The FedElecTag Platform: A Technology-Based Hierarchy of Needs Adaptation

There is not now and never will be a technology that is “alive” in the same sense that people are alive. Even artificial intelligence (AI), as powerful as it may eventually become, can never come alive. That’s obvious, so you might find it strange that one of the world’s best known psychological theories applies just as well to people as it does to technology. We’re speaking of Abraham Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation, which is best known by its Hierarchy of Needs model.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow was an American psychologist and the founder of humanistic psychology. He introduced the hierarchy of needs model of what motivates humans in 1943 while working as a professor at Brooklyn College. He claimed that people have a number of needs that must be satisfied. The most basic are physiological and are essential to life: food, water, sleep, shelter and so on. Once those needs are met, Maslow held that a person then strives to meet other needs. Those include the need to feel a sense of safety, of belonging to social groups, of personal esteem, of self-actualization (becoming all one can be) and, finally, transcendence—where one may enjoy peak experiences that go far beyond personal concerns and reveal life from a higher, universal perspective.

                          Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

                           (Source: Wikipedia: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs )

You can understand this hierarchy in three ways. First, it defines the needs humans want to satisfy so they can survive and live fulfilling lives. Second, it explains what motivates us. Third, it describes an evolutionary path, perhaps even a developmental path, one that humans seem bound to travel.

A Technology-Based Adaptation

Abraham Maslow’s theory of human motivation and the hierarchy of needs can be applied to technology evolution needs in organizations. Once technologies fulfill the needs of: 1) Physiological, 2) Safety, 3) Belonging, 4) Esteem, and 5) Self-Actualization in an organization, the highest tier of motivation can be attained – “Mission Transcendence.” In this context, “Mission Transcendence” is defined as achieving outcomes and/or successes beyond the current state capabilities. “Mission Transcendence” is illustrated via Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, as applied to Federal fleet and the Federal Government Electronic Tag ( FedElecTag ) enabling technology. See the FedElecTag Hierarchy of Needs Model.

While technology cannot have needs or motivations, it does follow an evolutionary/developmental path from the moment it is introduced until it’s replaced by a newer, more useful technology. For example, ox-drawn plows were replaced by tractors; horses by trains and cars; etc.

So, let’s examine how today’s technology—specifically the FedElecTag—follows much the same developmental path.


Maslow claims that we have basic needs simply to survive. The equivalent foundational state that any technology must achieve to survive is “Functionality and Reliability.”

The FedElecTag is operable and enabling to Federal fleet, and provides secure Federal computer systems and well-designed human-to-machine interfaces. Absent of these basic requirements, the FedElecTag effectively “dies” and becomes an abandoned technology.

Safety and Security

Humans need these to survive and prosper. In the technology space, this is realized via the processes involving “Authorization and Authentication.”

National security is at the core of the FedElecTag, as it was conceived to eliminate unauthorized use of Federal vehicles. A number of Federal standards, policies, and programs are embodied in the design of the FedElecTag to assure proper authorization and authentication. Specifically, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 DIT/DAR (Data in Transmission/Data at Rest), Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2, and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) to name a few. FedRAMP guidelines provide a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.

Only when a technology can fulfill these first two conditions, then it can evolve to fulfill higher level requirements.


This need refers to a person’s need to have a feeling of belonging to a “Social” group, whether it’s a family unit, a community or an organization. It’s natural, he claims, for humans to form social units.

In much the same sense, the FedElecTag platform provides a social connotation that meets the feeling of belonging. The FedElecTag platform belongs to a digital ecosystem that includes an established UNICOR E-License plate store and a web-based Federal Motor Vehicle Registration System (FMVRS). The FedElecTag Dashboard and mobile app only enhances this existing online community.


Humans need to enjoy some form of esteem. People, to one degree or another, are concerned with being recognized and with achieving a certain status, importance, and respect from others.

The equivalent for the FedElecTag technology is becoming “Self-Sustainable.” That is, once a technology has satisfied the previous conditions, it stands at the threshold of shifting from a technology that’s trying to grow, to a technology that thrives and even dominates in the marketplace. For instance, the Android O/S, introduced in 2007 became the best-selling O/S for smartphones in 2011 and for tablets in 2013, now boasting more than 2 billion users (Source: Wikipedia: Android Operating System ).

The FedElecTag becomes self-sustainable because, through its artificial intelligence and machine learning components, it becomes autonomous by analyzing the data it produces to become more effective and proficient.


As people satisfy many of their important needs, most eventually seek to become self-actualized— which means to become all one can be. For example, we strive to achieve the highest levels in our careers and income. Depending upon what each person values most, we try to reach the highest possible level of achievement according to our individual focus on what we deem most important. For some people, achieving this level leads even further to transcendence—more on this below.

