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AI panel: Pentagon should boost CTO's authority

A Pentagon-housed advisory commission on artificial intelligence wants to see the Department of Defense have a stronger chief technology officer to accelerate its fielding of AI technologies. The office should have more authority over writing and executing a technology annex to the National Defense Strategy, instead of overseeing the investment and acquisition of current technology programs and research, according to the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The commission says it's time to revisit the law that created the office. "It really didn't empower the CTO," says Bob Work, former deputy secretary of Defense and vice chair of the NSCAI. Jackson Barnett has the story.

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USAJOBS thinks about UX

The Office of Personnel Management plans to improve the user experience at USAJOBS with several updates to the website’s job search function and its application process. OPM‘s top priority is evaluating the interface that links the website with agencies’ talent acquisition systems. Then the agency can decide where applicant information and documents should best be collected: USAJOBS or an agency’s TAS. Other updates involve how people search for jobs, and how agencies display the status of a job opening. The changes were outlined in a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday. Dave Nyczepir explains the changes.

DISA rethinks SETI for small businesses

The Defense Information Systems Agency is reinvigorating a legacy contract to better work with small businesses that don’t typically sell their innovative technology to the Department of Defense. The Systems Engineering, Technology, and Innovation (SETI) contract vehicle includes nearly two dozen small businesses, half of which are new to the department. DISA officials say that awarding them spots on the $7.5 billion SETI is a major win in working with nontraditional contractors inside existing acquisition frameworks. “We did a bottom-up redesign on SETI,” says Christopher Riley, the program manager for the contract. Jackson has more.

DHS will recompete some cyber contracts

The Department of Homeland Security will adjust the ratio of federal to contract staff supporting its network operations security center (NOSC) by recompeting some contracts, most likely starting in March. Existing contracts may not continue in their current forms as DHS continues to consolidate its security and network operations centers with an initial focus on agencies lacking robust SOC environments, says CIO Karen Evans. “It’s not saying, ‘Hey the services you were providing aren’t of quality,’" says CIO Karen Evans. "It’s saying, ‘Hey we’re changing the blend of feds to contractors to meet this next evolution of services that we want to provide to the department.” Dave has more from Evans.

Testing TIC 3.0 services is about to get easier

Agencies now have an actual physical site for testing technologies to help them comply with the Trusted Internet Connections 3.0 policy. The state-of-the-art Trusted Internet Connections 3.0 Demonstration Center is the result of a partnership between the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center and 10 companies. The center was built within Equinix’s facility in Ashburn, Virginia, over the last year. Product demonstrations from the 10 companies will begin at the end of the month and run into December. Dave has the story.


Agency IT chiefs see ways to improve mission services in pandemic

A dozen federal, state and industry IT leaders shared how the current crisis pushed agencies to accelerate key technology deployments, meet unexpected demands for online citizen services and secure remote work connections for employees. In addition to advancing cloud strategies, many leaders had to confront traditional ways of working that have hampered modernization initiatives. They share their views on what a future-ready government will look like moving forward. Hear from the leaders.


SD-WAN is a pandemic-ready network security technology

Former national cyberthreat intelligence adviser Jim Richberg urges federal agency leaders to adapt a platform mindset that fully embraces software-defined networking. Given the austere fiscal environment agencies are likely to face over the next few years, government cybersecurity leaders will need to work harder to demonstrate the worth of their programs and to build partnerships within their agency, he says. Read more from Jim Richberg.

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