Discover the big ideas being explored at this seminal event through the voices of Booz Allen leaders.
Booz Allen Executive Vice President Francis J. (Jimmy) Henry moderated a panel titled “What Is the Role of Economic Institutions in Economic Growth and Stability?” at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival on July 2, 2011. Panelists included Alan Greenspan, the 13th chairman of the Federal Reserve Board; David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group; and Robert Steel, chairman of the Aspen Institute and former undersecretary for domestic finance at the US Department of the Treasury. Henry shares his observations on the role Booz Allen plays with clients in a difficult fiscal and economic environment.
It was interesting that all three panelists put things back into a historical context. It’s frightening, what’s going on. But less so when you look at how things have evolved over a long period of time and realize versions of this have happened already. This is a big issue, but it’s not the end of the world.
Booz Allen has the capability and experience to help our clients to look at a large number of scenarios, and then identify important central tendencies. If almost all of the scenarios suggest that two things that need to be considered, that’s good to know. In short, we work with all our clients—whether, for example, they’re in the financial sector, the healthcare industry, or the US Navy—to play out scenarios that help them make the best and most appropriate choices.
The economy and the debt ceiling was another subject Clinton discussed, and many of his comments echoed discussions that took place earlier in the week at the Aspen Ideas Festival on the two economy-focused panels moderated by Booz Allen Executive Vice President Francis J. (Jimmy) Henry: How Do We Reduce the Deficit and Still Invest in a Growth Economy? and What Is the Role of Economic Institutions in Economic Growth and Stability? In particular, Clinton passionately articulated how getting healthcare spending under control would go a long way in reducing the deficit—a view expressed in by participants in both of the Booz Allen panels.
Booz Allen Senior Vice President Peter Trick moderated a discussion with three big city mayors titled “Could It Be: Reimagining the Infrastructure and Institutions of America’s Cities in the 21st Century” on July 2, 2011, at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival. The panelists included Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ; Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles; and Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco and current lieutenant governor of California. Trick shares his observations on the discussion below.
One that was fascinating to me was the sense of competition between the cities to try and best each other in solving their problems. Another one that I think is very important for the country to think about is the role of “city-states.” Essentially, this was a model that was used in ancient Greece and Rome and elsewhere in Europe. The question we need to ask is how much power and how much economic development can be driven at the municipal level.
Competition stimulates the best ideas in so many ways, so I’m absolutely convinced that this notion of competition between cities, drawing on best practices from each other to try and outdo each other, is going to be a real ingredient in America’s transformation.
Booz Allen Senior Vice President Kristine Martin Anderson moderated a panel titled “The Promise and Pitfalls of Personalized Medicine: How Far Can It Go?” on July 1, 2011 at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival. Panelists included David Agus, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine; Mara Aspinall, founder, director, and former CEO of On-Q-ity, a personalized medicine company focused on using advanced diagnostics to transform cancer life cycle management; and Thomas J. Miller, Jr., CEO of Siemens Healthcare’s customer solutions division, which includes the company’s healthcare IT business.
Martin Anderson shares her observations about the panel discussion below.
Given that the biggest issue we’re facing today in healthcare policy is how to make healthcare affordable, I took two things away. One is that we need to move spending toward prevention and early treatment, and to make that happen we need to figure out ways to remove barriers in the payment system. The other is that there aren’t any longitudinal incentives in the system: People are on private insurance, with different plans every three years, and then they eventually end up on Medicare, when everything manifests itself and taxpayers pay the bill. The real question from a public policy perspective is how to align with the private sector to reduce overall costs through a person’s lifetime.
I do see a path. Several points were made about how the diagnostic process is more expensive if you’re going to personalize medicine, but remember we’re talking about expenses for an individual in the range of hundreds to low-digit thousands of dollars. When we talk about manifestation of disease and long-term chronic illness for that same individual, costs rise into the range of tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. If we think about it entirely in terms of cost, I think personalized medicine does help, but I’d say we’re probably a decade away.
If you think about the volume of information that’s required for personalized medicine, it’s a key tool. But currently electronic health records are really transaction systems. They are the way a doctor orders a test from a lab or orders medications from the pharmacy. They lack sophisticated alerting mechanisms to warn a doctor that a patient is allergic to a particular drug, for instance. I do think the next generation of electronic health records will be analytics based, and much more able to give insight into the needs of an individual patient.
