Defense

State of the union fails to leverage tech-savvy administration

Anyone expecting the leader of the most technology-focused White House to date to offer an innovation roadmap for the battered economy was probably disappointed in President Obama's state of the union address Tuesday evening.

Obama made a glancing reference to recently-announced plans for Business.USA.gov, a new federal website to help entrepreneurs, businesses and the unemployed navigate mountains of relevant federal data, when he mentioned the experiences of Jackie Bray, "a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic."

"I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need. It is time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work," Obama said.

He also raised the issue of cybersecurity: "To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I have already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing danger of cyberthreats" -- a reference to the White House cyber proposal introduced on Capitol Hill last May.

"This is nothing less than a matter of national security," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., in a statement. "The Secretary of Defense has warned that the next Pearl Harbor could be a cyber attack. Our systems are being tested, probed, and attacked on a minute-by-minute basis by hackers, criminals, and foreign powers. And we are losing our intellectual property and military and industrial secrets to cyber thieves at an alarming pace."

Most of the address was focused on domestic issues, and references to technology and innovation didn't suggest any new programs in the offing, although Obama did urge lawmakers to "tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow" and invest in basic research.

"Don't let other countries win the race for the future," Obama said. "Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries."

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