Friday, May 3, 2024
Articles & insights in public management & leadership for the week ending May 3, 2024

A new push by OMB to get a handle on 10,000 federal websites. Over the last six months, agencies inventoried over 10,000 public-facing federal websites and identified their top websites with the most user traffic. This may have been the first time agencies completed such a website inventory as it was part of the requirements under the Digital Experience (DX) memo from Office of Management and Budget released in September. Now with the inventory and the strong encouragement in the Digital Experience memo to use the U.S. Web Design System standards, agencies will have a better idea of their entire ecosystem and what they need to do to secure it and improve the user experience.

IRS Touts Tech-Driven Gains in Strategic Plan Update. The IRS is taking claim for a range of technology-driven customer service improvements over the past year, and pointing to future improvements it hopes to achieve, in an update to its strategic operating plan published on May 2. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel tied service improvements at the IRS tightly to the influx of funding that the agency has received through the Inflation Reduction Act approved by Congress in 2022. 

Feds: Translation, Collaboration Key to Upskilling AI Workforce. As the federal government looks to upskill its technology developer workforce to take advantage of new AI capabilities, government officials on Wednesday explained a lot of that work comes down to simply “translating” technical skills they already know and applying them to AI. David Carroll, the associate director for mission engineering at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), explained that employees are often hesitant to try to learn new AI skills. However, Carroll likes to remind them that they already have the technical know-how to learn these skills – and once you do, AI “becomes fun.”

VA Reaches ‘Acceleration Point’ in CX Transformation. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began its customer experience (CX) transformation journey about a decade ago, and a top agency official said on Wednesday that the VA has now reached a critical “acceleration point” in that process. Barbara Morton, the deputy chief veterans experience officer at the VA’s Veterans Experience Office (VEO), explained that this acceleration point comes thanks to the successful revamp of the website and the rollout of the VA: Health & Benefits mobile app.

Fed CIOs: AI Surge Offers Chance to Reform Hiring. Three Federal chief information officers (CIO) said this week that the current surge of interest in AI technologies presents an opportunity for the Federal government to reform its hiring processes to meet demand for a larger AI workforce. Gundeep Ahluwahlia, CIO at the Department of Labor (DoL), said during a NAPA webinar on April 29 that AI is forcing the government to “revisit the way we do business” – starting with the Federal hiring process.

DoD Prioritizes AI, Space Tech, Sensing/Cyber in S&T Funding Plans. The Pentagon is requesting $17.2 billion to fund science and technology (S&T) projects in fiscal year (FY) 2025, with most of that money designated for artificial intelligence (AI), space technology projects, and integrated sensing and cyber efforts, according to the Defense Department’s (DoD) technology chief. “If you see where the bulk of our funding is going … the biggest bar chart is trusted AI and autonomy. So that’s not going to be surprising. The second area we [put] a lot of money in is in the space technology arena. The third piece is the integrators’ sensing and cyber,” said Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. DoD plans to fund 14 critical technology areas in FY2025.

Defense, Intel Agencies Leveraging AI to Tackle Data Challenge.  Agencies are drowning in cyber domain data, and when it comes to enabling rapid response, some of their biggest challenges include quality and accessibility of data, federal defense and intelligence officials said this week. Officials from the Department of the Navy and National Security Agency (NSA) said they are leveraging AI to zero in on operationalizing actionable, real-time data that enables them to respond quickly to advance the mission.  

Digital Twinning Key to Testing Army Capabilities Against Foreign Adversaries. In preparing to defend against threats from adversaries worldwide, the U.S. Army is relying on digital twinning techniques to ensure that service members “train like they fight,” Army Sergeant Major Lonnie Dunbar III said. A digital twin functions by digitally replicating a physical asset in the virtual environment, including the physical asset’s functionality, features, and behavior. Systems of sensors can then collect data to provide a real-time digital representation of the physical asset.



ICYMI Accelerating Tech Procurement in DOD. This week Michael Keegan welcomed Bonnie Evangelista, acting deputy chief digital and artificial intelligence officer for acquisition within DoD’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office to discuss the mission of her office and the Tradewinds Marketplace, how Tradewinds acquisitions differ from traditional acquisitions, and what the future holds for the Tradewinds Marketplace at DOD.