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Meet the Fellows 2019: Frank Reyes

I’m here to learn and to serve. To learn our legislative process beyond Schoolhouse Rock. To serve by providing insight, explanation, and advice to staff and members on current and emerging technology.

As a veteran and former federal employee, I frequently experienced policies that felt like they were created in a vacuum. No input from those affected by the policy and no feedback about their “real-world” effects. I believe informed policy makers, through greater understanding of technical subjects, would craft better legislation. The opportunity to serve Congress, “the voice of the people,” as a fellow is an honor and serves the mission to improve legislative outcomes for our country.

Here’s the challenge. Given all the issues Congress must address, I feel that most members and their staff lack the time to develop the technical expertise needed to tackle tough technology problems. We often fail to realize that congressional staffers are some of the most talented individuals from some of the best schools. Unfortunately, very few of them have a background which provides a deep understanding of the STEM areas. It’s impractical to expect members and staffers to be experts in every field – especially one that changes as quickly as technology. We’ve seen this limited bandwidth and expertise with the types of questions during the hearings of tech executives and government officials in recent years. As a fellow, I can provide information to help members better understand ever-changing technology issues.

During this Fellowship, I intend to focus on technology policies that foster an improved national security innovation ecosystem. Specifically, I’d like to concentrate on three areas: acquisition innovation, talent management, and technology partnerships.

-Acquisition Innovation – improving the government’s ability to partner with industry, strengthening the national industrial base, and doing so faster while maintaining fair and transparent competition.

-Talent Management – preparing the military and civilian workforce for increased human-machine teaming, identifying education models that instill an innovative culture, and simplify the process for individuals to move in and out of government.

-Technology Partnerships – improving the collaboration between government, industry, and academia to develop dual-use technologies, sharing of technology road maps and gaps, and sourcing technology from non-traditional communities.

Throughout the Fellowship, I’ll be looking to collaborate with thinkers, doers, disruptors, and change agents from government, industry, and academia. I want to understand what’s working and where the gaps are, what’s been tried and has yet to be tried, what obstacles exist and what incentives are needed. Ultimately, I want to highlight and elevate novel solutions to create an impact in technology policy.