Moderator Jimmy Henry (L) and panelists (L to R) Al Hubbard, Alan Simpson, and Jared Bernstein
Booz Allen Executive Vice President Francis J. (Jimmy) Henry moderated a panel titled “How Do We Reduce the Deficit and Still Invest in a Growth Economy?” on July 1, 2011, at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival. Panelists included Al Hubbard, co-founder and CEO of E&A Industries; Alan Simpson, former Wyoming Senator; and Jared Bernstein, Assistant to the Vice President for Economic Policy. Henry is market lead for Booz Allen’s civil business, supported by a team of 6,000 staff and 170 vice presidents and principals. He is also member of the firm’s Leadership Team.
He shares his impressions and thoughts following the panel below.
First, that all of the panelists agree that this is a “no kidding” time in the discussion about deficit reduction, and that we need some political will to make something happen.
Second, when asked if there was a single specific priority, all three localized in on healthcare and the need for containment of healthcare costs and finding improvements in that area. I was a little surprised because other topics get a lot of air time.
And finally was the idea that entitlements like Social Security and other programs that have existed for a long time need to be put in play. Everybody said it, even Jared. I was pleasantly surprised that despite big differences in opinions, there was a uniformity or coherence toward certain important things.
We are looking at a broader push to help clients look at balanced approaches to generating efficiencies. If you need to pull 5 or 10 percent out of a budget, there are better ways to do it, and there are less attractive ways to do it. We are creating some frameworks that we think will have great resonance with our client—new approaches that provide systematic, logical, defensible ways of making difficult choices.
We’ve had an emphasis in this area for a long time, particularly around healthcare economics and technology applications that apply to healthcare. They lead to two things: First and most important is better patient care. And second is how to squeeze costs out of the system. There are ways to squeeze costs out of a segment of the economy that is heavily regulated and running at between 16 and 17 percent of GDP, and rising.
Panelists (R to L) Mike McConnell, Michael Chertoff, Jane Harmon, and Philip Zelikow, and moderator Jeffrey Goldberg
Booz Allen Executive Vice President Mike McConnell participated in a panel titled “Could 9/11 Happen Again?” on June 28, 2011, at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival. McConnell, who leads the Intelligence business for Booz Allen, served from 2007 to 2009 as US Director of National Intelligence. He appeared alongside Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security; Jane Harman, president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a former US Representative; Philip Zelikow, the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia; and moderator Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent of The Atlantic. Mike McConnell shares his impressions of the topic, especially as it relates to cybersecurity:
In an earlier discussion here in Aspen, Tom Friedman made the point that from virtually any point on the globe, you can touch virtually any other point on the globe at the speed of light. The Internet is part of the global telecommunications system that allows us to transfer money, manage electric power, operate transportation systems, and engage in commerce. With a very small investment, a radical group in a remote location can attack that soft underbelly of the United States.
Virtually every major database of any consequence that we’ve examined—the aerospace industry, financial institutions, the Library of Congress, the Department of Defense, the State Department—has been subject to a persistent effort to infect and leave a path to extract additional information.
Quite frankly, we’re seeing a huge level of response. A number of us have been talking about the need to address this threat for a long time, and in 2010 that moment finally arrived. Google was attacked by the Chinese. It was a very vigorous attack mostly aimed at capturing Google’s entire process for the purpose of duplication. Stuxnet, the first precision weapon in cyberspace, was released with devastating impacts on its intended target. And Wikileaks released our diplomatic cables. All of the sudden people realized that there were ways to literally bring down an institution from inside by compromising its information systems.
(R to L) panelists Joan Dempsey, Melissa Bradley, Anne Mosle, and David Leonhardt, and moderator Michel Martin
Booz Allen Hamilton Senior Vice President Joan Dempsey sat on a panel titled “Women on the Rise: Why Invest in America’s Women?” on June 28, 2011, at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival. She appeared alongside Melissa L. Bradley, CEO of Tides, a nonprofit that supports the delivery of social services; Anne Mosle, executive director of Ascend at Aspen Institute; David Leonhardt, Pulitzer Prize winning economics columnist at the New York Times; and Michel Martin, the panel moderator and host of NPR’s “Tell Me More.”
Listen to the full panel discussion:
Dempsey shares her impressions of the topic and discussion below.
I really think the burning issue is that we’ve got an economy that is going to falter if we don’t in the coming years get women up to a fully productive level that is on par with men.
