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Friday, June 29, 2012

Tom Still: Supreme Court ruling or no, health care reform well underway in America


By Tom Still
The U.S. Supreme Court’s July 28 decision to uphold the core of the Affordable Care Act, the full name for President Obama’s health care plan, didn’t end the political debate over government’s role in health care. In fact, the ruling has already become a defining issue in the fall elections.

While the political debate rages on, however, the real revolution in health care is taking place in the marketplace itself. It is being driven by cost-conscious patients, changing demographics, medical professionals, employers and other buyers of health plans, researchers, tech companies and even global competition in the form of trends such as “medical tourism.”

Whether or not the “Obamacare” reforms survive the political melee unleashed by the court ruling is anyone’s guess, but market forces already hard at work in health care will prove irreversible over time.

The Affordable Care Act prodded along changes already at play, but it didn’t start the game. A mix of factors in the private, “consumer-directed” and increasingly employer-directed markets have already accomplished more than any federal mandate.

“Although it will take some time to determine the full impact of the ruling, meaningful reform has already been set into motion, driven by payers, physicians, patients and technology,” said G. Steven Burrill, a Madison native and CEO of Burrill & Company, a global financial services firm focused on the life sciences.

Here are a few trends that are changing the face of health care:

* Demographics. As the “baby boom’ generation ages, the cost of solving their health care problems is growing. That’s why policymakers are panicking over Medicare’s long-term costs and worried about a looming shortage of health care workers just as the Boomers start to hit their creaky years.

* Technology. From electronic medical records to personalized medicine, technology is changing health care at an accelerating rate. While some observers worry that technology will only add to costs, much of the innovation in health care is aimed at improving quality and safety, which only reduces costs over time. It’s why electronic health records companies such as Epic Systems in Verona are thriving: The market is embracing technologies that work.

* Consumers. Patients are slowly becoming smarter, more informed buyers of health care, and employers are being forced to do so by rising costs. Real competition takes place in markets where consumers have the ability to make choices, can choose among comparable suppliers and have real information about costs. Inexorably, health care is moving toward that model.

A Wisconsin example of employer-driven health care reform is outlined in “The Company That Solved Health Care,” a book written by John Torinus, who served 20 years as chief executive officer at Serigraph Inc. Based in West Bend, Serigraph is a graphic parts manufacturer with about 1,000 employees in 10 plants.

When Torinus became alarmed about rising health care costs for the company and its employees, he didn’t wait for Congress to pass a new law. He acted by involving employees in their own health care, enabling them to be effective consumers by creating transparency of pricing.

In January 2004, Torinus launched a consumer-driven health care plan at Serigraph, asking his employees to accept higher deductibles and reasonable co-pays in exchange for incentives that range from a company-paid health savings account, to cash bonuses to paid time off. Three initiatives are at the heart of the plan — consumer responsibility, the return to the use of primary care doctors over specialists, and identifying high centers of value for health care and rewarding workers for using them.

Today, Serigraph spends about one-third less than the national average on health care. If the nation embraced a similar strategy, Torinus once calculated, the savings would top $800 billion per year – or enough to cover the nation’s uninsured and then some.

Of course, it will take a while before most Americans are enrolled in consumer-driven health care plans – or any plan at all, as is the case with about 40 million citizens. But the wheels of true change are finally turning. Now, let’s hope the “pro-reform” and “anti-reform” politicians recognize the health-care reform train is already moving.

-- Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tom Still: Wisconsin can play a prominent role in reinventing the Internet


By Tom Still
MADISON – By any standard, the Internet ranks as one of the leading innovations of our time. It has revolutionized everything from commerce to medicine to entertainment, all within the confines of a generation.

Too bad it's getting a bit long of tooth.

Although a spry 30-something in appearances, the Internet is prematurely aging. In part because of how it was built decades ago, the Internet is losing its ability to adapt. Many of the features that made the Internet a game-changer were baked into its infrastructure, making it difficult for today's engineers and computer scientists to innovate. The Internet was born in a mainframe world and now lives in a mobile society.

The need to essentially re-invent the Internet is behind a trend called "software defined networking," or Open Flow, that has commanded the attention of the industry's biggest names, academic researchers, major telecommunication providers and the White House itself.

