Friday, December 1, 2023
Articles & insights in public management & leadership for the week ending 12/01/23

Hill Witnesses: Supply Chain Security Relies on Better Software, Harmonized Regs.  Lawmakers and expert witnesses discussed ways the U.S. can better ensure Federal software systems are protected against cyberattacks from hostile foreign nations like China during a House Oversight Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday. The panel of witnesses called for simple but important steps like culture change, to more complicated measures like cyber regulation harmonization. 

House Committee Advances National Quantum Initiative Act. The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on Nov. 29 unanimously voted to approve legislation to reauthorize the 2018 National Quantum Initiative Act, which will enable federal agencies to continue ongoing research into quantum computing technology. 

IRS Looking for Vendors to Boost RPA Program. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is looking for vendors to help the agency scale up its robotics process automation (RPA) capabilities to a target level of 35 to 50 automations annually, according to a new request for information (RFI) from the agency. The agency’s existing RPA program – which operates within IRS’s IT branch – is asking companies for proposals by Jan. 2, 2024, that could help enhance the program’s capabilities and scale its current abilities.

NOAA CTO: AI Scoping in Early Stages, Potentials are Promising. he National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is still in the early stages of incorporating generative AI technologies into its larger technology apparatus, an agency official said this week. Frank Indiviglio, chief technology officer (CTO) at NOAA, discussed the agency’s move towards generative AI tech. “We are still early on in our generative AI journey,” Indiviglio said. “But I think given we work with a lot of smart folks that we are we are working on it pretty quickly.”

CFPB Director: Existing Laws Must be Used to Mitigate AI Dangers.  As artificial intelligence technologies continue to evolve, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra said today that longstanding laws must be enforced to mitigate the dangers and harms of AI tech.

NSF CDO Aronson Takes on CAIO Role. Dorothy Aronson, the National Science Foundation’s current chief data officer (CDO) and former chief information officer (CIO), will also serve as the agency’s chief AI officer (CAIO). The announcement of Aronson’s new role comes weeks after the Biden administration’s AI executive order – as well as the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) draft AI guidance – calls on federal agencies to quickly designate an official to oversee the emerging technology.  

Fed Improper Payments Rose Slightly in 2023.  New data from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) finds that federal government improper payments increased in 2023, with the federal improper payment rate for fiscal year (FY) 2023 coming in at 5.43 percent – a slight uptick from the 5.12 percent in FY2022. Notably, the agency said that if three pandemic relief programs – the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the Paycheck Protection Program, and the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program – are excluded, the improper payment rate was 4.03 percent for FY2023 – the lowest level since 2014.