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Kushner: Government must move past floppy disks and Y2K and 'unleash the creativity of the private sector'

With the government still using floppy disks and checking for Y2K compliance, the private sector's creativity will help move the Trump administration past the turn of the century, presidential advisor Jared Kushner said Monday.

Major technology executives met with Kushner to gather ideas for modernizing the government. Kushner, who is also President Donald Trump's son-in-law, helps lead the White House Office of American Innovation, which he said aims to bring "business sensibility" to the government.

"We will unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never happened before," Kushner said.

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel of the Founders Fund and other technology executives and leaders attend the inaugural meeting of the American Technology Council in the Indian Treaty Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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Venture capitalist Peter Thiel of the Founders Fund and other technology executives and leaders attend the inaugural meeting of the American Technology Council in the Indian Treaty Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Kushner said his efforts are not being stymied by bureaucracy. He added that he is working with employees on eliminating outdated, unsustainable policies and systems that are as much as 56 years old and have held back departments like the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department.

"By modernizing these systems we will meaningfully improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans," Kushner said.

Chris Liddell, director of strategic initiatives for the Trump administration, told CNBC on Monday that the summit will especially focus on cloud and cybersecurity. The government has more than 6,000 data centers and spends $86 billion a year on technology, figures that are "orders of magnitude" higher than the private-market equivalents, Liddell said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (L) and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty attend the inaugural meeting of the American Technology Council in the Indian Treaty Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook (L) and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty attend the inaugural meeting of the American Technology Council in the Indian Treaty Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.

The government and Silicon Valley aim to work together despite the fact that technology leaders like Apple's Tim Cook and Alphabet's Eric Schmidt, for instance, have positioned themselves squarely against the administration on several issues.

Cook has said he believes Trump "decided wrong" by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Schmidt has been outspoken about the importance of more skilled immigration — while the Trump administration has advocated for stiffer oversight.

Technology executives and leaders, including Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) attend the inaugural meeting of the American Technology Council in the Indian Treaty Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House Jun
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Political differences have already caused fallout between Silicon Valley and Washington. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he would leave three presidential councils over the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

The meeting at the White House came as the SelectUSA Investment Summit, featuring major business leaders, gathered at the Capitol.

"We have already begun to seen many improvements," Kushner said.

— Reporting by Mary Catherine Wellons and Eamon Javers