Among the leaders in the movement is the UW-Madison, which last week formally announced its partnership with Cisco Systems – which developed the first commercially successful router – to create Open Flow capabilities for Cisco networking switches. It's a two-way street that means UW-Madison computer scientists will also get help from Cisco in building an experimental Open Flow network on the UW-Madison campus.

"Public-private partnerships like this create real value, enabling a higher level of innovation than is possible when companies and universities work in isolation," said Bruce Maas, vice provost for information technology and chief information officer for UW-Madison.

A day after the Cisco announcement, Maas and UW-Madison computer scientist Suman Banerjee were part of the curtain-raiser for U.S. Ignite, a public-private initiative to promote development of advanced applications serving universities, cities, manufacturing, health care and more.

That was paired with news that UW-Madison had won a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to begin work on the Global Environment for Innovation Network, a test bed that will bind other major universities and cities through use of software defined networking. It's a prototype that could dramatically boost broadband speeds – as much as 100 times faster than typical speeds today.

Maas believes Wisconsin could become the first state in the nation to embrace the Internet's trend toward software defined networking, especially if the public and private sectors work together.

Significantly, U.S. Ignite's supporters include AT&T, a major broadband service provider that is occasionally criticized – along with other major carriers – for not doing enough to make broadband coverage universal.

"The innovation targeted by U.S. Ignite speaks not only to our imagination but also exemplifies how government and private industry can work together," said John Donovan, AT&T's senior vice president for technology and network operations. "It is essential that we all work together to overcome the remaining barriers to universal broadband and the extension of advanced wireless service across America."

Is this a kumbaya moment in the Internet world? Not entirely.

Critics say the single biggest factor holding back broadband deployment and speeds in the United States is the refusal of major players to share the same delivery lines. "Nearly every other civilized country in the world requires some sort of compromise where multiple companies can compete while using the same physical broadband lines," wrote Sascha Segan, a columnist for PCMag.com .

Maas sees the advent of Open Flow and coalitions such as U.S. Ignite as an opportunity to get past those hurdles, however, especially if it's viewed first as an engineering and science problem to be solved by engineers and scientists.

"These two events present a real opportunity for Wisconsin. Working with others in Milwaukee and across the state, we can (build) this network. Let's talk about getting real engineers together to talk about what Wisconsin can do," Maas said. "It's the Wisconsin Idea at work."

Wisconsin has its challenges in terms of providing meaningful broadband and mobile coverage, and not just in rural areas of the state. Rather than wait for others to reinvent the Internet, Wisconsin experts can play a significant statewide role.

-- Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Dan Danner: Need courageous leadership? Ask Gov. Walker, small business owners


By Dan Danner
It takes a lot of courage to start a small business. It takes even more courage to stick with it during tough times like these when the nation's financial structure is wobbling, uncertainty fills the air and even the basic principles of free enterprise are being questioned by anti-business politicians.

Although the sinking economy has threatened the ranks of Main Street firms, there is no shortage of courage among America's risk-taking entrepreneurs. They have few doubts that the cure to the nation's economic ills can be found in the daily business practices they've proved time and again--if only our political leaders could summon the guts to adopt them.

One has simply to study the example of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who recently withstood an all-out assault by powerful labor unions determined to rob him of his duly elected office because he dared to challenge their powerful grip on the state's spending policies. Walker inspired and encouraged Badger State business owners by never wavering from his brave stand to bring fiscal responsibility back to the state. Holding the line for taxpayers and small-business owners, the governor won with strong support from a grassroots initiative launched by NFIB, the nation's oldest and largest small-business organization.

Like courageous small-business owners, Walker drew a line in the political dirt and refused to compromise his principles. It was a daring stand. Big labor is an intimidating force to be reckoned with, able to deliver on its threats at the ballot box against those who won't kowtow to the union label. But NFIB demonstrated that fear and intimidation are no match for educated citizens who understand that government must follow sound fiscal policies rather than pandering to those who view tax dollars as their sole entitlement.

