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White House Issues Update to 2016 National Artificial Intelligence R&D Strategic Plan

The White House’s National Science and Technology Council released an update to the 2016 strategic plan for artificial intelligence research and development in support of the American AI Initiative that was launched through an executive order in February. The National AI R&D Strategic Plan: 2019 Update retains the first seven priorities in the 2016 plan and adds a new strategy to expand public-private partnerships to accelerate advances in AI.

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OSTP, GSA Issue Report on Agencies’ Use of Prize Competitions; Kelvin Droegemeier Quoted

A joint report by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the General Services Administration shows that the number of federal agency-backed prize competitions listed on Challenge.gov has increased from 744 to 875 since the 2016 study, FCW reported Friday. The challenges authorized under the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 have led to the emergence of startups and offered agencies a mass of examples to launch their own initiatives, according to the report.

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Trump Wants to Cut Federal Advisory Committees

President Trump signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to assess the functions of advisory committees established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The administration aims to remove at least one third of existing committees across the government, according to the directive issued Friday

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Nat’l Space Council Seeks More Gov’t Investment to Accelerate Mars Missions

Scott Pace, executive secretary of the National Space Council, has said the Trump administration and NASA need to focus on long-term efforts to send humans to Mars, Space News reported Saturday. The council has already called on Congress to invest in more resources for the planned 2024 moon landing in order to establish a sustainable lunar presence and enable Mars missions to begin in “roughly a decade”, Pace told attendees at the International Space Development Conference in Arlington, Va. 

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Feds, Industry Detail How US Should Work on Global Standards for AI

Federal and industry officials called on the government to consider the latest changes in the tech sector when creating standards for the use of artificial intelligence-based technologies, Nextgov reported Thursday. Lynne Parker, assistant director for AI in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said there is a need for a new standards-setting process as the U.S. industry leads the global marketplace for technology. 

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DoD to Boost Rare Earth Mineral Production to Reduce Dependence on China

The Department of Defense is requesting funds to increase the production of rare earth minerals in the U.S. to reduce the country’s reliance on China, Reuters reported Thursday. Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, a spokesman for DoD, said the department’s request was included in a report submitted to the White House as part of a federal program seeking to offer economic incentives to boost domestic manufacturing capabilities.

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Donald Kettl: Proposed OPM Reorganization Could Lead to Legal Challenges

Legal challenges and implementation problems could emerge as a result of the potential merger of the Office of Personnel Management with the General Services Administration, Nextgov reported Tuesday. Recently, the White House submitted a legislative proposal to Congress to reorganize OPM into GSA and establish a new office of federal workforce policy within the Office of Management and Budget. The office will be headed by a non-Senate confirmed appointee with the rulemaking authority.

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Trump Directs Intell Community Cooperation on 2016 Election Investigation

President Trump is calling on the intelligence community to “quickly and fully cooperate” with investigations on alleged surveillance operations during the 2016 presidential elections, the White House said Thursday. Trump is directing the community to comply with the attorney general, who is tasked with examining potential cases of election-related interference and will have full and complete authority to declassify information relevant to the investigation. 

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