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IT Town Hall Ceremony

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Remarks Prepared for Delivery by
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
IT Town Hall Ceremony
Washington, DC
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Thank you, Vicki, [Hildebrand – DOT Chief Information Officer] for that introduction.  And let me commend you for your leadership as the Department’s Chief Information Officer.   

I am so pleased to be here for this town hall, and for the presentation of awards to recognize outstanding performance by our colleagues in Information Technology.   While this is my first time joining you as Secretary, I often attended ceremonies such as this when I served as Deputy Secretary. Recognizing outstanding performance has always been a favorite part of my job. 

Congratulations to the more than 40 IT colleagues who will receive recognition today for outstanding performance.
In fact, I’m so proud of the entire IT team and everything you are doing.  Your coworkers have learned to depend upon your professionalism and computer skills. So, when a computer crashes, or some other computer-related problem occurs, no matter what the cause is, the Information Technology team gets the call.  This puts you under a great deal of pressure, because when a problem occurs, everyone wants THEIR problem fixed immediately, if not sooner. 

A properly functioning IT system is necessary for the Department to achieve its three priorities:

  1. Safety, which must always be number one;
  2. Repairing and addressing the infrastructure needs of our country; and
  3. Preparing for the future by engaging with new technologies to ensure safety without hampering innovation.

Computers are playing a role in achieving all these priorities.  Data and automation are playing an increasing role in the transportation system.  The average car has more powerful computing power than the Apollo spacecraft that traveled to the Moon.  Data analysis is improving safety.  Computer aided navigation is becoming indispensable on land, sea and air.   In short, a first-class information technology system is becoming increasingly important as data and computers are driving transportation innovation.

This is why the new “Destinations Digital” transformation plan is so exciting.  Vicki has set nine aggressive transformation goals, to turn the Department into a technology powerhouse.  They include, but are not limited to:

  • strengthening the Federal IT workforce
  • modernizing multi-modal processes
  • reducing malicious cyber incident
  • Shrinking the IT footprint
  • Implementing intelligent software
  • promotion of transportation cybersecurity,

That type of transformation is hard work, and everyone in the Department appreciates your dedication.  The results will make a real difference not only to your co-workers in the Department, but to the public who depends upon the Department to help maintain the safest and best transportation system in the world.

So, thank you for all you do. You are making a real difference.  Keep up the good work!

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