Artificial Intelligence & the Government: Who’s Driving the Car?

By Emily Wolfteich, Senior Industry Analyst at Government Business Council

The GAO’s report on the federal government’s adoption of AI is as comprehensive as it can be – but do we like what we see?

Image source.

The GAO’s report – the first of its kind, examining both AI acquisition and use as well as the accuracy of agency reports and compliance with federal policy – aims to clear up the picture. It provides recommendations to help agencies standardize their reporting, saying in summary that “federal agencies have taken initial steps to comply with AI requirements in executive orders and federal law; however, more work remains to fully implement these.”

The report relied on agency submissions to the Office of Management and Budget to analyze the current state of AI within the government. The robustness of these use cases varies across agencies. NASA and the Department of Commerce have bounded ahead of the others (390 and 285 respectively) followed by the Departments of Energy (117), Health and Human Services (87) and State (71). The majority of these use cases (516) are planned, while only 228 are in production. Overall, the report provided 35 recommendations, particularly praising the work of Commerce and the General Services Administration (GSA). 

Image source.

Taking Control

The Executive Order is a good start. It sets out guidelines and expectations. But as we’ve seen from the GAO report, there’s still a considerable amount of confusion within the federal government about what is and isn’t AI, and what is or isn’t expected of agencies to report – and know – about their own tools. And this matters – to minimize risk, for protecting data privacy, for regulations attempting to keep this powerful tool from getting out of hand. This car is getting more torqued up with each new innovation, and those are happening rapidly.

“Is somebody going to take the wheel and put some guardrails around this thing, or is it going to keep doing what it wants?”

– Kevin Walsh, director of IT and cybersecurity at GAO

Related Posts
Robotics, Autonomous Systems, and the Future of the US Military

An article detailing the importance of robotics, autonomous systems and what it means when it comes to the future of the US military.

The Puzzle of Broadband

Part one of a four-part blog series diving into the issues surrounding the puzzle of broadband expansion and digital equity.

Top Cybersecurity Trends in the Federal Government and Why They are Important

As cybersecurity tech, frameworks, and standards evolve, there are many trends driving cyber investments within the federal sector in 2023.

2022 National Defense Strategy: Implications for the Defense Industry

This article unpacks the implications the NDS will have on the defense industry, and more of what they can expect in the next four years.

AI & the Pentagon: Cautiously Curious

As AI hype increases across the public and private sectors, organizations are weighing the possibilities (and risks) the tech creates.

Top 5 Supply Chain Issues in the Federal Government… and What’s Being Done About it

This article discusses supply chain disruptions and their impact on the federal government, businesses, and society.

AFA’s Air Space & Cyber Conference 2023: Key Takeaways and Insights

Key takeaways from David Hutchins (Government Business Council) and Jon Hemler (Forecast International) on the AFA’s 2023 Air Space & Cyber Conference.

Operational Imperatives: Preparing the U.S. Air Force for the Future Fight

A summary of the United States Air Force’s seven Operational Imperatives, plus details regarding their significance to the future of battle.

The Internet of Things and the Battlefield of Tomorrow

This article discusses the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it relates to the future of the U.S. armed forces.

How the Federal Government Can Attract Employees
young applicants for the federal workforce

As the federal workforce ages, attracting young talent is critical. Taking these 10 actions can help attract the next generation.