I think the challenge is much more around wealth inequity. We heard tonight from a young woman involved at the Aspen Institute, in this elite audience, say that she’s not sure there is a problem because in the millennial generation the men want the same high quality of a life as the women. Where I come from in southwest Arkansas, men and women in their 20s don’t see themselves as part of the millennial generation. They see themselves as struggling to get jobs and earn enough money to take care of their families. In order to support the idea of raising people up and giving them the opportunity to excel across the board, we need affluent men and women to give voice to people who are not affluent.
The United States faces unprecedented challenges to maintain and upgrade its ageing infrastructure, everything from bridges to water treatment plants to power grids. The US Chamber of Commerce warns that the country needs to spend $2 trillion to modernize that infrastructure or risk jeopardizing its global economic and social leadership. Booz Allen seeks to promote actionable solutions to these issues through a panel I’m facilitating on July 2 at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival, Re-imagining the Infrastructure and Institutions of America’s Cities in the 21st Century.
The discussion will illuminate how our nation must figure out how to re-imagine and rebuild its infrastructure given current limitations, responsibilities, and opportunities. The panel will discuss policy changes, financing reforms, and the consensus needed to address primary problems.
A key focus will be local action on infrastructure issues, particularly environmental issues related to technology and infrastructure. Cities across the United States are showing remarkable leadership in upgrading their infrastructure while accounting for other major concerns such as climate change. The more active cities are, the more they will inform both state and federal debates to further strengthen environmental protection while ensuring high US productivity, competitiveness, and quality of life.
We will also discuss the need for longer-term strategic planning across agencies, akin to what the US Department of Defense does with its Quadrennial Defense Reviews. A long-term view is essential for the private sector, which owns more than 85 percent of critical infrastructure and needs the confidence to make essential longer-term capital investments.
I’m looking forward to a fascinating and enriching discussion, which I’ll recap here after July 2.
(R to L) moderator Richard Wilhelm and panelists Jonathan Zittrain, Lawrence Lessig, James Fallows, and Jeffery Rosen
Booz Allen Hamilton Executive Vice President Richard Wilhelm moderated a panel titled “The Freedom of the Press in the Age of (Wiki)Leaks” on June 28, 2011, at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival. The panel included Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law at Harvard University; Lawrence Lessig, professor of law at Harvard University; James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic; and Jeffery Rosen, professor of law at George Washington University and legal affairs editor of The New Republic. Wilhelm shared the following thoughts and observations following the panel:
I was particularly intrigued by Lawrence Lessig’s analogy that in the past, information leaks were more like a drip, drip, drip … relatively small, and relatively easy to deal with, as opposed to the tsunami of information that technologies, particularly anonymous technologies, have required us to deal with in recent years.
Another was that prosecution in these cases will fail, that it is not a legitimate response to the situation we face.
The third aha moment, which is more implied than anything else, is that there is no way to keep it a secret if there is huge data breach. Those who did it are going to brag about it. It’s going to be out there, and it’s going to get around instantaneously.
Most of us growing up before the cyber age would never think about going down the street and taking a piece of mail from a neighbor’s box. But we have a whole generation who doesn’t think twice about tapping into somebody else’s data in cyberspace without permission. They don’t view it as a crime. Rather they view it as sport, or more importantly that information is free. We’ve got to change that dynamic a little bit, and I think we’ve got a great opportunity.
The Aspen Ideas Festival stands apart from many other conferences for the simple reason that here, ideas come first. In turn, the exchange of ideas drives the development of the most actionable and appropriate solutions to today’s biggest global challenges. The richer and more extensive the dialogue, the more everyone benefits—attendees, sponsors, and our clients alike.
The Ideas Festival embodies our philosophy of megacommunities: how government, business, and civil sectors must tackle today’s large-scale issues of unprecedented complexity together because no one sector can handle them alone.
Aspen gathers some of the smartest and most dynamic people across these sectors and many different disciplines to brainstorm real solutions. Attendees can engage with a diverse set of global thought leaders on an amazing range of topics, from economics to security to the environment.
Booz Allen’s participation in this year’s event is quite broad. The seven panels in which we are involved tackle challenges that are important to our clients and to society:
With each of these panels, we at Booz Allen have the opportunity to inspire, participate in, and, learn from probing discussions about issues relevant to our clients’ challenges and our business.
The Aspen Ideas Festival brings together a large number of very passionate, action-oriented people to help solve some of the biggest problems facing the world today. As a problem-solver myself, I can’t help but be inspired by the ideas generated there.
