GSA to release GenAI buying guide for agencies

The GenAI buying guide will make it easier for agencies to fulfill their requirements under the October 2023 AI executive order.

  • Help is on the way to make it easier for agencies to buy generative AI capabilities. The General Services Administration will release a new GenAI buying guide later this week as part of fulfilling its requirements under the AI executive order issued in October. Laura Stanton, GSA's assistant commissioner for the Office of the IT Category, said the agency is designing the guide to help the acquisition workforce better understand the unique and different requirements for buying GenAI. "This guide introduces the concepts of generative AI and overviews acquisition scenarios for purchasing GenAI tools through system integrators and handling GenAI components within existing software products," Stanton said. GSA expects to release the GenAI acquisition resource guide as soon as Friday.
  • U.S. intelligence agencies have struggled to define the role of open source data. Now, the intelligence community’s new open source strategy aims to make it a top priority across spy agencies. The new open source intelligence strategy signed last month commits the IC to centralizing its OSINT data. OSINT is derived from publicly available data, such as information from social media feeds or the kind sold by data brokers. The CIA will play a key role in coordinating OSINT and providing the technology to share and analyze the information. Randy Nixon leads the CIA’s open source intelligence enterprise. “We have to make sure we have the right tradecraft in our contracts, where we purchase once, share across the entire community,” Nixon said.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is all hands on deck to try to recruit and retain talent. And there is one area the agency is targeting first. Staffing up in human resources is a high priority right now for the NRC. Acting chief human capital officer Eric Dilworth said he is looking to build HR skills practically across the board: “HR analysts, our training experts, our policy people, labor who does our union negotiations — we have a need in a lot of those areas,” Dilworth said. Those recruitment challenges in HR aren’t unique to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; agencies across government are facing a skills gap in human resources. High competition in the field, Dilworth said, is a key reason leading to that gap.
  • The Foreign Service is looking to rein in some of its hiring efforts later this year, after sustaining budget cuts. Congress cut the State Department’s overall budget by nearly 7% in a comprehensive spending deal for the rest of fiscal 2024. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat is director general of the Foreign Service and the director of the Bureau of Global Talent Management. She said the Foreign Service will add a new class of about 200 hires in July, but will bring in a class of new hires about half that size in September. “We are committed to continue to hire above attrition, but it will slow somewhat,” Bernicat said.
  • Some forward progress in the Defense Department’s years-long effort to implement a new contract for relocating military members. The first moves under the Global Household Goods Contract (GHC) finally happened this month, according to HomeSafe, DoD’s prime vendor on the contract. The company held a kickoff ceremony in Redlands, California last Thursday at a facility run by Joyce Van Lines, the only moving company to have publicly disclosed, up to this point, that it is participating in GHC. HomeSafe said a total of four military moves have happened under the GHC contract so far — all in the San Diego and Seattle areas, and conducted by four different companies.
  • Assistant U.S. attorneys at the Justice Department are calling for more flexibility and consistency in their telework options. Currently, telework policies vary between regional offices for the DOJ attorneys. And a recent survey finds that regional offices with fewer telework options are more likely to lose staff. At one office that recently revoked telework, 81% of attorneys who took the survey said they are already looking for another job. The National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, which represents those employees, conducted the survey. The employee group is asking DOJ for all assistant U.S. attorneys to have the option to telework at least two days a week, job duties permitting.
    (Telework access and perceptions: Key findings and narratives - National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys)
  • The Navy has tapped a cyber expert from the Joint Staff J6 to be its next principal cyber adviser. Anne Marie Schumann replaces Chris Cleary, who left in November after three years. Schumann comes to the Navy after serving for the last two years as the senior cyber threat adviser to the director for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Cyber and CIO for the Joint Staff J6. She has worked in government since 2010, starting with the Defense Intelligence Agency, before joining the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as the director of cyber operations and intelligence.
  • FEMA would need to submit a human capital operating plan to Congress every three years under new legislation in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is one of the lead sponsors on the FEMA Workforce Planning Act. The Government Accountability Office found that FEMA struggles to deploy staff with the necessary skills and training. The plan required under Peters’ bill would include recruitment and retention goals, strategies to train and deploy the workforce, and an analysis of any workforce gaps.
  • An IRS watchdog helped stop a $3.5 billion potential fraud scheme from targeting pandemic relief funds. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) said it tipped-off the IRS about individuals using Employer Identification Numbers to file business returns, and improperly claim employee retention credits, as well as sick- and family-leave credits. TIGTA said a major red flag was the returns showed no business was actually operating to receive these pandemic-era credits. The watchdog office said the IRS put controls in place to prevent similar schemes.

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