Truly informed voters know that neither government nor labor unions create jobs that return significant benefits to the economy. In boosting Walker's effort to represent all citizens, not just a favored few, the organization drew much-needed attention to a courageous political leader's commitment to lower taxes, reform government spending, reduce unnecessary regulation and foster a more predictable legal atmosphere.

This is not a new endeavor for NFIB. We've worked hard building a grassroots movement for more than six decades. Most recently, we showed courage by challenging President Obama's health reform law before the Supreme Court, gained a favorable ruling for small businesses overregulated by the IRS, and successfully challenged the union-controlled National Labor Relations Board's demand that small firms display pro-union posters in their workplaces.

NFIB will soon ramp up its broad, national outreach to engage small-business owners in deciding key political races. Expect to see the images of Gov. Scott Walker and successful small-business owners on display as examples for those candidates who may not be familiar with the traits of courageous leadership.

-- Danner is president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents 350,000 small-business owners in Washington, D.C. and every state capital.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

GreenBiz: Oxi Fresh cleaning up Fox Valley carpets


By Gregg Hoffmann
Jeff Meixelsperger has had an interest in the environment going back to his Boy Scout days, before the term green was used for anything but naming the color.

So, when he was looking for yet another franchise business to start, he gravitated toward Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning, a carpet cleaning franchise that emphasizes environmentally safe products and procedures.

Meixelsperger recently opened a franchise in Green Bay and eventually plans to move south through the Fox Valley.

"I have the rights for the territory and want to expand to Appleton, Oshkosh and eventually Fond du Lac and other communities in the region," he said.

The Oxi Fresh web site says its system uses oxygen rather than large amounts of chemicals and steam, and uses pile-lifting technology that pulls dirt and oils from the bottom of the carpet rather than pushing it into the carpet.

"Most systems use 30 to 40 gallons of water. We use two to three gallons," Meixelsperger said. "One of the benefits of that is that the carpet is dry in an hour rather than a day.

"The solutions we do use are safe. People don't have to worry about burning their feet when they walk on it. It's safe for pets and kids. When it ends up in the storm sewers, it also is better for Mother Earth."

Oxi Fresh is listed as one of the fastest growing franchises overall in the country and the fastest growing in the carpet cleaning industry. It has more than 235 local companies in 45 states. In addition to what Meixelsperger is creating in the Fox Valley, there are franchises in Madison and Milwaukee.

Meixelsperger himself has ties to Madison, having worked as a materials manager for SSM Healthcare, which has St. Mary's Hospital in Madison and seven other hospitals in the state.

"While I was there, I served on a Preserve the Earth Committee, through which we tried to develop energy and environmentally efficient practices, from using re-usable coffee cups to reducing medical wastes and how we cleaned our facilities," Meixelsperger said.

So, that gave him exposure to green cleaning methods. He then started a franchise business called Pump It Up, an indoors kids' party facility which still exists in Madison.

That company had 28 employees and had more than 200,000 kids come through its doors in the years Meixelsperger owned it.

He sold that company when his wife accepted a job in the Green Bay area. For about a year and a half, Meixelsperger spent his time building a timber frame home in Forest County. Then, he started looking for another franchise business.

"The fact I had success in a franchise was another factor in starting another franchise business," Meixelsperger said. "The Oxi Fresh philosophy and approach to cleaning was another. I wanted to do something that helped Mother Earth."

Oxi Fresh was ranked 135th in Entrepreneur Magazines Franchise 500 this year. They were also featured in Inc. Magazine's Inc 500/5,000, a listing of the fastest growing, privately held companies in the U.S.

The carpet and upholstery cleaning services sector is a $5.3 billion industry.

-- Hoffmann has written many columns and features for WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com over the years. He will write the GreenBiz column monthly. -- Hoffmann is a veteran award-winning journalist and author. He writes the GreenBiz column monthly for WisBusiness.com .


Tom Still: Five bipartisan approaches to building a stronger Wisconsin economy


By Tom Still
Before the ballots were fully counted in Tuesday's recall election, Gov. Scott Walker was talking about bipartisanship. The same hopes were voiced by his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and key members of the Legislature.

