GITEC 2022 Emerging Technology Awards
Award Winners Announced!
Thank you for all the team nominations, for joining us at the Award Reception Ceremony, and of course for the hard work and accomplishments by all of the nominated teams in helping the Federal Government adopt emerging technologies!
Award for Advancing Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics
NASA AIML Transformation Team
Team Lead: Edward McLarney, AIML Digital Transformation Lead, NASA
Team Members: Nikunj Oza, Herbert Schilling, Martin Garcia, Shubha Ranjan, Charles Liles, Scott Tashakkor, Rodney Martin, Dave Kelldorf, Steve Arnold, Joshua Stuckner, Manil Maskey, Lui Wang, Sandeep Shetye, Yuri Gawdiak, John Sprague, Barbara Thompson, Mark Carroll, Dan Crichton, Chris Mattman, David Na, Truong Le
Description: The NASA AIML Transformation Team has supported overall NASA Digital Transformation via fostering AI and Machine Learning teamwork, technology foundations, workforce development and practical application of AIML NASA-wide. Practical application payoffs have included: An experimental machine learning image analysis prototype deployed to the International Space Station to inspect astronaut gloves for cracks; Onboarding a capability from the external innovation partner Frontier Development Lab using machine learning to make extremely dark images of the Lunar surface human viewable; Prototype crowdsource-based events to predict storm surges in coastal areas; Satellite image-based prediction of destructive storms in the Mid-West; An ongoing project in enabling unmanned aerial systems to recognize and recover from emergency flight conditions; Prototype approaches to discovering / inventing new materials four times faster; and many more.
Award for Excellence in Cybersecurity
Marine Forces Cyber Command (MARFORCYBER) / Cyber Hunt Analytic Operating System (CHAOS)
Team Lead: Chris Carrigan, Program Manager COP-SA, Marine Corps
Team Members: Maj. Teal Peterson, Craig Ritchings
Description: In the implementation of CHAOS, the team has delivered multiple operational cyber analytical capabilities and supporting data flows to enable an improved defensive posture of the DoD Information Network (DoDIN). With extensive experience in massive scale data and cloud management, operational efficiencies have been identified to enable reallocation of costs, streamlined operations, and better warfighter capabilities. The team under Mr. Carrigan’s leadership is on track to ingest hundreds of new data flows and develop Situational Awareness and Common Operating Pictures for the Joint Cyber Force. The current CHAOS initiative is revolutionizing how the Marines defend their network, with joint collaboration across USSC, Army, and Air Force cyber forces.
Award for Advancing DevOps in Federal Space
Gabriel Nimbus Derivative LTAC
Team Lead: Greg Bew, Army Cyber Technical Advisor, U.S. Army
Team Members: Army Technical Warfare Center (TWC)
Description: In order to improve the speed of cyberspace operations, the Army Technical Warfare Center (TWC) has embarked on a digital transformation and modernization effort. One leading example of the success across the Army and broader DoD has been the implementation of Big Data Platform (BDP), a technology called out in the DoD Digital Transformation Strategy. Recently, in order to take the BDP to the next level and create an enduring capability that was ahead of its time, the TWC embarked on a journey to create a next generation implementation of BDP. The new implementation of BDP called the Lower Echelon Analytics Platform (LEAP) – Tactical or LTAC for short is a completed containerized massive scale data analytics platform for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). The TWC created this capability using an Agile DevSecOps development model and has in less than a year gone to production operations with the capabilities. This has provided a significant improvement to multiple JADC2 missions.
Award for Digital Experience
Division of Disease Control & Health Protection
Team Lead: Craig Curry, Director of IT, Division of Disease Control, Florida Department of Health
Description: The Florida Department of Health launched an epidemiological surveillance system throughout the State in response to disease management needs. The fully modernized system including a mobile application garnered over 4.5 million Floridians, with over 50% of households in the state utilizing the direct to resident services. Residents were able to receive real-time, validated test results directly to their mobile device. The mobile app currently has 220k reviews with a 4.9/5 star rating and is currently the largest resident facing public health deployment in the country. Through an innovative, modernized mobile product, residents were able to view and store all test result data in one place, that was sharable when needed for travel, doctors visits, organizational requirements and more.
Award for Workforce Innovation
The Chief Financial Officers Council (CFOC) Shape the Workforce Initiative
Team Lead: Eric Popiel, Program Analyst, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Team Members: Dennis Cronyn, Ben Ficks, Evan Farley, Steve Kunze, Mike Wetklow, Karin Dasuki, Erica Gaddy
Description: The Chief Financial Officers Council utilized foresight to identify what might impact the future of the Financial Management workforce. Over the course of 18 months and through the pandemic, the team identified 7 strategic focus areas. The project culminated in a strategic vision, an OMB chartered executive steering committee, and the support of the full CFOC to implement the vision. Three workgroups are working on different initiatives to include a career planning and training tool, data literacy boot camps for executives and staff-level personnel, and succession planning and knowledge transfer. While the efforts are in their infancy given the recent document release, progress has been made and the foundational document will continue to guide efforts to improve the FM workforce, recruit the next generation employees, and support the current employees. The foresight process will continue to be used to generate additional insights and ensure the CFOC is anticipatory and not reactionary
Award for Information Technology Modernization
National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) Enforcement Support System (NESS)
Team Lead: Christie Weidner, NESS Product Owner, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Team Members: Swati Deb, Jenny Brayton
Description: NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the digital image capture and comparison of ballistic evidence. Historically, investigators and analysts only received NIBIN links via emailed pdf documents. The NESS project automatically ingests NIBIN data and connects it with Federal, State and Local law enforcement shooting and gun recovery data. This allows us to connect violent gun crime across jurisdictions.
