John Chambers has blasted US presidential candidates for failing to recognise the opportunities and challenges of digitisation and the Internet of Everything amid the battle for the White House.
Just this weekend, John McAfee - who plans to run for president - voiced similar concerns but instead said that cybersecurity was the key issue being missed off the agenda.
On a blog for Forbes, Chambers said that there has been no "strategic discussion" about the digital revolution during the debates and urged those running for office to shift their thinking.
"Economic growth is increasingly dependent upon digital policies and investments," he said. "Such a platform is needed for companies and countries to compete effectively. In reality, while the US is on a solid economic course compared to other regions of the world, we are not guaranteed a leadership position as the world continues to evolve.
"In today's new digital age, technology will play a significant role in the economic competitiveness of all countries. Government leaders should be prioritising a solid digital strategy that will make the transition into this new era as successful and seamless as possible."
He pinpointed the UK, among others, as a country which has "initiated digital plans to create job growth, make workers more productive, develop a robust ecosystem of innovative start-ups, make citizens and data networks more secure, and accelerate regional development".
Chambers stood down as CEO of Cisco last summer, handing over the job to Chuck Robbins and himself becoming executive chairman.
In the last year, Cisco has invested significant amounts in individual countries to help them better focus on digital technology. In February last year, the tech giant ploughed €100m into French start-ups and in the summer it announced plans to invest $1bn (£667m) into the UK.
On his blog, Chambers said such investments are significant.
"Countries who take advantage and find themselves on the right side of the line will succeed, while those that choose to ignore it will struggle to generate jobs, foster innovation, and grow GDP," he said. "Some countries, especially those that had limited benefits from the information age, are getting ahead of the curve and making certain they won't miss the opportunity."
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