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Defense Secretary Esper recuses himself from JEDI decision-making

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has removed himself from making any decision on the $10 billion JEDI cloud acquisition because one of his sons works for IBM, one of the companies that originally bid on the contract. A Pentagon spokesperson said Esper wasn't legally required to remove himself from the process, but did so “out of an abundance of caution to avoid any concerns regarding his impartiality." This comes after Esper, in July, initiated a review of the JEDI program that has since then held back any award of the contract. Esper has now delegated his role in any decision making around JEDI to Deputy Secretary David Norquist. Billy Mitchell has the scoop.

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OMB, OPM and agencies partner to create data scientist occupational series

Deputy Federal CIO Margie Graves took to the stage at ACT-IAC's annual Executive Leadership Conference on Tuesday to detail new work OMB has undertaken with a number of partners across the federal government to figure out how to hire more data scientists. “We’ve been partnering with Commerce, [the Office of Personnel Management] and 14 other agencies across the federal government to define what a good data scientist looks like, how do we partner with universities to create the kind of programs that create the pipeline that brings data scientists into the federal government and, most importantly, how do we upskill and reskill current population,” she said at the Philadelphia conference. Tajha Chappellet-Lanier has more.

Trump relaunches advisory council for science and technology

President Trump on Tuesday launched a council that his most recent two predecessors also relied on for science and technology advice. He signed an executive order establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Led by the director of OSTP, the council will be comprised of members from sectors outside of the government to provide their “diverse perspectives and expertise in science, technology, education, and innovation.” See who the first members are.

Federal Data Strategy promises to help government leverage ‘tremendous untapped potential’

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley has good news: The final draft of the Federal Data Strategy’s Action Plan for 2019-20 is expected to drop next month. Also speaking at ELC in Philadelphia, Kelley described how the troves of federal data collected and stored across government represent “tremendous untapped potential.” And with laws like the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act and policy like the Federal Data Strategy, the government is starting to organize around taking advantage of this potential, she said. Tajha has this one too.

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