“Actualization” in the FedElecTag platform is characterized by its success in securing Federal vehicles and preventing their unauthorized use. It’s the ultimate platform that is secure, tamper-proof, and highly resistant to hacking via the use of derived Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12) Personal Identity Verification (PIV) or Common Access Card (CAC) credentials and blockchain technology. Moreover, it’s aligned with the Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management ( FICAM ) architecture that “enables the right individual, to access the right resource, at the right time, for the right reason.

Mission Transcendence

Let’s now look at a few examples to illustrate “Mission Transcendence,” considering current state and future state fleet telematics capabilities to support agency missions. In this context, “Mission Transcendence” is defined as achieving outcomes and/or successes beyond the current state capabilities.

Agency Mission

There are over 40 Federal government fleet managers responsible for the Federal fleet of 600,000+ vehicles, servicing over 2 million employees across 529 components (e.g., 53 combined large/medium agencies, 18 cabinet-level agencies, and 4 military branches). For illustration, below are the missions for select military and civilian agencies. While their missions should not be used to generalize, they do provide a representative variation in fleet characteristics, accounting for about 50 percent of the Federal fleet inventory (Non-Postal) as of fiscal year 2017.

A vehicle-to-employee mission correlation show potentially how important vehicles are to accomplishing each of these agency’s mission (i.e., Number of FY 2017 Vehicles to FY 2017 Employees). For perspective, our analysis revealed that only four agencies have a high (i.e., greater than 50%) vehicle-to-employee mission correlation to include: State (118%), Energy (98%), Marine Corps (71%), and Peace Corps (67%).

Military and Civilian Agency Missions

  • United States Air Force (USAF): The Air Force vehicle fleet operates to support the following mission categories: aircraft platforms; engineering; base maintenance; first responders; force support; nuclear support; and tactical support. Vehicle types most commonly used: trucks, sedans, and vans. Vehicle-to-Employee Mission Correlation: 26% (Low)
  • United States Army (USA): The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) fleet supports missions such as: civil engineering; design and construction for the Armed Forces; environmental cleanup; and support for national disasters. Vehicle types most commonly used: trucks, sedans, and vans. Vehicle-to-Employee Mission Correlation: 24% (Low)

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): The USDA operates its vehicles in cities, rural communities, and National Forests across the United States and uses them to support varied missions to include: food safety inspections; agricultural and forestry research; fire suppression; resource management; and law enforcement. Vehicle types most commonly used: trucks, sedans, sport utility vehicles, and vans. Vehicle-to-Employee Mission Correlation: 44% (Medium)
  • United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS): The DHS uses its vehicles across the United States to support its missions such as: preventing terrorism and enhancing security; securing and managing American borders; enforcing immigration laws; safeguarding and securing cyberspace; and ensuring resilience to disasters. Vehicle types most commonly used: light trucks, sedans, sport utility vehicles, and vans. Vehicle-to-Employee Mission Correlation: 26% (Low)

Current State and Future State Capabilities

Per a Government Accountability Office report (GAO-14-443, Federal Vehicle Fleets), the GAO conducted interviews regarding “Fleet Characteristics That Experts Reported Could Influence Telematics’ Cost-Saving Potential.” Specifically, the results highlight the limitations of current state fleet telematics to support the agency missions identified herein. Conversely, the future state capabilities of the FedElecTag’s enabling technology better supports these missions, and quite frankly, exceeds the outcomes of the status quo. To illustrate “Mission Transcendence,” provided is an analysis ( Federal Telematics Capabilities: Current and Future State Comparison ) using actual excerpts from GAO-14-443 (Source: Extracted from GAO-14-443, Appendix IV).

The Takeaway

“Mission Transcendence” indeed is illustrated via Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model, as applied to Federal fleet and the FedElecTag enabling technology. We identified four agencies with a high vehicle-to-employee mission correlation between 67 percent and 118 percent. A high correlation could be indicative of fleet vehicles importance to agency missions, but it’s not the only factor for mission success. While agencies with a low-to-medium correlation (i.e., up to 49 percent) could signify the need for even more efficient fleet operations (e.g., accurate vehicle location and availability logistics, precise vehicle utilization and timing of acquisitions/disposals, etc.). These agencies could realize a greater impact regarding “Mission Transcendence” through the use of focused IT solutions such as the FedElecTag.

Learn More

For more information about the FedElecTag, visit . Below are additional resources supporting this blog article.

  • FedElecTag Hierarchy of Needs Model – This document illustrates a technology-based hierarchy of needs adaptation of Abraham Maslow’s theory of human motivation, as applied to Federal fleet.
  • Federal Fleet Customer Value Proposition – This document provides analyses and scenarios for meeting Federal agency mission requirements that specifically considers the fleet management practices and operational procedures per the “Guide to Federal Fleet Management.”
  • Federal Telematics Capabilities: Current and Future State – This document provides a comparison of current and future state fleet telematics capabilities to support agency’s missions using actual excerpts from GAO-14-443, Appendix IV.

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