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The Air Force touts digital engineering, but industry has concerns

The Air Force has grown bullish on the idea of bringing the private sector onto its technology-development stack and using digital engineering for as many projects as possible. The goal is to be able to fully build, test and optimize all Air Force systems in virtual environments before they are physically made. But some from the defense industry are a bit hesitant to move their work fully onto government systems — worried about gray areas for intellectual property rights, thorny IT challenges, and the possibility of losing their competitive edge. Jackson Barnett has the story.

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.

Hack the Army 3.0

The Army launched its latest foray into bug bounties Monday. Hack the Army 3.0 is set to start Dec. 14 and run until Jan. 28, 2021. This time, the entire Army.mil domain can be targeted by participating hackers, but the Army will only pay for discoveries of certain categories of vulnerabilities. Other areas open to white-hat hackers include sign-on/authentication services and Army-owned VPNs. Jackson has this one too.

Esper out at DOD

Mark Esper on Monday became President Trump's highest-profile firing yet in the aftermath of the 2020 election. The now-former secretary of Defense doesn't leave much in the way of an IT legacy, but under his watch, the DOD pushed forward on several major initiatives including the launch of the department's data strategy and the further growth of the Joint AI Center. Shortly after his confirmation in 2019, he probed the department's JEDI cloud contract, which still is in limbo. Occasionally, Esper would talk about his desire to field AI and invigorate innovation in the military during congressional hearings and think-tank events, but most of his time was spent focused on managing ongoing conflicts abroad. Read more on Esper's thoughts about military AI.

Use of shared services is up

According to new data from the Professional Services Council, federal use of shared IT services are trending upward for the first time in years. Federal agencies’ reliance on shared services has increased 2% annually since 2017, reversing a previous decline, PSC said during its Federal Market Forecast Conference. Based on the numbers, recent efforts by the Office of Management and Budget to standardize agencies’ IT appear to be paying off. Dave Nyczepir has more.


Using AI ethically to protect health data from bias

As federal leaders at health agencies look to use more AI tools, they first need a solid foundation built on high-quality data and diverse perspectives to protect against bias. That requires data that is standardized, tested and collected from multiple sources in addition to running a variety of conceptual models and analyst perspectives that help to avoid bias. Unfortunately, agencies are still struggling to use data to its fullest potential. Read the report.

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