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08/14/2020
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JAIC awards Joint Common Foundation contract

As the Department of Defense builds out a central platform for military artificial intelligence development, it awarded a $106 million contract to Deloitte Consulting to “provide, operate, maintain, secure and enhance” the Joint AI Center's Joint Common Foundation (JCF) platform. Deloitte will act as an integrator with an array of sub-contractors working to develop the JCF — a cloud-enabled environment that has been developed in conjunction with the Air Force’s Platform One team for use across the DOD’s AI and machine learning initiatives. It’s a building block of the DOD’s AI toolkit as a single place coders can build models, work with data and develop AI systems. Jackson Barnett has more on the impact of the JCF.


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Testing a new "color of money"

The DOD has been developing a new "color of money" for software for several years now. And soon, the department will start pilots to test out the new concept, Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said Thursday. The new concept would allow contracting officers to purchase software under its own “budget activity,” BA-8, designed for an agile procurement process rather than conforming to existing regulations on spending established for hardware purchases. The new “policy will reflect a substantial departure from the way of doing things in DOD,” Lord said. Jackson has this too.


NIST releases finalized zero-trust architecture guidance

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is out with new zero-trust architecture guidance this week that gives agencies a foundation for security as they modernize IT. NIST has been previewing the guidance for several months, and in this final version, it added a section on the tenets of zero trust like considering data sources and computing services as resources, as well as securing communication regardless of network location. “It points to the fact of why are we doing micro-segmentation, which is all about the data and the data access,” Duo Security's Sean Frazier explained. “So when you’re thinking about building out your micro-segments, you’re looking at am I slicing and dicing my access to particular data, which is really served up through particular applications.” More from Dave Nyczepir.


The FEVS is MIA

Usually, by this point in the year, the Office of Personnel Management would be well on its way to producing the results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey for release later in the year. But in 2020, OPM hasn't even sent the survey out to federal employees yet, much to the chagrin of Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. The agency has now twice delayed the launch of the annual survey, which gauges federal employee satisfaction and perceptions on agency leadership. The first delay was warranted, Connolly writes in a new letter to acting OPM Director Michael Rigas, but the most recent one comes without a valid reason, leading the congressman to believe the agency has engaged in an “apparent mishandling” of the survey. Billy Mitchell has Connolly's letter.


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