NewsSep 28, 2023

Credera Veteran’s Network presents: A discussion with U.S. Ambassador for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, Nathaniel Fick

Francisco Garza, Jose Ochoa, and Thomas O'Dell

On September 15, the Credera Veteran’s Network (CVN) in partnership with Elite-Meet, hosted an expert panel discussion between Ambassador Fick and Credera leaders on emerging technology. The discussion was designed to give veterans, who are interested in technology, insight on the state of cyber diplomacy, while also amplifying the Ambassador’s message to business leaders across the globe.

The audience ranged from Credera leaders in the U.S., Asia-Pacific, the UK, and Germany, as well as leaders from Elite-Meet. Ambassador Fick spoke on a wide range of topics, many with recurring themes that are relevant to world leaders and entry-level consultants alike.

The Office of the Ambassador’s responsibility for Cyberspace and Digital Policy

The Ambassador articulated how he is helping the U.S. with diplomacy related to tech issues around the world, trying to integrate the U.S. national strategic objectives and to tech diplomacy. He defined three broad areas, cyber security, telecommunications security (fiber, cable, and other internet technologies), and emerging technology (artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and synthetic biological technologies). Ambassador Fick emphasized the need for digital freedom, and how it must remain fundamentally inclusive and stable for government and civil society to thrive.

Priorities of Ambassador Fick in his role

The Ambassador's overarching priority is institutionalizing the work of tech diplomacy within the U.S. government. He aims to build an organization that will add critical value to U.S. foreign policy, and systematize sharing expertise, including through field-based and highly trained foreign services officers deployed at each U.S. embassy around the world.

Through further discussion he highlighted three topics.

  1. As an ambassador he is committed to U.S. national security policy with on focus on cyber security, cyber stability and digital freedom.

  2. Recognizing emerging threats and ensuring that we are building trusted digital networks around the world.

  3. As an organization, the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy must have the bandwidth and availability to respond to emergencies, such as cyber-attacks, around the globe

His closing thoughts included technology innovation remaining our “north star” as a nation. Innovation as a source of national power is foundational, he said, and it is different than other traditional measures, noting that the government needs to do everything it can to promote a vibrant tech ecosystem that fosters robust innovation.

On veteran transitions and value to the workplace

The Ambassador served as a Marine infantry officer and conducted combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan; he attributes his military leadership training and experience as formative in his outlook on life. In particular, the Marine Corps motto of “Officers eat last” stresses servant leadership. He also mused on learning to distinguish between legal and moral authority, and as a Marine he always seeks to lead by example.

Ambassador Fick’s guiding principles

The Ambassador shared two broad categories he defined as his guiding principles which we have summarized as:

  1. Multi-stakeholderism - Effective development, deployment, and governance of tech cannot be done by government alone. Talent, equity, and innovation are predominantly in the private sector. Adversaries are far more centralized and top-down, less organic, and more authoritarian. This principle gives the U.S. and its allies a distinct advantage in innovation.

  2. Innovation should continue be our “north star”, this makes America unique even amongst our allies, which stems from a different view of regulation. Ultimately, we in the west are seeking to build trust and protect citizens from non-rights respecting use of technology while fostering an innovative and open digital ecosystem. And regardless of our approach, if we focus on protecting our innovative advantage, we can help address major global challenges.

Exploring innovation and AI

Some key highlights from our discussion included:

The Ambassador provided critical insights into the U.S. perspective on regulation surrounding emerging technology and generative AI. He emphasized that the U.S. is leading the way with voluntary commitments from more than a dozen corporate partners to protect safety, security and trust with consumers and governments. This volunteer effort is intended to allow companies and governments to remain nimble and doesn’t inhibit innovation.

Although voluntary commitments are just a start, they are necessary and valuable considering how dynamic and fast the ecosystem is growing. Due to the inclusive nature of the U.S. approach, it will take time to gain consensus, but embracing multi-stakeholderism will provide legitimacy for future action.

Ambassador Fick also addresses transparency and accountability in the decision-making processes of AI systems. He stressed the need for voluntary commitment, and highlighted the need for safety, security, and trust in new technologies.

The reality of these complex systems, he said, is that the outcome may not be predictable unless it has been used by a large number of people for a long period of time. Ultimately, this technology, especially AI, must be identifiable, testable, and secure to ensure that governments and consumers are protected from exploitation.

He shared that innovation in this space can progress only as fast as we can build trust. Trust may even be the foundation of the digital economy. The goal is not to eliminate all threats but to manage and educate on threats in the ecosystem that allow businesses and consumers to make their own decisions based on their needs.

Closing comments and reflection

At the conclusion of the event, Credera Global CEO Justin Bell thanked Ambassador Fick for his time and highlighted the unique nature of this engagement. Credera prides itself as a boutique global consulting firm, dedicated to many of the same themes the Ambassador is advocating for across the globe. As the Ambassador said in his comments, to maintain a fair, free, and just digital world it will take cooperation between government and private actors.

As a company, we are dedicated to being leaders in emerging technology, while retaining the irreplaceable boutique human touch. Credera will continue to strive to be innovative in the emerging technologies that the Ambassador spoke about, and we will proudly work to ensure a better tomorrow.

Credera Veteran’s Network

The mission of the Credera Veteran’s Network is to build and promote a community within Credera focused on recruiting, educating, developing, supporting, and connecting Veterans. Find out more about CVN here.

If you are interested in learning more about Credera or the CVN, please reach out to We’d love to continue the conversation with you.

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