talk much about. It's a good question. But this is also one good answer. Take some chunk of the enormous sums of money the U.S. government spends every year and start buying our way there. NextGov's Gautham Nagesh has more.