NewsBrief: December 15, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: December 15, 2023

TMF’s planned cost savings have been ‘minimal’ in reality, GAO finds

(NextGov/FCW) Since the Technology Modernization Fund made its first tranche of investments in 2018, “agencies’ planned cost savings are substantial, but actual savings thus far are minimal,” the Government Accountability Office writes in a new report. So far, “awards have not yet been offset by savings.” The TMF, established by the Modernizing Government Technology Act, was meant to help agencies modernize aging, legacy systems with a revolving fund structure replenished by the cost savings generated by such efforts. Since its creation, lawmakers have appropriated about $1.23 billion into the fund, the bulk coming from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. Read More

Postal Service Needs to Correct Its Financial Projections

(FEDweek) The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) needs to scrap its financial projections in the 10-year Delivering for America (DFA) strategic plan issued in March 2021 and take a hard, comprehensive look at how it does financial forecasting. A complete overhaul appears in order. USPS should voluntarily issue new projections for Fiscal Years 2025-27 with a similar level of detail as in the DFA. By Fiscal Year 2027, if not sooner, USPS could be out of cash, as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has warned. Such new projections are important to the U.S. Congress, which has provided more than $120 billion in assistance to USPS since 2020. Read More

GAO: ‘Mixed Progress’ for FAA’s NextGen Plan

(AI Online) Since 2018, the FAA has experienced “mixed progress” in meeting milestones in its ongoing effort to modernize air traffic management, known as the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), according to a new report from the Goverment Accountability Office (GAO). “This mixed progress has slowed FAA’s NextGen efforts…to improve the safety and efficiency of air travel and address growing congestion in the national airspace.” For example, the GAO commends the FAA for beating its milestone date for deploying more reliable digital communication services at ATC towers. Read More

Federal agencies flag 1,200 AI uses cases, but see few actually implemented

(Federal News Network) Federal agencies see lots of possibilities for using artificial intelligence tools in their day-to-day work. But they’ve only put a fraction of those ideas into practice. The Government Accountability Office, in a report released Tuesday, found 20 nondefense agencies identified more than 1,200 use cases for AI in government. According to GAO, these agencies have implemented about 16% of all the AI use cases they’ve submitted to the Office of Management and Budget. The Office of Personnel Management, for example, is using AI to provide job seekers on USAJobs with recommendations for positions, based on the skills they’ve identified. Read More

Government Needs to Build In-House AI Skills, Report Says

(FEDweek) A report in support of a bill ready for a Senate vote to boost training of federal employees in the capabilities and potential risks of artificial intelligence stresses that the government should build up such skills in-house rather than relying on contractors. The bill (S-1564), which has cleared the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, would require OPM to establish a training program on artificial intelligence for federal management officials and supervisors addressing the capabilities, risks, and ethical implications associated with AI. Read More

The military’s zero-trust plans are about to face a big test

(NextGov/FCW) An upcoming wargame at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command will test zero-trust, the network-security approach the Pentagon is betting can keep enemies at bay, keep allies from accessing certain secrets, and keep troops connected—even in combat. INDOPACOM is building a network dubbed the Mission Partner Environment that will allow U.S. service branches and regional partners like the Philippines and Taiwan to share the data they need without accessing unrelated classified files. Like all new Pentagon systems, it is built on zero-trust principles, which assume that every device on a network might be compromised and works to authenticate individual users instead. Read More

Energy Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office’s work transferred to other agency subgroups

(FedScoop) The Department of Energy has dissolved its Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office and transferred much of its work to its Office of Science and the Office of the Chief Information Officer, an agency spokesperson confirmed to FedScoop. The update came just after DOE announced the creation of a new Office of Critical and Emergency Technology, which is set to focus on areas including AI and semiconductors. Helena Fu was named that office’s director, as well as the agency’s new chief AI officer. Energy also has a new responsible AI official: Bridget Carper, deputy chief information officer for architecture, engineering, technology, and innovation in the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Read More

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