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Ingstad looks to double Energy's AI office

Earlier this month, Cheryl Ingstad was named head of DOE’s new Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office (AITO), an agency intended to help prioritize department resources for AI projects. And already, she has big plans for the budding office. First up, she told FedScoop, the office is reviewing more than 600 AI projects to identify “critical” technologies worth advancing and replicating. And, over the next fiscal year, if the department receives the funding it's requested for AI in 2021, Ingstad hopes to double the size of AITO. On top of that, she said, the office will be tapping into other agencies’ funds as well. “They have program and project resources available,” Ingstad told FedScoop in an interview. “So there’s a multiplier effect by working through the rest of the organization.” Dave Nyczepir spoke to Ingstad.

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Navy sets path to redesign networks, modernize

On the heels of last year's blistering review of its cybersecurity, the Navy has set out to “re-envision, re-architect, and re-deploy” its IT networks and chart a new path of modernization. The service released a memo Wednesday that outlines a complete overhaul led by CIO Aaron Weis, who occupies a post that was elevated late last year in response to a watershed cyber audit in March. The mantra of the effort will be “modernize, innovate, defend,” the memo states. “Success in traditional warfighting domains now requires mastering the Information Environment.” The new document further dives into the Navy's needs for better data integration and to reduce duplicative systems. Jackson Barnett has more from the memo.

VA looks to enhance mental health app

The Department of Veterans Affairs is considering bringing on a contractor to enhance and scale its mobile app that supports military service members transitioning back to civilian life, according to a new request for information. The VA and IBM developed the GRIT mobile app — short for Get Results in Transition — as a mental health resource for veterans as they face challenges after leaving military service and to combat the alarming rate of suicides among this population. After holding a five-month field test late last year, the VA is interested in bringing in a vendor to migrate, host, enhance and scale the app, says the RFI. More on the RFI.

NOAA using AI to save seals, whales

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is getting ready to use artificial intelligence and machine learning later this spring in its mission to monitor threatened ice seal populations in Alaska. Partnering with Microsoft AI for Earth, NOAA will be able to dramatically cut down on the time it takes to identify seals in aerial imagery. NOAA is also going to use ML tools to distinguish the endangered beluga whale’s whistle from man-made noises and identify areas where there’s dangerous overlap, such as where belugas feed and breed. The agency can then limit construction or transportation during those periods. Dave has more on NOAA's AI work.

IC unveils plans for Hybrid Compute Initiative

C2E isn't the only major IT acquisition on the horizon for the intelligence community. IC CIO John Sherman announced Wednesday plans for the Hybrid Compute Initiative, which will enhance and replace the on-premise, NSA-operated GovCloud, moving to a managed services model. HCI comes as the CIA is simultaneously developing for the intelligence community what will likely go down as one of the government’s largest-ever commercial cloud contracts — the Commercial Cloud Enterprise, or C2E. While the two acquisitions will be released and up for bid at roughly the same time — both could be awarded as early as this fall — IC CIO John Sherman wanted to be clear that they are “complementary” in nature and not at all competing. Billy Mitchell has the scoop.

DISA notifies personnel about breach

The agency that secures the Department of Defense’s IT infrastructure across the globe says sensitive personal data — including Social Security numbers — may have been compromised in a breach between May and July 2019. The Defense Information Systems Agency notified potential victims in a letter this month, saying it had tightened protocols for protecting personally identification information (PII) because of the incident. There is no evidence that compromised PII has been used maliciously, officials said. “DISA has conducted a thorough investigation of this incident and taken appropriate measures to secure the network,” an agency spokesperson said in a statement. Sean Lyngaas has more at CyberScoop.

Grenell to take over at ODNI

While U.S. spy agencies continue to press ahead with modernization initiatives, the leadership shuffle atop the intelligence community continues. Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, is taking over as acting director of national intelligence, replacing Joseph Maguire, who was installed in that position after the departure of Dan Coats last year. Grenell is expected to be another temporary replacement, and he tweeted Thursday that it was “not me” for the long term. Under federal law, President Trump might only have a few weeks left to nominate someone else for the job, which requires Senate confirmation. Also vacant at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: the principal deputy director position held until recently by Sue Gordon, who left for the private sector. Andrew Hallman, a CIA official, is filling that role temporarily. Read the White House announcement.

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