This week I am in Chicago for the kick-off meeting to establish the organization charged with delivering President Obama’s “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” (NSTIC). Many of my readers will now that I was nominated to be a candidate to Chair the Management Council of the new body, upon which it would be an honor to serve.
Many of you following the meeting in Chicago will have witnessed the inevitable teething issues of an infant organization. The plenary, meeting face-to-face and virtually, Wednesday and Thursday, rightly took a look at the draft bylaws put before the assembly and had a few questions. One of which concerned whether a person could be a candidate for more than one post.
8 candidates were conflicted and we all assumed that adequate mechanisms would be in place to separate out the elections (“take this post first; depending on outcome, x withdraws for subsequent election”, etc.). They were not. Instead, to cut a boring story short, the candidates were asked to choose one post and withdraw from the others, so that the single ballot could proceed for all posts.
We were given a few minutes’ notice. I chose to stick as a candidate for the unaffiliated stakeholder group, where I feel very welcome and at home, and withdraw as candidate for Chair. Many participants were saddened that I had to withdraw and stated that they would have voted for me – easy to say when you’re no longer running, but I’ll be magnanimous! 😉
My motto had been, and remains “workability”: it became clear to me, as it did for many participants, that the Management Council – and particularly the Chair – would have a very busy job in the coming months helping address some of the procedural shortcomings. And remember, this is all about an interim, six-month, period while all the creases are ironed out.
I felt (and I might have been wrong but remember, we had to decide on the hoof) that Brett in particular would have more time to devote to this as Chair than I could. So I stood aside.
Nonetheless, I feel it is even more important now that the Management Council “get’s it right”, doesn’t inflate its own importance, respects the will of the plenary, and gives the secretariat and NIST the support they need in delivering against tough political imperatives. So I feel, at this juncture, that being a voting member of the Council, representing unaffiliated stakeholders, would be a valuable role that I could play.
As the organization stabilizes and cuts its teeth, we will also all be in a better position to judge what exactly we need from candidates for all the positions going forward into 2013 and whether I should then offer my candidacy unequivocally for Chair on the platform that I laid out in my candidate statement.
Let’s make this thing work!