Since February, DHS has received over 3,000 applications for new AI Corps

DHS is aiming to hire 50 experts to help its components responsibly develop and adopt artificial intelligence.

  • The Department of Homeland Security is seeing a lot of interest in new job postings for artificial intelligence. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said DHS has already received more than 3,000 applications for its AI Corps. DHS announced plans for the AI Corps in February. The department is aiming to hire 50 experts to help DHS components adopt AI. In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee yesterday, Mayorkas said one of the major examples of where AI could help the department is in identifying illicit fentanyl shipments into the United States.
  • The FBI’s headquarters is falling apart. But a new one will take at least a decade to build. The General Services Administration expects to begin construction on a new FBI headquarters in Greenbelt, Maryland by 2029 and have FBI employees working out of the new space by 2036. Nick Dimos is the assistant director of the FBI’s Finance and Facilities Division. He said the current J. Edgar Hoover building no longer meets the needs of the FBI workforce and that a long-term solution is needed. "The risk of doing nothing to protect our people and sensitive information is too great — with continued pipe bursts, concrete instability, and failing heating and cooling equipment at JEH,” Dimos told the subcommittee on economic development, public buildings and emergency management.
  • Heidi Shyu, the under secretary of Defense for research and engineering, has created the Transition Tracking Action Group. The new advisory group will make the process of transitioning technology more efficient. The group will use advanced data analytics to better understand its business practices, with a goal of improving how DoD delivers equipment to its service members. The group was officially established on March 13. Cyrus Jabbari, the chief data officer to the under secretary of Defense for research and engineering, will serve as the chair of the group.
  • The Army's Chief Information Officer Leo Garciga is out with another new policy. His latest policy update is creating a chain of responsibility around the Army's data. The service's CIO laid out the roles and responsibilities for data stewardship from the Army's chief data and analytics officer to the mission areas to the functional domains. Among the new requirements is in 30 days the mission area leads will nominate the Mission Area Data Officers. These mission data officers will appoint data stewards, who will be responsible for evaluating functional mission and data products to ensure efficient management of data in their domain. Since becoming CIO last summer, Garciga has issued several new policies around cloud services, software containerization and cyber reciprocity.
  • In order to curb costs, Army officials are considering cuts to education benefits for their soldiers. The Army Credentialing Assistance program and the tuition assistance program might be on the chopping block next year. The Army Credentialing Assistance program is still in its pilot phase, and service officials are looking into putting guardrails around it. Army officials will also consider cuts to its long-standing tuition assistance program. Both programs have been key to the Army’s recruitment and retention efforts as the service continues to miss its recruiting goals.
    (Army considers cuts to education programs - House Appropriations Committee (GOP))
  • Lawmakers are seeking to expand skills-based hiring efforts to another group. Federal contract personnel are the target of a new bill from a pair of bipartisan representatives. The newly introduced ACCESS Act aims to remove college degree requirements from jobs in the federal contracting space. The goal is to broaden applicant pools and make it easier to fill skills gaps in government. For now, there are no leads on a Senate version of the bill. The House lawmakers said the legislation would build on efforts from the Trump and Biden administrations to boost skills-based hiring in federal jobs.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs said the latest launch of its new Electronic Health Record (EHR) was its most successful go-live to date. But Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray said the VA needs to ensure the EHR is running properly at sites already using the system, before continuing its rollout. That includes its first go-lives in Spokane and Walla Walla, Washington. The VA has put additional rollouts on hold, until it addresses persistent outages and low usability scores from clinicians. Murray said before it continues with the project, the VA needs to ensure the new EHR doesn’t put patient safety at risk.
  • Industry groups are asking for more time to comment on sweeping cybersecurity regulations. In a letter to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, more than two dozen groups urged CISA to extend, by 30 days, the comment period for proposed cyber incident reporting rules. The current deadline to comment is June 3. The industry groups say extra time is warranted because of the scale and complexity of the proposed rules. CISA’s draft regulations would require companies in every critical infrastructure sector to report serious cyber incidents and ransomware payments to the government.
    (CIRCIA extension letter - Chamber of Commerce)
  • Federal retirement processing at the Office of Personnel Management is slowly improving. During March, OPM managed to process nearly 11,000 retirement claims. It's the most productive month in OPM's retirement services for 2024 so far. At the same time, OPM is slowly but surely shrinking its overall inventory of retirement claims. Currently, there are about 16,800 claims in OPM's hands. It's an improvement, but still a few thousand claims above the agency's goal of having 13,000 at any given time.
  • The Homeland Security Department is one step closer to gaining the authority to use other transaction agreements. The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency may soon have a new committee to root out fraud, waste and abuse in federal procurement. And new rules for federal officials to preserve federal records when using personal email or other non-official accounts moves further along. These are three of the 10 bills the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed yesterday. The committee, however did not vote on the Federal Improvement in Technology Procurement Act, instead postponing the debate until the next business meeting later this year. These bills that passed now head to the full Senate for a vote.

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