Example: A female victim was shot and later succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds. The same day, a second female was arrested in an unrelated incident with two firearms in a neighboring state. The evidence was submitted for entry into NIBIN. Using NESS, ATF personnel saw a NIBIN lead linking the homicide with one of the recovered firearms. That lead was crucial to helping investigators identify the homicide suspect who was later convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Award for Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in the Federal Workforce
Office of Information Technology (OIT) Personal Pronoun Team, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Team Lead: Reggie Humphries, Communicator Director, OIT, VA
Team Members: Tracy Batey, Scott Beck, Jason Boteler, Lacy Chism, Sharon E. Cifelli, Angie Cobb, Gary Cobb, Charles Puchon, Daniel Reed, Kurt DelBene, Todd Remillard, Jonathan Van Luik, Karl Ridener, Kimberly Hollingsworth, Crystal Roshell, Claude Russell, Joshua D. Seefried, Stephen Thurman, Jeff Podolec, Seung-han Lee, Andrea Marshall, Qudus Oduniyi, Joseph D. Parham, Carlos Parra, Elizabeth T. Paulson, Reggie Humphries, James Gunter, Douglas Degraw, Andre Whisonant, Nicole Gilbride, JoAnn Hayes, Samuel A. Hildebrand, Maria Cockerham, Tonya Daughtry
Description: With more than 13,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees at the VA, Secretary Denis McDonough sought to align the organization’s diversity “policies and procedures with the President’s vision for a more inclusive government.” Specifically, VA’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) was asked to help develop, deploy, and champion a technology solution that allowed for Department staff and contractors to update their digital displays with a pronoun that reflected an individual’s preferred gender identity. In support of this effort, OIT’s Personal Pronoun team added a new feature to VA’s IT Service Portal that lets users add personal pronouns to their digital display name with few clicks of the mouse. Once the pronoun request was submitted through the IT Service Portal, the Department’s enterprise service desk would add an employee or contractors’ personal identifiers – such as she/her, he/him, or they/them – to one’s digital display name.
Award for Tackling Climate Crisis and Promoting Green Government
Fleet Team, General Services Administration (GSA)
Team Lead: Crystal Philcox, Assistant Commissioner of Travel and Transportation and Logistics (TTL), Federal Acquisition Service, GSA
Team Members: Lisa Pearson, William Sonenberg, Christina Kingsland, Stephanie Gresalfi, Caitlin Dorame, Lisa Wheatley
Description: In 2021, President Biden published an executive order requiring the Federal government to replace its entire fleet of about 650,000 vehicles with US-made electric models. The GSA Fleet team (FAS Office of Travel and Transportation and Logistics) are leading the government’s efforts to create a 100% zero-emission federal vehicle fleet, and in turn leading the acceleration to renewable vehicles nationwide. The Fleet team is doing this in three ways – procuring electric vehicles to meet government needs, enabling an infrastructure to make sure those vehicle have access to the power they need, and installing the equipment needed to get this effort started. The team is providing world-class acquisition expertise and building strong partnerships to strengthen trust in the future of EVs in the United States. The Fleet team’s work is having an impact that will go way beyond updating the Federal fleet. In FY22, over 9% of new light duty vehicle acquisitions this year have zero emissions, compared with about 6% of all new car sales across the US. They are leading by example and by using the government’s purchasing power to make early investments in EV infrastructure. Those early investments will in turn reduce barriers to electrification for American industry and citizens, and in turn dramatically reduce US dependency on fossil fuels.
Award Categories and Remaining Nominated Teams
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Diversity | Equity
Category: Advancing Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics
The following federal government teams were nominated for their demonstrable effort to promote AI technology and innovation in the federal government as a whole, and for their methods to increase efficiency and reduce cost using cutting-edge AI technologies.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Team Lead: Sean McIntyre, Director, FAA
Description: Having oversight over everything relating to civil aviation and flight safety, including new aircraft technologies, air traffic control, plane manufacturing, environmental impact and so much more, the FAA relies upon infrastructure and applications which bring on a seemingly infinite number of dependencies. In examining the existing state of applications performance, the IT team was receiving alerts, but was unable to identify the root causes of the alerts. The team employed enhanced AI that would not only identify the source of the problem, and how to fix it, but also revealed that the causes of app performance issues were often 180 degrees removed from where the team previously focused.
Team Lead: Bonnie Evangelista, Tradewind Execution Lead, Office of the Chief Digital and AI Officer, DOD
Team Members: COL Scott Helmore, Stephanie Wilson, Jason Caulkins
Description: The Tradewind initiative provides an implementation vehicle for applying and assessing new and innovative acquisition processes to enable successful delivery of AI and digital capabilities. The Tradewind team executed a 60 day pilot award for use of a commercial technology to demonstrate how the commercial solution structures data and creates an ontology. The primary objective of this pilot was to assess how well the analytics can optimize executive-level strategic decision making. The commercial solution demonstrated capabilities to allow for significantly improved geo-visualization, automated course of action generation, user-generated COA assessment, and user workflow management at the very top tier of decision making in the Department of Defense. This solution is now entering into a beta release for use across the Department in an effort to drive analytics performance and informed data decision making.
National Artificial Intelligence Institute (NAII)
Team Lead: Sarah Kallassy, Strategic Communications Officer, US Department of Veterans Affairs NAII
Team Members: Dr. Gil Alterovitz, Dr. Michael Kim, Timothy Strebel, Dr. Rafael Fricks, Dr. Mary Gallagher, Anthony Boese, Zachary Savarie, Victoria Lopez, Joshua Hakakian, Christos Makridis
Description: Founded in 2019, NAII is the preeminent organization for AI research, implementation, policy and collaboration at the Department of Veterans Affairs, focused on leveraging AI to improve Veteran care. The NAII builds partnerships across government, industry, and the research community. In 2021, the NAII led the development of the VA Artificial Intelligence Strategy, coordinating the collaboration of more than 20 VA offices. Consequently, VA was one of the first five federal agencies to develop an official AI strategy. The NAII has delivered high-impact pilot projects across VA such as the COVID-19 120 Day Mortality Model, the AI-to-Go Tool, and more. NAII leads the AI@VA Community of Practice, with over 1000 members and just hosted the inaugural BRAIN Summit to highlight how AI is impacting three areas of critical importance to Veterans’ health: brain cancer, brain injury and rehabilitation, and mental health.
Enterprise Technology, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Team Lead: Alex Smith, Chief Technology Officer, DEA
Team Members: John Dea, Al Ochoa
Description: DEA represents a significant target for nation-state as well as non-nation sponsored attacks. DEA identified the need to bolster and strengthen their existing cybersecurity posture. A gap analysis and red team of their existing cyber tools led to a determination that the addition of AI/ML tooling was required. After testing a pilot model, the solution was scaled out and now performs AI-driven detections that understand attacker behavior to expose the complete narrative of an attack. Additionally, AI triage reduces alert noise by automatically distinguishing malicious events from benign, while prioritizing the most critical threats.
Artificial Intelligence Use Cases Publications from the Office of the Chief Artificial Intelligence Office, CIO, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Team Lead: Sanja Basaric, AI Program Lead, HHS
Team Members: Greg Singleton
Description: The Office of the Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer (OCAIO) at HHS was among the first to publish AI Use Cases that satisfied the Executive Order 13960 mandate. This publication was the result of a Department-wide data call, involving 11 major operating divisions. The data call has enabled the Department to conduct the first ever landscape analysis of AI across the Department. Metrics such as operational status, techniques, and data origin were analyzed and shared with the Department. This has enabled greater insight and collaboration within the Department, enabling better mission delivery. The initiative also gives the public, industry, and other agencies increased transparency into how the Department is utilizing AI. This effort has set precedent and sparked other agencies to increase transparency into their use cases. Click to view HHS AI Use Cases FY 2022.
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Category: Excellence in Cybersecurity
The following federal government teams were nominated for exemplifying excellence in government cybersecurity through contributions to programs that protect critical data and systems. The award will recognize a thought leader who has developed and operationalized innovative strategies or programs to address government cybersecurity challenges.
Office of the Sergeant at Arms, U.S. Senate
Team Lead: Linus Barloon, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Office of the Sergeant at Arms, U.S. Senate
Description: As a pillar of our nation’s democracy, the U.S. Senate is a significant target for nation-state attacks. A small team, led by the CISO at the Office of the Sergeant at Arms, identified the need to bolster and strengthen the cyber posture of the U.S. Senate. The team prioritized evaluating long term, future-proof solutions built on AI/ML technology to achieve significant relief from the alert noise and maintenance of their current cybersecurity solutions. AI/ML would be key to defending against an ever evolving cyber landscape.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Cybersecurity Shared Services Program
Team Lead: Daphna Shai, Acting Assistant Director, Cybersecurity Services Staff, OCIO, DOJ
Team Members: Leena Shepherd, Anthony Mercaldo, James Rodgers, Eric Jorgensen, Kevin Yasuda, Donald Moore, Larry Tun, Samantha Williams, Brittany Parker, Josh Wren, Chris Generazio, Thomas Weikle
Description: DOJ provides high-quality cybersecurity services to Federal government agencies. DOJ operates managed cybersecurity services such as Security Operations Center as a Service and Justice Edge Trust Service for three onboarded agency customers this year. Service demand has grown tremendously. DOJ is onboarding four new agencies with others in discussion. There are 70+ small/micro agencies who face cybersecurity challenges with limited resources. DOJ offers these agencies best-of-breed cybersecurity capabilities at a fraction of the cost for that agency to build and manage. DOJ improves an agency’s security posture by implementing a holistic solution that includes 24×7 security monitoring and detection, logging, endpoint protection, email hygiene, cyber hunt, threat intelligence, and secure access (SASE).
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Computer Security Incident Response Center (CSIRC)
Team Lead: Kyle Basehart, Associate Director, Cyber Threat Fusion Center, IRS
Team Members: Clark Moiles, Robert Hyers, Ronald Dow, Thomas Myers, Emory Anderson, Sam Jarocki, Joshua Holmes, Ed Kandel, Ty Brown, Quoc Ngo, Barnard Cross, Tim Costella, Michael Gent, SOC Team, Threat Intel Team, Vulnerability Team, Analytics, TechOps and EPP/EDR Teams, Proxy and Firewall Team, Email Security Team
Description: CSIRC has played a pivotal role in making IRS one of the most secured government agencies while it has the most sensitive and critical assets. With both operational and services roles, CSIRC orchestrated and led the efforts to proactively improve the controls and adopt creative measures to counter threats. Early TLS inspection, near perfect ROI and employment of tools and analytics, very tight access policies, well designed multi-layers and defense in depth, smart user interaction with the internet, balancing business needs with security practices, smart migration to the cloud, practical adoption to Zero Trust and TIC 3.0 – while IRS is the only agency that is compliant to TIC 2.0, with recommendations and advice that deemed to be a guideline to the other agencies, unprecedented successful measures to a secured teleworking environment, world class experts, intelligent leadership, and work ethics and culture; all proved CSIRC creativity and excellence. IRS CSIRC stands out locally and globally with excellent KPIs, optimum security controls, mature practices, solid policies and procedures, skilled and dedicated members and above all; zero breaches record. CSIRC presented IRS as a secured organization, a role model , a trusted agency and the pride of the U.S. Government.
Section 889 Pre-Award Surveillance Team, General Services Administration (GSA)
Team Lead: Matthew Jones, Branch Chief, Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), GSA
Team Members: Nnake Nweke, Chhongba Sherpa, Jon Robello, Emma Achale, Dunni Olawoyin, Matthew Do, Amber Mayes, Richard Peregoy, Andrew Chiang, Albert Ingram, Tarrina Browne, Nadine Burris, Heena Patel, Jennifer Wheeler, James Trocki, James Lopez De Victoria, Peter Manzo, Wayne Thomas, Dervin Diggs, Rena Willis, Denitra Bynum, Leena Scott, Jaime Martinez, Michelle Avery, and Keisha Reid
Description: Section 889 (Part A) of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 bans the government from obtaining certain telecommunications and video surveillance equipment or services. Relying primarily on the use of AI powered tools, GSA implemented surveillance procedures to mitigate the risk of the prohibited products entering GSA’s acquisition supply chain. These high-impact activities have been successful in overcoming challenges, to include the identification of subsidiaries/affiliates and white-labeling the rebranding of products that obfuscates country of origin. Since September 2021, hundreds of vendor items have been prevented from entering the GSA Marketplace. Findings in the pre-award phase are significant as they prevent a realization of compliance and reputational risks. This also saves the agency time and resources to remove non-compliant offerings in the post-award phase.
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Category: Advancing DevOps in Federal Space
The following federal government teams were nominated for their efforts and achievements in operating within the DevOps space and successfully overcoming cultural, organizational, and technology implementation challenges while adopting DevOps tools and methodologies to advance their agency mission.
U.S. Navy Black Pearl Program
Team Lead: Manuel Gauto, Chief Engineer
Team Members: Josiah Ritchie
Description: Black Pearl commoditizes the ‘boring’ aspects of Software Factories (SWF), enabling mission owners to develop secure code, deployed at the speed of mission. Repeated and sustained success throughout the Navy resulted in:
– Establishment of SWFs: Months/Years to Days/Weeks
– Onboarding of users: Weeks to hours
– Vulnerabilities detected 40% earlier
– 30% of all Black Pearl traffic comes from adversaries – mitigating hundreds of attacks each day
Enterprise Security Architecture / DevSecOps, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Team Lead: Bridget Stiggers, Lead DevSecOps, VA
Team Members: Nonet Nera, Kevin Garcia, Antonette Caldwell, Rhohit Sharma, Ragu Sivaraman, Leah Zimmerman, Lee Szilagyi
Description: The team modernized and published an Application Programming Interface (API) Security Design Pattern to protect sensitive Veteran personal health information (PHI) and personal data against potential attacks and breaches. The Pattern defined security policy and guidelines for APIs employed by VA in both public-facing and internal contexts, visibility and discovery of APIs. It also speaks to the need for interoperability and data availability to users and developers. The scope included APIs developed internally by VA, as well as those provided by external entities and consumed by VA to achieve business objectives. The security pattern addressed the security needs that come with this evolution of APIs at VA and in the global technology landscape. This Pattern is intended to be used in concert with the API Enterprise Design Pattern and the VA API Policy, as well as technical documentation including, but not limited to system.
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Category: Digital Experience
The following federal government teams were nominated for promoting exceptional citizen service experiences through the use of digital technology. They have implemented best practices to radically improve the experience of government and pushed the boundaries to build customer-centric human connections in our digital world.
