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The General Services Administration is fixing a shortcoming of the acquisition oversight process by using artificial intelligence. For much of the past two decades, agencies struggled to include Section 508 accessibility requirements in their contracts. At the same time, GSA didn’t have a good way to guarantee those contract clauses were in the solicitations. But a pilot program using AI and machine learning tools is automating the oversight process. GSA now plans to move from the pilot to production stage as the test showed a 95 percent success rate in alerting agencies about missing 508 requirements.
In an update on the White House’s recently enacted National Cybersecurity Strategy, Federal Chief Information Security Officer Grant Schneider said the National Security Council is currently developing an implementation plan. Schneider said holding cyber leaders accountable for results plays a key role in the strategy’s success. (Federal News Network)
The MITRE Corporation released recommendations from the Office of Management and Budget’s federal workforce symposium. Many are familiar, but MITRE also included specific barriers agencies must overcome to fully modernize the federal workforce. The group said government should find ways to lift caps on critical pay position authority, and ease regulations with the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. (Federal News Network)
A new task force from the Bipartisan Policy Center is examining how agencies conduct oversight on themselves. The executive branch oversight task force will pay special attention to legislative and administrative authorities within the Office of Personnel Management, OMB and GSA. Several former OPM and OMB senior leaders sit on the task force, which will build off the Bipartisan Policy Center’s earlier reviews of the Inspector General Act of 1978. (Bipartisan Policy Center)
The State Department has retaliated against those it believes responsible for the death of a Jamal Khashoggi. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. officials identified some of those responsible for the killing, some whom work in Saudi intelligence, the Royal Court or the country’s foreign ministry. Pompeo said State is revoking their visas and working with the Treasury Department to see whether financial sanctions are possible under the Global Magnitsky Act. He said those penalties will not be the last word. (Department of State)
A second round of awards for the Army’s RS3 contract brings the total number of awardees up to 253. A $34.7 billion contract provides services for acquisition and strategic planning; education and training; engineering; logistics; and research, development, test and evaluation to the Pentagon. The first round of awards in 2017 only selected 55 vendors. The contract will have two more on-ramps, in the third and sixth years. (Federal News Network)
The Defense Digital Service will open another satellite office in the Georgia Cyber Center. The new startup-like work space will aim to engage and support military technical talent and drive innovative ways to solve mission challenges. DDS will host a day-long hackathon event, as well as a public speaker series and open house to engage cyber soldiers and tech leaders across region. (Defense Digital Service)
Defense Department uniformed and civilian employees using the Defense Mobility Unclassified Capability can now access their email directly from their phones using the app that comes on the device. This is instead of having to go through the Defense Enterprise Email. DISA announced 120,000 users now have that capability. DISA also said its mobile store has more than 1,000 apps, and the price for services would remain at 2018 levels for 2019 at $4.31 per device. (Defense Information Systems Agency)
The Veterans Affairs Debt Management Center said it reduced call wait times to under five minutes in fiscal 2018. That’s better than the 2016 average of 21 minutes. VA credits adding more staff, improving contact center technology and focusing on employee engagement in reducing debt call center wait times. VA’s debt management center helps veterans make payment arrangements, or resolve overpayment issues. (Department of Veterans Affairs)