- By Michael Wilkerson<p> Michael Wilkerson, a journalist and former Fulbright researcher in Uganda, is a graduate student in politics at Oxford University, where he is a Marshall Scholar. </p>
The State Department’s two Twitter accounts and fancy-looking blog serve as a testament to the government’s effort to keep up with technology trends. And soon, if they’re lucky, State employees might even get to use Firefox.
At Hillary Clinton’s recent town hall meeting, State and USAID employees lined up to let her know what they think (seen above). When relatively new hire Jim Finkle requested the browser Clinton needed some backup from Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy:
[FINKLE]: Can you please let the staff use an alternative web browser called Firefox? I just – (applause) – I just moved to the State Department from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and was surprised that State doesn’t use this browser. It was approved for the entire intelligence community, so I don’t understand why State can’t use it. It’s a much safer program. Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, apparently, there’s a lot of support for this suggestion. (Laughter.) I don’t know the answer. Pat, do you know the answer? (Laughter.)
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: The answer is at the moment, it’s an expense question. We can —
[FINKLE]: It’s free. (Laughter.)
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: Nothing is free. (Laughter.) It’s a question of the resources to manage multiple systems. It is something we’re looking at…
Clinton went on to say that State had requested money for IT upgrades and she hopes Firefox works out. She also encouraged the audience to let her know of other ways the government can save money to use for similar upgrades in the future.
While they are upgrading, if Clinton really wants to increase productivity at Foggy Bottom, I think there is a clear solution: iPhones for everyone. Ohmygov! already has a guide to “11 iPhone apps to make your government job easier.”
(H/T: Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason.)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |