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FCW Insider: Dec. 23

Federal employees got a pay raise and a new family leave benefit in a package of bills signed into law just before the holidays. Adam Mazmanian has more.

The Defense Department is on the brink of major acquisition changes to help encourage faster tech adoption. Lauren C. Williams reports on what's in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

The first three months of 2020 include key milestones for modernization projects at the General Services Administration, including their governmentwide telecommunications contract and plans to put some acquisition into an e-commerce platform. Mark Rockwell takes a look.

At a recent event, government acquisition leaders said that AI and robotics process automation will help manage tedious tasks, free up procurement pros for more high level work and even introduce new accountability in the buying process. Lia Russell explains.

Quick Hits

*** A study released last week by the National Institute of Standards and Technology demonstrated that most facial recognition software systems do a poor job of making correct matches between images of individuals of African and Asian descent. The disparity in false positives between different groups is characterized as "large," In addition to racial effects, most algorithms generate more false positive matches among women than among men.

In a Dec. 20 letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) called the results "shocking." Thompson, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said the results, "call into question not only DHS's future plans for expanding the use of facial recognition technology, but also the Department’s current operations."

*** A group of House Democrats led by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, is calling on the VA to rethink their approach to implementing a group of workforce executive orders outside the collective bargaining process.

"Failure to work effectively with organized labor and protect the rights of workers is a failure to adequately fulfill the mission of VA," the lawmakers stated in a Dec. 19 letter.

Posted by FCW Staff on Dec 23, 2019 at 2:03 AM


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