Updated AI plan calls for more public-private partnerships

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  • The Trump administration’s updated national research and development plan for artificial intelligence has set a goal to focus more on collaboration between the government and the private sector. The new AI report reflects comments made earlier this year from White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Kelvin Droegemeier, who has called for closer collaboration between government, academia, non-profits and the private sector to further advance AI research. OSTP’s AI plan has reaffirmed all seven of the objectives under the first strategy released under the Obama administration in 2016. (White House) 
  • Federal unions won a court victory in a lawsuit stemming from the 2015 cyber breach at the Office of Personnel Management. The D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed part of the 2017 decision to dismiss the case. The district court had ruled that the unions had no standing to sue, and couldn’t legally prove harm. The appeals court called for further proceedings, allowing the case to move forward. (Performance.gov)
  • The Department of Homeland Security has taken a major step forward with its headquarters consolidation plan. DHS and General Services Administration officials held a ribbon-cutting for the Center Building on the Saint Elizabeth’s campus in Southeast DC. More than a thousand DHS employees currently work at Saint Elizabeth’s. A total of 17,000 people will work there by the project’s target end date in 2026. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs’s troubled Washington D.C. medical center is reportedly moving in the right direction to fix some of its staffing problems. The department’s inspector general said all ten of the facility’s senior leadership positions are now filled with permanent employees. But, the IG said there are still some serious gaps. It said the hospital’s workforce, for example, still has a 68% vacancy rate. (House.gov)
  • The Agriculture Department said it has officially begun looking for lease space to move the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture to Kansas City. USDA said it is looking for a modern building in any part of the Kansas City region. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue earlier this month announced his choice of Kansas City to move the the two agencies and their more than 550 federal workers closer to farmers and agribusinesses they serve. The department wants employees to move to the area by the end of September. (Federal Biz Ops)
  • The Office of Management and Budget has released the first update of the cross-agency priority goals under the President’s Management Agenda since December. Among the highlights of the update is that 75% of all federal agency email boxes are now in the cloud, up from 66% last November. It also highlights a new pilot at Interior and HHS to test out new approaches for assessing job applicants with a goal of improving the quality of new hires. (Performance.gov)
  • The Defense Department’s Chief Information Officer, Dana Deasy, has told the Fourth Estate defense agencies there will not be any new contracts for cloud computing without his approval. Deasy told the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office they should be preparing to migrate to the JEDI cloud platform. In a memo issued in May, but only recently obtained by Federal News Network, Deasy said any ongoing cloud projects can continue. But his memo requires defense agencies to develop a plan to migrate systems to JEDI, provide criteria for moving systems to MilCloud 2.0, and requires agencies to update to their data center consolidation plans.
  • The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Simulators Division has issued a plea for help from small businesses. The center wants companies to pitch ideas for cloud-based simulators, artificial intelligence-aided instruction and simulators that can be deployed in austere environments. The center’s simulator division is responsible for making training products faster and more agile. (Air Force)
  • Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) has introduced a bill that would require the Defense Department to report the vulnerabilities of the rising sea on a couple of military bases. The bill comes as the Government Accountability Office released a report stating DoD was not properly preparing its bases for projected weather crises like sea level rise, hurricanes and wildfires. The report, which targets the Naval Support Facility in Diego Garcia and the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site in the Marshall Islands, would be required one year after the enactment of the bill. (govtrack)
  • Mark Esper has officially taken over as Acting Secretary of Defense, but President Trump said he has plans to nominate him for the job permanently. The problem is , those plans could be blocked unless Esper steps down from his new position. The Federal Vacancies Reform Act says he can’t serve as acting secretary once he’s been officially nominated to take the same job. That means someone else would have to temporarily serve as acting Defense Secretary. The White House hasn’t yet said who that person might be, but one possibility is David Norquist, who the president said he plans to nominate as deputy secretary of Defense. (Congressional Research Service)
  • The union representing the Social Security Adminsitration’s administrative law judges has declared a deadlock in negotiations for a new work agreement. Melissa McIntosh, the union president and also a judge, said management at the agency is refusing to negotiate in good faith by trying to eliminate judicial independence. Social Security was in a spat with 45,000 staff represented by the American Federation of Government Employees when management called in the Federal Impasses Panel. (AALJ)

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