GAO calls on GSA’s Centers of Excellence to help build Innovation Lab

The GAO flag. (Ron Cogswell / Flickr)

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The General Services Administration’s Centers of Excellence program will help the Government Accountability Office stand up cloud infrastructure for its recently launched Innovation Lab.

GSA announced the partnership with GAO on Tuesday as its latest in a string of engagements to help federal agencies accelerate their IT modernization by giving them access to pre-vetted private sector contractors and other government services. Currently, GSA has centers built around cloud adoption, contact centers, customer experience, data and analytics, infrastructure optimization and, most recently, artificial intelligence.

The CoE team will help GAO with the backend IT development process for its new lab, which is focused on “transforming the way that GAO thinks about and uses advanced analytical capabilities” and adoption of emerging technologies, like AI, robotic process automation and distributed ledgers. The lab is housed under GAO’s relatively new office of Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics. This group was created in January to put more focus on GAO’s science and technology work and provide forward-looking assessments of science and tech trends to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Specifically, the GSA team will assist with expediting the process for obtaining an authority to operate (ATO) for the lab’s cloud-based infrastructure, services, and tools. The partners will also work to develop a flexible and scalable computing environment “that is responsive to current and future needs,” according to a release.

“Today’s announcement illustrates the momentum of the CoE to deliver outcomes that drive mission effectiveness,” said Anil Cheriyan, director of the Technology Transformation Services, the GSA team that houses the CoEs. “Putting innovation at the core of everything we do, we’re excited to engage with GAO and provide guidance along their exciting journey.”

GAO is the seventh partner under GSA’s CoE initiative, launched in 2017. Most recently, the program announced its partnership with the Department of Labor with a specific focus boosting acquisition capabilities with robotic process automation and AI. Other partners include the Department of Agriculture, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC).

There’s currently a bill in the House awaiting further action that would codify the Centers of Excellence with a “light touch.”

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Anil Cheriyan, artificial intelligence (AI), Centers of excellence, Cloud, General Services Administration (GSA), Government Accountability Office (GAO), Innovation Lab, IT centers
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