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Meet the new PIFs

The General Services Administration on Monday announced a new cohort of 34 Presidential Innovation Fellows for 2021. The group is unprecedented for a number of reasons, according to GSA: It's the most diverse yet, and the fellows — many of whom will focus on artificial intelligence applications in government — will work virtually amid the ongoing pandemic. During a one-year “tour of duty,” the PIFs — private sector data scientists, engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs — will assist 22 agencies by bringing technology and innovation to problems of “national priority." Billy Mitchell has more.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Federal cloud reuse on the rise

Federal agencies are taking greater advantage of existing, already-approved cloud services during the pandemic. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program saw a 50% increase in agencies reusing authorized cloud products in fiscal 2020, and agencies have made about 3,000 requests to evaluate cloud security products others are using, known as reusability requests, since March, said Ashley Mahan, director of FedRAMP. “We’ve really just seen government and industry working hand in hand together during this time to start using these innovative services but also with a very strong emphasis on security,” Mahan said during CyberTalks. Dave Nyczepir has this one.

Army pilot aims to retain talented officers

The army is struggling to retain highly skilled officers who are being lured toward greener pastures in the private sector, so it has developed the Talent Based Career Alignment program to try to keep its best soldiers in uniform by guaranteeing talented junior officers a career path that provides more stability. The pilot will start small, placing 25 officers in specialized career paths and expanding to 75 by the end of the year. More from Jackson Barnett.

DOD must pay more attention to building people’s trust in AI, researchers say

There are a startlingly small number of Department of Defense research programs dedicated to studying how to improve trust in AI-enabled machines, given the military’s growing interest in them, according to the research from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. The problem is that while the DOD focuses on building technology that can pair up with humans — such as autonomous vehicles or algorithms that assist in decision making — it’s not gaining insight into how that pairing will actually work, the report says. Jackson Barnett has the findings.

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