Time to Start a New Conversation About AI in Government

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Marketing Intelligence Manager

Artificial Intelligence is becoming a topic of real interest to federal and SLED governments. Companies that sell storage solutions, automation, big data, security and data mining tools should be encouraged to start a new conversation with their clients and prospects. Here are some of the drivers behind AI in government.

Dramatic cost savings
According to Deloitte, low-investment AI could improve human task speeds up to 20 percent. That would save 96.7 million human hours annually in government. A high investment in AI could save well over one billion human hours per year.

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OTAs Are Heating Up in the DOD

Mark Wisinger_100x135By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

Every program manager and acquisition professional in DOD has been leveraging the newest buzzword: OTA, which stands for Other Transaction Authority. OTAs have been in the acquisition arsenal for years, but Congress just recently relaxed rules and restrictions on their use, paving the way for OTAs to be the new hot method for rapid technology insertion and piloting. The Office of the Undersecretary of Acquisition and Sustainment recently has been working on an OTA handbook to help guide DOD acquisition professionals on the do’s and don’ts of this newly revitalized procurement method. It’s no surprise we’re starting to see the use of more and more OTAs.

According to Bloomberg Government, DOD accounted for $2.1B of $2.3B spent through OTAs in 2017. The Army has been a leader in DOD driving most of the OTA usage increases to date, concentrated in the Army Materiel Command, although the Army Cyber Command’s use of OTAs is growing. The Defensive Cyber Operations office, within Army’s PEO EIS is setting up a new OTA vehicle known as C-RAPID, which will be targeting rapid piloting and insertion of defensive cyber tools. Companies that sign on to the consortium will field between 6 and 24 Army technology requests a year for defensive cyber tools.

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AI in the Cards for DOD of the Future

Stephanie Meloni

By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

Across the Department of Defense artificial intelligence and machine learning are gaining real traction. And plans are in the works to establish a center dedicated to delivering AI solutions across the DOD, as well as a proposal for an AI and machine learning council as part of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act.  DOD agencies are very interested in using AI to combat and overmatch potential adversaries — and there’s no shortage of use cases across the DOD. Going forward, technology companies will want to be aware of differences between customer environments before engaging with a potential customer.

Recently, early adapters gathered at an AFCEA DC luncheon to discuss recent developments and challenges in AI and machine learning. Here are some highlights.

DISA, an example of a non-tactical customer, is looking at how to use machine learning for cyber situational awareness. DISA uses commercial machine learning technologies and contractors for Acropolis and their Big Data Platform to combat cyber threats and attacks. AI can help them shift their cyber strategy from reactive to proactive.

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New IoT Opportunities to be Found at DoD Facilities

Mark Wisinger_100x135Internet of Things

By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

Facilities management continues to be the strongest use case for IoT solution sales, especially at the Department of Defense, which maintains thousands of facilities both within and outside the continental U.S. Each individual building contains a wide variety of sensors and devices that need to be actively monitored.

A single building may have systems for fire alarm reporting, closed-circuit TV, HVAC, lighting control, smart grid and physical access control and may include water management and power management devices. The massive amounts of data collected by these systems could help drive better decision making to help the DOD operate more efficiently, protect its assets and personnel, and save money.

Access to HVAC, utility and security system data can provide enormous benefits, but there is inevitable risk too. The DOD is trying to get beyond just worrying about data security compliance and instead wants to focus on managing an acceptable amount of risk.

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3 Changes Jumpstarting Government’s Cloud Adoption

Cloud

Lloyd McCoy Jr.by Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD Manager

New changes to cloud policies make for a positive outlook for federal cloud procurement. Many saw this coming with the convergence of expanding government missions and flat budgets. The trend has created an environment where the elasticity and efficiency that cloud technology brings, has been a force multiplier for changes in government policy — facilitating faster cloud adoption.

Here are a 3 recent developments:

  1. Not your father’s Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI)

The Federal Data Center Consolidation initiative is being replaced by a renewed focus on cloud adoption and more use of shared data center services. When an agency wants to create a new capability or stand up a new workload, the first priority for that acquisition has to be cloud. If not, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) are directing them to look at shared data center services. Only if these options are insufficient can a program manager buy on-premise hardware. This will create a clear incentive among federal agencies to adopt true Infrastructure-, Platform-, and Software –as-a-Service offerings. This emphasis on shared data centers will also create a core group of federal customers that act as cloud service providers.

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NGA Rolling Out the Welcome Mat for Cutting Edge IT

Mark Blog Post.pngmark-wisinger_65x85.jpgby Mark Wisinger, Analyst

One of the lesser-known “Big Five” intelligence agencies, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), has been making large strides that mean new opportunities for technology companies. NGA consolidated its CIO and IT services offices under Douglas McGovern’s leadership. NGA’s deputy director, Susan Gordon, has instructed McGovern to be less risk-adverse. Now the newly consolidated office is focused on exploring technologies like mobility that were previously considered too risky. Expect NGA’s investment strategy to continue embracing cutting edge IT. Read more of this post

Future IT Priorities in Store for DOD in FY17

DOD’s COCOMs: Unique Opportunities and RequirementsLloyd McCoy Jr.by Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD Manager

Continuing on last week’s blog post, Three Key Takeaways from the President’s FY17 Budget Request this week I’ll be focusing on some major DOD-specific IT priorities from the President’s FY17 budget request. In case you didn’t know, this will be the last budget request under the Obama administration.

Under the proposed plan, the Department of Defense (DOD) would receive $524 billion ($583 billion if you count wartime contingency spending). While that figure is a slight dip from FY16 funding levels, the language in the request emphasizes information technology’s critical role in achieving efficiencies and serving as a force multiplier.

While much ink will be spilled in coming days on changes to the major DOD weapon and vehicle programs (as expected, we don’t see much in the way of new major investments), what impact can we expect the new budget to have on IT spending?

Here are some of the top 3 DOD priorities reflected in the Presidents FY17 budget request:

  1. CYBERSECURITY FRONT AND CENTER
    No surprise, cybersecurity will remain a top priority for DOD. The overall budget for cybersecurity spending jumped to $19 billion, a 35% increase over FY16 levels. The Pentagon plans to spend about $7 billion on cybersecurity in FY17, a 21% increase from the $5.5 billion set aside for this year. Expect more investments in identity and access management, cyber resiliency and built-in security for some of DOD’s large network modernization, cloud and mobility initiatives. Additionally, we’ll see renewed focus on new and emerging cyber solutions.

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