Miami-Dade County Integrated Technology Demonstration/ Automation of the Miami International Airport Part 139 Inspections
Team Lead: Jose Rodriguez, Division Director, Miami-Dade County/ITD
Team Members: Jose L. Lopez, Patty Madrid, Clare Sibori, Adriana Castro, Dennis Zielstra, Brandy Channin, Ben Keller, David James, Dan Agostino, Mike Bryant, Jim Murphy, Patrick Wallis
Description: Major airports like Miami International Airport (MIA) require an operational certificate to ensure the safety in air transportation. As a Part 139 Certificated airport, one of the many required components of the Part 139 Certificate include conducting the daily airfield Self-Inspection. At the time of this project, these inspections were performed and cataloged using paper data collection. The solution created for MIA is a digital transformation known as the MIA Operations Dashboards that combines ArcGIS Operations Dashboards and Survey123 in an ESRI Story Map. The team successfully enabled inspections to be viewed on a map in real time by digitizing their process.
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Category: Workforce Innovation
The following federal government teams were nominated for their outstanding achievement in advancing re-skilling, up-skilling and change management among federal workforce to prepare employees for future work, while aligning improved productivity with employee retention and satisfaction.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) Learning in Place Pilot (LPP)
Team Lead: Kara Waters, Associate Director for Policy, Performance & Risk Management, CDC
Team Members: Nicole Cundy, Suzi Connor, Jason Bonander, Maria Thompson
Description: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is going through a major digital transformation, moving 100+ legacy systems from on-premise servers to cloud platforms. With this comes the need to reskill/upskill the 430+-person OCIO workforce to ensure they are equipped to provide technical support for the migrated enterprise systems and can adapt to this new work environment, quickly and seamlessly. To do this, Kara Waters led a team that developed the Learning in Place Pilot (LPP) program: a 16-week blended learning program that gives OCIO staff an understanding of cloud and data fluency topics, critical to OCIO’s future success. The LPP will lead to improved customer service from OCIO ”the technical IT backbone of CDC” so OCIO staff can quickly resolve challenges, onboard new staff, and seamlessly collaborate with outside contractors, streamlining the entire IT process and saving valuable time and money in reduced staffing costs.
IT Modernization, Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP), General Services Administration (GSA)
Team Lead: Fred Bisel, Training Program Manager, GSA
Team Members: Connor Barrett, Kiran Balsa, Steve Naumann
Description: In the spirit of GSA’s purpose to support the agencies of the US Federal Government, the GSA OGP IT Modernization team helps agencies adopt federal IT policies, guidance, and best practices. For example, the IT Modernization team serves as the Managing Partner of the IPv6 Federal Task Force. The Task Force, under the IT Modernization division’s leadership, facilitated industry and government collaboration through a June 2021 summit. With more than 600 attendees, this high profile event allowed industry, government, and academia to collaborate and ask questions to assist agency adoption of an IPv6-only infrastructure, a critical element of OMB Memorandum M-21-07 and a key component of Zero Trust and a secure IT infrastructure.
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Cyber Workforce Framework Refresh & Expansion
Team Lead: Matt Isnor, Chief, Cyber Workforce Management Branch, Department of Defense, Chief Information Office
Team Members: Dr. Cynthia DeVita-Cochrane, Gerard Horan, Brad McGill
Description: The DOD Cyber Workforce team convened over 200 participants to engage in the expansion of the DOD Cyber Workforce Framework (DCWF). These subject matter experts on data, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) from 15 DOD agencies and including all the military services, provided insights by participation in focus groups and through surveys that allowed for the development of 10 new work roles and hundreds of additional knowledge, skill, ability, and task statements that capture the range of AI, Data, and Analytics work across the Enterprise. This effort has expanded the scope of DCWF to include emerging technologies beyond cyber and created a standard lexicon of work in AI and Data that will simplify the human capital management of these roles. This work has a direct impact on the ability of agencies across the DOD to attract, qualify, train, and retain the highest quality talent as it defends against emerging threats in the digital realm.
LearningSpace Course Developer’s Certificate, Peace Corps
Team Lead: Jeffrey Kwaterski, Chief of Digital Learning & Knowledge Management, Peace Corps
Team Members: Peter Bergh, Ashley Acosta-Fox, Joshua Ashburn, Elisa Oliver, Evelina Alibegovska, Enrique Linan
Description: The Covid-19 pandemic forced a global evacuation of over 7,000 Peace Corps Volunteers. To modernize its approach to learning in preparation for Volunteers returning to 56 countries of service, Peace Corps invested heavily in up-skilling staff to design and develop effective blended and self-directed e-learning. The Peace Corps trained over 900 staff using an intensive blended learning program – the LearningSpace Course Developer Certificate. The 10-week program is team-based and project-focused (all teams must develop a course which will be of use for staff or Volunteers). Learners in each of five cohorts to date were supported through direct mentorship by experienced course developers from across the Agency. More than 200 new online courses were created by the participating project teams covering a diverse array of topics, from medical and safety, to language and culture, for use by both Volunteers and staff.
Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) Acquisition Team / Immersive Commercial Acquisition Program (ICAP)
Team Lead: Cherissa Tamayori, Director of Acquisition, DIU
Team Members: Roshan Jessani, Joshua Tuxhorn, Justin Wilson, Christina Mokrane, Indy Toliver, Phillip Lee, Stephen Gerry, Charles Park, Nick Dupre
Description: The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is a Department of Defense (DOD) organization focused on accelerating the adoption of commercial technology to the warfighter. Eleven of the DOD’s 14 critical technology priorities are led by the commercial sector; in order to integrate these technologies at speed and scale, wider adoption of flexible acquisition methods is crucial. Recognizing this, DIU launched the Immersive Commercial Acquisition Program (ICAP) to train DOD acquisition professionals on how to use the Other Transaction (OT) authority to acquire novel commercial technologies. ICAP fellows will produce a capstone project – a training plan, based on experiences and lessons learned in the program. The capstone project will serve as the framework for the ICAP fellows to launch a similar training program at their home organization, implementing best practices on how to leverage OT agreements and the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) framework to acquire innovative commercial technologies.
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Category: Information Technology Modernization
The following federal government teams were nominated to will celebrate initiatives that enable agencies to better deliver their services to the American public. This federal government team has embarked on an IT-related modernization endeavor in pursuit of improved efficiency, increased digitization, streamlined processes, reduced operational costs, and other gains to the benefit of the nation.
Enterprise Cloud Solutions Office (ESCO) at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Team Lead: Dave Catanoso, Director, Enterprise Cloud Solutions Office, VA
Team Members: Joseph Stevenson
Description: As Director of the Enterprise Cloud Solutions Office (ECSO) at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Dave Catanoso, is leading the IT modernization charge with an ambitious, AI-enabled VA Enterprise Cloud initiative to migrate 350 mission-critical applications to the cloud by 2024. This represents about one-half of the total portfolio of the VA, which oversees almost 1,400 lines of business while balancing millions of data elements to support 400,000 employees and 20 million veterans. As part of the IT transformation initiative, the team executed one of the largest email migrations from on-premises Exchange servers to Microsoft Office 365 – moving nearly 480,000 mailboxes to the cloud. To support this modernization, the VA has leveraged AI in the form of software intelligence to enhance cloud observability, simplifying the complexities of the migration while establishing total, real-time visibility/awareness of all applications.
Robotic Process Automation – BOT Team, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Team Lead: Bartek Chwalek
Team Members: Ronie Namata, Janice Hill, Joseph Millard, Camilla Schmidt, Christopher Nigh
Description: Over the past 15 months, with the support of leadership, the CBP Office of Acquisition’s small and all-volunteer CBP Robotic Process Automation (RPA) team has developed several attended robots to enhance procurement, budget, and financial management systems and processes. The biggest challenge for CBP was a tremendous backlog of outstanding de-obligations to current and expired contracts, which resulted in the agency’s inability to capitalize on unused funding that was tied to contracts. In addition to the backlog of outstanding de-obligations, procurement personnel’s availability during year-end activities to complete the de-obligations activities is extremely limited. The team went outside of their technical knowledge and responsibilities during extraordinary circumstances to document and develop a fully automated robot (bot) that performs the de-obligation process for a user.
Enterprise Data Office, Texas Department of Public Safety
Team Lead: Amberle Carter, Enterprise Data Officer, Texas Department of Public Safety
Team Members: Nadiah Ahmad, Michael Ballensky, Shannon Barrow, Latrice Bradford, Hope McVea, Sarah Perales, Subhashini Sarma, Pamitha Vasanthan
Description: Organizations manage enormous amounts of data. Valuable data. Oftentimes it is not readily available, standardized, or even understood. To address this issue, the Department of Public Safety has built a data lakehouse, which resides in a CJIS-secure cloud. This is a modernization of a data warehouse and a data lake that marries the best of both worlds- ability to intake any data type and bring reportable functionality. When populated, it is a single, centralized, repository of data that serves as a primary source of truth, in which each division in the agency remains owners of their data. The data is consistent and defined, secure, validated, and accessible by those the divisions designated to have access. The lakehouse enables the Department of Public Safety to make consistent, informed decisions obtaining strategic value from data, establish better efficiency, effectiveness, and quality in organizational operations, and ensure the integrity of data assets.
Robotic Process Automation Team, General Services Administration (GSA)
Team Lead: Gabrielle Perret, Director of the Federal Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Community of Practice
Team Members: Anthony Cavallo, Brian Mooers, Becky Schultz
Description: Since 2018, when GSA’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer first introduced RPA to the agency, the team has built well over 100 automations (called bots) that have saved an estimated 430,000+ cumulative hours annually across all GSA Offices. These bots automate repetitive rules-based processes that are time consuming and prone to mistakes. A bot can perform these actions, sometimes within seconds, and allow an employee to focus on decision making and delivering on GSA’s mission. Automation examples include: (i) the Contractor Responsibility Determination Screener bot, which has created 5,300 annualized hours of capacity for contracting officers, and is available for governmentwide use! (ii) The Credit Card Logging Bot improves internal controls and compliance by automating the process of manually entering purchase card transactions into the GSA financial systems.
In addition, the GSA RPA team provides services to GSA partners in complete package – including process mapping, process optimization, automation solutions, Chat Bots, and more. The GSA RPA Team hosts the federal RPA Community Practice (FedRPA COP) which helps federal agencies convert RPA enthusiasm into action, and acts as a central forum for advice and guidance, connecting members to each other across the government to share solutions and ideas, maximize resources, get advice, and strategize.
