Jared Kushner speaks at tech event

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, is traveling to the Middle East this week in pursuit of a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a White House official confirmed Sunday night.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law, said before the opening of 10 four-hour small-group sessions that the administration wanted to “unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never happened before”. Some of the government’s oldest technology systems, Kushner added, are 39 to 56 years old.

During the daily press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer pointed to the White House’s recent decision to scrap an Office of Budgeting Management requirement that forced businesses to report their plans for handling the Y2K bug.

The meeting with almost 20 chief executives comes as the White House pushes to shrink government, cut federal employees and eliminate regulations. Spicer added that it was “pretty telling”, despite differences numerous CEOs have with Trump, that the administration was able to bring them together “to further the president’s agenda and to bring ideas to the table”.

The executives are part of the so-called American Technology Council that Trump formed in May to support efforts to modernize the USA government.

Yet numerous leading lights in the industry turned out for the first major meeting of the American Technology Council, which Trump commissioned in May and which is being shepherded by Kushner.

“We’re excited to engage”, VMware Inc VMW.N CEO Pat Gelsinger told reporters as he headed into the meeting.

Many CEOs, including Schmidt, IBM and Microsoft, declined to comment as they entered the meeting.

Much of the agenda for Monday’s meeting involves seeking ways for the Trump administration to adopt best practices from the private sector, including finding opportunities to recruit talented individuals to join the government. “This structure is unsustainable”, Kushner said.

The meeting was the first of the American Technology Council, a group of tech CEOs whose goal is modernizing the government’s “technology infrastructure”.

The CEOs and White House also planned to discuss Trump’s review announced in April of the USA visa program for bringing high-skilled foreign workers into the country. In 2015, hackers exposed the personal information of 22 million people from USA government databases.

The data center initiative carries forward some work begun in the Obama administration, which for years sought to identify and consolidate the federal government’s data centers which, at one, time counted near 11,000. A 2016 government audit found that in Medicaid alone, there was $29 billion in fraud in a single year.

Tesla founder Elon Musk and Disney’s Robert Iger, both quit Trump’s high-powered business advisory panel a few weeks ago, after the president pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord.

According to the administration, Trump’s call on the Paris agreement hasn’t dampened the White House’s relationship with Silicon Valley, senior officials said Friday, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss Monday’s closed-door session.