What’s phenomenal about participating is that we not only get to shape and test new and emerging ideas, but we also get to generate brand new ideas and insights that benefit our clients. That’s one of the biggest reasons Booz Allen has supported the Ideas Festival since its inception.
One of the most distinctive features of the event is the cross-pollination among so many different fields and experts. It enables us to “connect the dots” and augment our problem-solving capabilities in ways we otherwise may never have considered.
Case in point: I went to the festival a couple of years ago and had a fantastic experience. Going in I was focused on healthcare, but what really grabbed me were discussions about education, particularly how education affects health. I met a number of people showing new tools and techniques to educate children about health. We adapted that material and have made good use of it in our business over the past year.
I enjoy this event for personal reasons as well. Our lives as consultants are rather hectic. We are very outcome-oriented, so we create a lot of deadlines and we respond to a lot of deadlines. What I love about the Aspen Ideas Festival is that it provides some time to relax and reflect with others that are in the same contemplative state. This intellectual “eye of the storm” enables us to really delve into the issues that are important to the future. It’s not only great for us but also for our clients, who often ask us to focus on those same issues.
The track I’m personally looking forward to the most is the Future of Healthcare. The healthcare industry is going through massive changes in financing and delivery systems, not to mention all the new science, diagnostics, personalized medicine, and focus on Health IT. I’m eager to see what fascinating new ideas and solutions come up.
High-profile data breaches have made global headlines in recent years, forcing the public and private sectors alike to grapple with data privacy and security. How do these breaches affect debates about disclosure, secrecy, civil rights, and national security? We seek to answer this and related questions in a panel I’m moderating at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival, “Freedom of the Press in the Age of (Wiki)Leaks.”
Technology and the 24-hour news cycle have exposed Americans to huge amounts of information, and culturally they’ve begun to get used to that. Our nation rightfully prides itself on openness but like any state, it needs limits to openness in some cases. These differing viewpoints have set up a conflict between Americans who want access to more and more information and the legitimate rights of societies and governments to limit access to certain types of information.
The recent unauthorized release of classified government information is a microcosm of issues affecting health records, financial data, and many other different data types. There’s a lot of information out there about everybody, and at some point we’ll need some consensus on national limits for using it and what our rights should be.
I think this issue will resonate with everyone attending this year’s event. Nearly all our clients face these challenges, which factor into daily decisions at the US departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State, among others. The advent of electronic health records means the issue is even more relevant to the civil sector and the general public.
As with many things in life, addressing this issue is about striking the right balance. Finding consensus requires sound judgment and reasonable, actionable criteria.
Quite frankly, we as a nation are not quite there yet but we are moving in that direction. This panel will be another point in that evolution. We won’t get to all the issues, but hopefully we can shine light on some of the more important ones.
I hope you’re as eager as I am for another showcase of fascinating discussions at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival. It’s a privilege and a thrill to participate in this annual forum where leading thinkers brainstorm solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing our country and the world.
What makes the Aspen Ideas Festival such a unique and inspiring event is that it serves as a test bed for ideas. It enables us to put a topic on the table and attract leading thinkers on that particular topic to test and refine the idea through panel discussion. This exchange of ideas between luminaries from so many different fields helps inform Booz Allen’s own interdisciplinary approach to helping our clients with their complex challenges.
Aspen Ideas Festival 2011 marks the seventh year that Booz Allen has sponsored and participated in the event. That’s a testament to the power of the good ideas we find there. We have numerous examples—in cyber and mission integration, to name a few—where insights from the event have yielded the advanced thinking needed to deliver and effective results for our clients.
Looking back over the many years I’ve attended Ideas Fest, I know I won’t be disappointed in my expectations of encountering something unexpected at this year’s event. And therein lies the reward—I personally know I will walk away with five to 10 new ideas to bring forward to our clients.
This blog will serve as a channel through which we will share news about the Aspen Ideas Festival, coverage of event activities, and perspectives from Booz Allen. In addition to reviewing what’s included on this site, I encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more insight and regular festival-related updates surrounding our stay in Aspen.
EVP leading the firm's defense business and functional integration initiatives
Retired Executive Vice President who leads the civil business.
SVP who is leading the firm's work in health information technology.
Vice Chairman leading the firm's cyber capabilities.
EVP leading the firm's Intelligence business.