Integrated Warfighter Network, U.S. Air Force (USAF)
Team Lead: COL. Peter Chiou, Chief, Integrated Warfighting Network, USAF
Team Members: Sam Wiebenson
Description:The Department of the Air Force Chief Architects Office (DAF CAO) is leading the charge in next generation, tunnel free SD-WAN technology, enabling warfighters to have access to secure, resilient communications wherever their mission takes them. This technology, for the first time ever, has allowed agencies, including MDA to send critical fire control signals over commercial networks. The IWN team has implemented a next generation SD-WAN capability called Secure Vector Routing (SVR), which enables warfighters to leverage existing commercial links to set up secure and resilient networks within minutes. This capability has been implemented within their tactical kits called “Edge Connect”. COL Peter Chiou led the IWN team and leveraged champions within the USAF as well as many others across Army, Navy, USMC, and MDA to demonstrate and enable Edge Connect capability. The culmination of the exercise with Valiant Shield 22 showcased the technology supporting multiple agencies to enable secure and resilient communications in a dynamic battle space. Multi-agency collaboration was key to enabling the success of the exercise which is now leading to additional mission partners deploying Edge Connect as part of Project Convergence 22. This truly demonstrates joint cooperation as part of the JADC2 initiative.
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
Team Lead: Jamie Holcombe, Chief Information Officer (CIO), USPTO
Team Members: Don Watson, Darren Cytryn, Sidney Thomas, James Nichols
Description: In June 2022, the USPTO announced the agency’s intent to implement a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture, a highly innovative IT modernization decision that significantly contributes to its operational mission. As agencies continue to work toward building out a Zero Trust Architecture in accordance with administrative guidance, the USPTO is among the first agencies in the Federal Government to commit this to action by implementing a SASE architecture. The SASE model eliminates perimeter-based security and networking appliances and legacy solutions for federal agencies and enables modern access control for Zero Trust adoption. SASE provides agencies with a cloud-based architecture that converges multiple security technologies into a scalable, elastic platform to deliver network and security services that protects users, data and applications everywhere.
Enterprise Cloud Solutions Office, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Team Lead: Chris Cardella, Acting Deputy Director, Enterprise Cloud Solutions Office, ATF
Team Members: Sue Speck, Jeff Price, Joe Fourcade, Lia Burrus, Harvey Hayes, Will McDonough, Lee Johnson
Description: In order to fulfill the mission of the VA to serve our nation’s Veterans, VA’s Enterprise Cloud Solutions Office has pursued a strategy of constantly modernizing its IT processes and systems to deliver increasingly better outcomes to VA organizations that provide direct services to Veterans. For example, since the Office was established in 2018, ECSO typically supported the migration of 30-40 applications to the cloud every year, but over the last 12 months it has moved more than additional 120 applications to the cloud. Also, ECSO has been able to reduce the typical time that an application team receives an Authority to Operate (ATO) from 6-9 months to 80-90 days – an outstanding improvement that allows applications to provide services to Veterans much more quickly. In addition, ECSO has deployed artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) to monitor and secure VA systems.
Permit Information Management System, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Team Lead: Elton Edinborough, OCIO Project Manager, NOAA
Team Members: Nancy Majower, Samir Mehta
Description: NOAA NMFS issues federal permits for recreational and commercial fishing. The new Permit Information Management System (PIMS) for SERO is an enterprise solution that streamlines processes and incorporates responsive design to include a mobile application. NOAA found value and significantly contributed to the operational mission in four ways: Reduced Processing Time of Permit Applications; Improvement in Constituent Experience; Adding Advanced System Enhancements and Untapped Business Value Leveraging a Low-Code Platform. Using Appian’s low code platform, overall time to process and issue permits has been drastically reduced from hours to minutes. System validations within each application, and from connections to external system, provide a simpler application process and prevent incomplete or incorrect data from being submitted in online applications cutting down processing time by up to 10x.
Commercial Solution for Classified (CSfC) and Trusted Thin Client (TTC)/Trusted Thin Client Remote (TTC-R) for U.S. Army 7th Signal Command (THEATER)
Team Lead: Brandon Stackpole, Hosting and Hoteling Branch Chief, Enterprise Services Division U.S. Army Signal Stand Alone Network Enterprise Center – Fort Gordon Army
Team Members: Jeremy Vigna, Jose Estrada
Description: The Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) Support Team at U.S. Army 7th Signal Command (Theater) has significantly contributed to the operational mission of 7th Signal Command and the U.S. Army. The CSfC Support Team has been leading and spearheading the CSfC for secure remote access initiative for the Army since the pandemic necessitated it in 2020. The CSfC Support Team has promoted and successfully implemented smooth and engaged processes to deploy secure devices that users can use to accomplish mission-critical tasks, remotely – transforming the capabilities of the US Army. The CSfC’s Support Team’s efforts enable a truly geographically diverse workforce, and they have moved the program from a pilot to a full production program. The production has scaled from a handful of users to thousands around the world – with hundreds of these users being Senior Uniformed Officers.
Cloud Security Team/FedRAMP Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Team Lead: Charles Solomon Jackson, Lead Cloud Security, VA
Team Members: John Deleo
Description: As the demand of cloud technologies increased the VA rapidly surged towards cloud technology leading to the establishment of the VA Cloud Security Program Office. The program office is responsible for establishing and maintaining cloud governance, architecture, requirements and authorization processes and cloud continuous monitoring program. Servicing over 433k employees, and over 1400 medical centers. The program created a means for external and internal stakeholders to bring secure cloud products into the agency to help facilitate a strong Customer Experience for all stakeholders reaching out for security support. Evolved and increased efficiency, Program Office stood up a continuous monitoring program, drafted job aid and templates, and collected metrics on all Authorized to Operate (ATO’d) systems in the CM dashboard used to report Plans of Action and Milestone (POAM) and security risk. This data is shared with all system stakeholders, since then POAMs closing is in record numbers. VA has deployed 450 cloud services currently.
GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Continuous Diagnostic & Mitigation (CDM) Modernization Project Team
Team Lead: Tyrees Jones, Contracts Division 4 Director, GSA FAS ITC
Team Members: Cathy Nelson, Tara Wetli, Julius White, Jeannette Grover, Elisabeth Sundin, Bart Bates, Richard Carlson, Usha Gopal, Doug Dubois, Sherly Thomas, Sharhanda Chivers, Hilton Faulcon, Tammy Stathas, Malia Won. DHS/CISA: Alexandra Bortz, Cristen Winegrad, Niki Lane
Description: In March 2021, GSA and DHS revisited the effectiveness of a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Special Item Number (SIN) developed to provide federal agencies with approved cybersecurity hardware and software products and services. The projected use of the SIN had not been realized. However, there was still a need for approved tools among federal, state, local, regional, and tribal agencies. Also, the solution vehicle was an invaluable market research resource for the federal acquisition community. GSA and DHS worked together to explore an innovative solution that would increase the visibility of approved tools to better match federal IT and cyber requirements. The team engaged with federal industry partners and leveraged their feedback to successfully propose IT modernization solutions in machine learning and automation. They retired the SIN and launched a logo initiative that has led to over 150,000 approved tools now marked with a unique logo on GSA’s Advantage! eCommerce website.
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Category: Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in the Federal Workforce
The following federal government teams were nominated for their efforts to model the principles outlined in this Government-wide initiative. They have implemented programs, spread awareness, expanded DEIA training, removed barriers, addressed harassment, and taken other actions to ensure that all employees are treated with dignity and respect.
Removing Barriers in the Federal Workforce
Team Lead: Betsy Sirk, The Accessibility Community of Practice (ACoP) Industry Outreach Chairperson, NASA Section 508 Program Manager
Team Members: Antonio Haileselassie, Aishwarya Krishnakumar, Ellen Doll
Description: The Accessibility Community of Practice Industry Outreach and Acquisitions Team works tirelessly to remove barriers in the Federal Workforce by raising awareness within US Federal Government and Industry of the importance of buying and implementing accessible Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates that Federal Agencies buy the most accessible technology that meets their requirements. Since the Government buys more ICT that it builds, it relies on Industry to understand and address the Section 508 standards which define accessibility. The Industry Outreach and Acquisitions Team is the only Government-wide entity that has focused on guiding industry on how to consider these standards in their product development. It has also partnered with the IT Industry Council to assist in the development of training for government and industry on how to build and buy accessible technology.
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Category: Tackling Climate Crisis and Promoting Green Government
The following federal government teams were nominated for identifying avenues and pursuing actions to implement green initiatives within their organization. The nominee has inspired, launched, steered, invested in, or contributed to a meaningful effort to battle climate change in alignment with the Administration’s objectives.
AFWERX Agility Prime
Team Lead: Lt Col Thomas Meagher, Prime Division Chief, Air Force Research Laboratory/AFWERX RGP
Team Members: Lt Col John Tekell
Description: AFWERX is a U.S. Air Force (USAF) program with the goal of fostering a culture of innovation within the service. Agility Prime, launched in April 2020, seeks to partner USAF Subject Matter Experts with commercial companies that are developing hybrid and fully electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircrafts. Agility Prime is strategically positioned to drive a new era of sustainable aviation by partnering with VTOL developers such as Joby Aviation, BETA Technologies, Archer, LIFT Aircraft, Wisk Aero, and many more. The program partners – VTOLs exhibit lower acoustic profiles, zero operating emissions, and address the problems of gridlock and transportation in the commercial market and defense sector. Agility Prime works alongside private investors and research institutes making federal testing opportunities, aviation experts, and government resources available to Air Race companies, all in an effort to transition environmentally-friendly aerospace technology in the commercial and defense sector ensuring that the United States stays at the forefront of the emerging VTOL industry.
National Climate Adaptation Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Team Lead: Janet A. Cushing, Deputy Chief, National Climate Adaptation Science Center, Diversity Change Agent, U.S. Geological Survey
Team Members: Emily Fort
Description: The nominated team works collaboratively with resource managers and decision-makers to develop the science questions related to climate impacts and adaptation, and working together to provide the science to improve decision-making and develop innovative adaptation solutions in managing natural and cultural resources. The Nominee embodies leadership through transparent communication with team members, thinking strategically about the workforce that’s needed to meet the mission of the organization, and building respectful relationships with other internal teams. The legacy and impact of the organization is due to the federal-university partnerships that have developed and grown over the past 10 years with the collective mission of delivering “science to help fish, wildlife, water, land, and people adapt to a changing climate.” The organization is forward-thinking in its approach to conducting climate adaptation science and has revolutionized the way the rest of the agency is starting to conduct research, namely, through a co-production model that focuses on a close partnership between scientist and end-user throughout the research project. This approach ensures that the science is not only actionable but is incorporated into the decision-making process.