After more than a year's worth of fractious politics, it remains to be seen if the state can pull together around common challenges and opportunities. It won't be easy, but neither is it impossible – especially if the agenda is focused and inclusive.

Here are five economic areas where Walker and the Legislature can help reinforce what should be an enduring Wisconsin brand: Innovation and leadership, even in divided times.

Meet workforce challenges across the education spectrum: While people still out of work might passionately disagree, Wisconsin has a shortage of workers in key areas. The often-cited example is welders, a symbol for an assortment of skilled manufacturing jobs, but it extends to workers in sectors as diverse as information technology, life sciences, health care, engineering and more.

In a state that is aging faster than the U.S. average, educating, attracting and retaining the right workforce is necessary. That begins at the K-12 level with stronger science, technology, engineering and math education (the so-called STEM disciplines) and extends to softer skills such as communication, working in teams and learning how to adapt in a rapidly changing world. Higher education was rarely mentioned during the campaign, but it must be front-and-center in any discussion about producing a world-class workforce.

Elevate Wisconsin's standing in a global economy: Exports from Wisconsin continue to climb in some of the state's bread-and-butter sectors. Manufacturing and agricultural exports rose sharply in 2011 and again in the first quarter of 2012. Foreign direct investment – or capital investments by companies from other nations in Wisconsin's economy – is also on the rise.

Wisconsin cannot hope to sell all of its high-quality products and services in the state, the region or even the nation. It must export and attract investment from abroad to grow. With the election behind him, Wisconsin's top salesman can now be Walker, who should be freed to build upon what is already a top-notch foundation for doing business overseas.

Create more companies at home: Wisconsin trailed the nation in producing startup companies in recent decades, but fresher reports indicate the state is climbing back into the game. While chasing out-of-state companies can be flashy, it's time-consuming and not nearly as efficient as planting seeds in your own backyard. One study after another has demonstrated that all net job creation in the United States is tied to growth by companies five years old or younger. As last week's Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference in Milwaukee demonstrated, there are plenty of emerging companies looking for a spot in the garden. They have the ideas, the talent and the energy. All that's needed are the right growing conditions.

Encourage early stage and growth capital: Among those growing conditions are enough cash to bring startup companies from the idea to the growth stage. Even during the sharply divided session that preceded the recall election, Walker and the Legislature came close to agreeing upon an approach that would have seeded more angel and venture capital. A combination of the best Republican and Democratic ideas already on the table could put Wisconsin in position to build more homegrown funds and networks – and to attract money from outside its borders.

Wisconsin is doing a solid job of putting its own private equity to work; it should now do more to leverage OPM – other people's money.

Build the right infrastructure: Roads, bridges, power lines and other traditional public works are part of the answer, of course, but so is a telecommunications system that can facilitate high-end research as well as electronic commerce in all corners of the state. Wisconsin needs to pull together the best and brightest minds in information technology to develop a plan that will meet its needs to efficiently transmit the gigabytes of data that define today's digital world.

That means fostering better broadband connections, but it also involves addressing the need for shared high-end computing platforms, adequate data storage, enhanced cybersecurity and more.

Wisconsin has just emerged from a bruising election. The combatants can choose to remain in their corners, where little or nothing will be done, or shake hands and roll up their sleeves. While wounds don't heal overnight, working on common economic goals can start the process.

-- Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jerry Meissner: U.S. Farm Bill "poison pill" provision threatens Wisconsin's $26.5 billion dairy industry


By Jerry Meissner
The debate over federal dairy policy, and the Dairy Security Act (DSA) contained within the more comprehensive U.S. farm bill legislation, is far from over. While the DSA portion of the Senate farm bill does contain several positive components, including eliminating antiquated dairy programs; creating a new risk management program (margin insurance); establishing an information clearinghouse for Federal milk marketing orders; and extending dairy forward pricing on Class II, III and IV milk, these legislative initiatives are derived at the expense of the Wisconsin dairy industry in the form of a "poison pill" known as "supply management."

Wisconsin's dairy industry and related businesses, including cheese makers, milk processors and other dairy food manufacturers, are among the top economic drivers of Wisconsin's economy. In fact, Wisconsin's dairy industry accounts for $26.5 billion in revenue to Wisconsin. Additionally, Wisconsin leads the nation in cheese production and yields the second-highest milk production.

The DSA, and its Supply Management provision, would result in the unprecedented consequence of introducing a new government program designed to limit milk production. With Wisconsin's dairy industry poised for solid growth and job creation, adopting a federal policy that curtails milk production is counterintuitive and would negatively impact Wisconsin's growing dairy and cheese-making industries.

A government-dictated limit on production/supply is completely contrary to America's free-market system and is a direct government intrusion into dairy farmers' businesses and their wallets. Although the supply management program is allegedly voluntary, it most certainly is not. Under the proposed DSA legislation, farmers participating in the risk management or margin insurance portion of the program will be forced to participate in the supply management Program. As a result, Wisconsin farmers will be required to limit their milk production, thereby reducing revenues and causing cheese-makers, dairy processors and related industries to reconsider investing in and expanding their Wisconsin operations out of concern over a consistent milk supply. The binding supply management with margin insurance, places the USDA and the federal government directly between processors and producers, an even more problematic issue.

This economically dangerous concept is not new and previous attempts by Congress to implement similar programs in the 1980s ended in failure despite their intended purpose.

Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture recognized the positive financial impact the Wisconsin dairy industry has and further recognized the importance of expanding Wisconsin's milk production and milk exports through their unveiling of the Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 initiative. Wisconsin must continue to have an ample and guaranteed supply of milk in order to achieve the state and dairy industry's collective goal of expanding our industry at home and abroad.

-- Meissner is president of the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association.

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John C. Rogers: Federal contract procurement opportunities exist for Wisconsin companies


By John C. Rogers
This is the second part of a two-part column celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Wisconsin Procurement Institute. Created by Congressman Les Aspin, WPI was established to provide technical expertise to Wisconsin businesses and help them win their fair share of federal contracts.

Procurement defense spending, and indeed federal spending across the board, will remain critically important to the U.S. industrial base and research community. Wisconsin companies and research organizations will need to understand future spending priorities and how those priorities relate to what the government is actually buying.

I believe there are several potential growth areas in the Department of Defense (DoD) and across the government. In fact, WPI's "Wisconsin in Washington" program this June will focus on these:

Cyber Security: This is perhaps one of the greatest threats to our national security. In my discussions with policy leaders, it's clear that they take this threat seriously and are shifting significant resources to focus on it. For the right companies, or individuals, there are solid opportunities at the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice.

Unmanned Vehicles (UVs): The economics of using UVs makes great sense. Less cost and, more importantly, our warfighters are out of harm's way. Spending for UVs has gone from a rounding error in DoD budgets to billions of dollars within the last 20 years. This could be a great area for Wisconsin businesses.

Energy: The DoD, led by the Navy and in coordination with the Department of Energy, has announced a series of bold initiatives to use alternative fuel as a way of reducing our reliance on older fuels, such as jet fuels. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Brian Detter, who is in charge of the acquisition of these fuels, articulated this at a WPI meeting in Wisconsin recently. This initiative has yet to materialize both because of battles with Congress and funding challenges but it's worth keeping a close eye on. In addition, approaching energy from the use end is also big business for Wisconsin. No one has done this better than Johnson Controls, a Wisconsin-based firm that has been working on improving the energy efficiency at federal installations with no initial cost to the government, but rather over time through energy savings dollars.

Special Ops: Our Special Ops forces are the best in the world. They are also the best equipped. As technological solutions arise that make these soldiers even more capable, the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is uniquely positioned to move quickly, getting the products into the procurement pipeline to help our troops.

Training: I recently had the opportunity to sit down with General Robert W. Cone, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) commander. He told me that one of the biggest challenges the Army faces is how to keep returning officers and non-coms engaged after they have been in command positions, mainlining adrenaline for the past 10 years. If we are going to keep the best and brightest in the service we must design training platforms that stimulate and engage them with such platforms as avatars, games, realistic video and immersive experiences. This is something the Army should do and needs to do, whether it will be able to commit the resources remains to be seen.

No doubt in the future there will be pain and reductions. I foresee another round or two of base closures and fewer large-scale procurements. But there will also be opportunity. The question Wisconsin businesses will need to answer is, "Are we prepared?"

What I know for certain is that WPI and our partners will be there to assist Wisconsin companies in navigatingthrough these turbulent times.

-- Rogers, president of Capstone National Partners LLC and CEO of RLL Leaders, serves as chairman of the board of Wisconsin Procurement Institute. He is a former principal deputy assistant secretary of defense and district director for Les Aspin.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Tom Still: To win the cybersecurity war, the United States needs smarter generals, more soldiers


By Tom Still
Richard A. Clarke is no stranger to national security. He was a senior White House adviser to three presidents and served nearly 20 years in the Pentagon, the State Department and the intelligence community, often concentrating on stopping foreign "hackers" from exploiting weaknesses in the nation's computer networks.

So when Clarke warned a few months back that "every major company in the United States has been penetrated by China," many people heard his alert. The question is whether awareness will be followed by action.

Clarke, the Defense Department, the FBI and independent groups such as the Carnegie Mellon CyLab agree the United States is losing a silent but potentially deadly war to secure its electronic assets – the massive amounts of data and intellectual property stored on computers, large and small, public and private.

It's an issue that will be explored June 6 during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference in Milwaukee, where a discussion devoted to doing business in China will come with a necessary warning label from a veteran FBI agent: Learn how to secure your intellectual property.

While China is a poster child for penetrating computer networks, Russia, Iran and North Korea also have become havens for hackers. Their targets are often defense agencies and contractors, but hackers also pose major threats to private companies. Ultimately, that's an even bigger threat to national security if hackers act as vampires, sucking away at the life's blood of American innovation.

"My greatest fear is that, rather than having a cyber-Pearl Harbor event, that we will instead have this death of a thousand cuts," Clarke said during a recent interview, "where we lose our competitiveness by having all of our research and development stolen by the Chinese. And we never really see the single event that makes us do something about it."

Corporate boards and managers are largely unaware of the threat, according to a recent CyLab report. The report examined how boards of directors and senior managers are managing privacy and cyber risks, which range from economic espionage to imported tech tainted with backdoor attack tools that could bring computer networks down.

About 75 percent of the respondents to a CyLab survey were from "critical infrastructure" sectors such as financial, energy and utilities, telecommunications and industry. Within the energy sector, for example, 71 percent of those surveyed said their boards rarely if ever review privacy and security budgets, 64 percent rarely if ever review top-level policies, and 57 percent rarely if ever review security program assessments.

"If boards and officers have an obligation to ensure that the R&D lab door is locked, they similarly have an obligation to ensure that the digital R&D lab door is locked," wrote Jody Westby, author of the CyLab report.

That's a problem at the "general" level in the cybersecurity war. A bigger challenge may be the shortage of well-trained foot soldiers.

The Department of Homeland Security announced in 2009 it wanted to hire 1,000 cybersecurity experts. At last count, according to National Defense magazine, it had hired about 260 and reset its goal to 400 by October 2012. The core problem is there isn't enough talent to go around.

American universities bestow only 9,000 computer science degrees each year, according to a count by the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm, while other nations are cranking out far more graduates with similar skills. It is indicative of America's lagging production of science, technology, engineering and math graduates – the so-called STEM education crisis.

Complicating matters is the nature of American society, which is built on openness. The challenge of locking down digital assets is running head-on into a culture of social media.

So, will this war be lost before it's even declared? Not necessarily. More companies are grooming existing workers to defend their networks and the information they hold. The Pentagon has dramatically expanded a pilot program for sharing cyber-threat information with contractors. Schools such as Madison College are establishing cybersecurity career paths. Recruiters are combing local "hackathons" for talent. Military personnel returning from the Middle East are increasingly being viewed as a talent pool because of their training and instincts.

Cybersecurity networks are being established in Wisconsin as well. The Wisconsin Security Research Consortium is poised to build a commercially available facility with the right clearance credentials for training. That could soon house an internship program.

Whether the threat is a disruptive digital attack from abroad or the steady drip of stolen data, cybersecurity is a national concern. It's far better to mobilize now than wait for all-out war.

-- Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.

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