House Votes to Reopen Government, Provide Pay Raise

Government Executive | January 03, 2019

House Democrats on Thursday passed two spending bills that would reopen all of government, though Senate Republicans and the White House on the 13th day of the partial government shutdown voiced no interest in bringing the measures across the finish line. On the opening day of the 116th Congress, the House voted on a consolidated package of bipartisan bills that came out of the Republican-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee during the just expired 115th Congress to provide full fiscal 2019 funding for the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce and Justice, as well as a number of independent agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Personnel Management and General Services Administration. It also passed stopgap funding through Feb. 8 for the Homeland Security Department.

Spotlight

FedRAMP was created so that the US government can use the cloud while still protecting systems and data. FedRAMP helps provide clarity for both government agencies and cloud providers so that each knows what is required for cloud use. If you’re a cloud service provider or a government agency wanting to use the cloud, you must demonstrate that you can meet FedRAMP compliance requirements.

Spotlight

FedRAMP was created so that the US government can use the cloud while still protecting systems and data. FedRAMP helps provide clarity for both government agencies and cloud providers so that each knows what is required for cloud use. If you’re a cloud service provider or a government agency wanting to use the cloud, you must demonstrate that you can meet FedRAMP compliance requirements.

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CYBERSECURITY

U.S. Department of Defense Awards Accrete Multi-Million Dollar AI Production OT Software Licensing Contract

Accrete | November 18, 2022

Accrete has secured a five-year multi-million dollar Production Operational Technology (OT) software licensing contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for Argus™, Accrete's highly configurable, dual-use open-source threat detection AI software solution, worth tens of millions of dollars. The exact contract value and deal terms cannot be disclosed per government guidelines. Argus continuously analyzes the open-source web to predict anomalous and nefarious behavior hidden in plain sight. Argus performs work that would otherwise require thousands of intelligence analysts at an estimated cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year in areas critical to national security such as supply chain risk management, vulnerability research, intellectual property theft, social media intelligence, insider threat detection, and anti-money laundering. Argus reads, understands, and learns from an exploding universe of dynamic, unstructured data, including news, blogs, think tank publications, strategy papers, social media chatter, financial filings, microprocessor manuals, and binaries in multiple languages. The AI software automatically extracts, normalizes, and maps relationships between entities, models influence, and surfaces behavioral anomalies indicative of potentially illicit activity that are too complex for humans to identify. "We are at the dawn of an entirely new type of conflict, driven by rapid advances in artificial intelligence. Whereas nuclear proliferation threatened entire populations, AI proliferation individualizes warfare by manipulating targeted groups through digital means. Using AI, bad actors can propagate disinformation to exploit ignorance and weaken civil society causing billions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy, As a prime defense contractor licensing configurable dual-use AI software directly to the DoD, Accrete is in a unique position to scale its business with the Defense, Intelligence, and Special Operations communities, as well as other government and enterprise customers, and bolster national security as well as intelligence competitiveness in previously unimaginable ways." -Prashant Bhuyan, Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Accrete, Inc. In 2020, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter established in collaboration with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to strengthen U.S. national security by accelerating DoD adoption of commercial technology, awarded Accrete with an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) Prototype contract after Accrete outperformed 65 other companies in a competitive review. The DoD accepted the Argus prototype within 15 months, and Accrete worked closely with the DIU and the DoD to transition the OTA Prototype contract into a first-of-its-kind multi-year Production OT AI software licensing deal. William Wall, who leads Accrete’s federal sales subsidiary, Accrete AI Government, and formerly served as a U.S. Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel and with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), said, "We are extremely excited to announce this award, especially as this is the first production OTA that our DoD customer has ever awarded. There are very few start-up technology companies that successfully navigate the extremely challenging OTA process through prototype acceptance and transition into a multi-year production OT software licensing agreement. Our success is a testament to the efficacy, scalability, and configurability of our AI technology and, more importantly, to our employees' relentless focus on providing solutions that are tightly aligned with end-user requirements. As we continue to scale, Accrete looks forward to providing its growing customer base with powerful dual-use AI solutions that not only drive efficiency through the automation of analytical work but also produce mission-critical insights beyond human capacity.” Zachary Smith, Accrete AI Government’s Program Manager and retired special agent who spent most of his 23-year Air Force career focused on countering human, technical, and cyber-based threats, observed, "Based on Argus' blazing speed and scale, in seconds, analysts will be able to research and visualize complex relationships that would have taken at least a month of steady research and annotation. Within the framework of the DoD's acquisition risk review process, Argus will enable supply chain risk analysis to be more efficient and effective while delivering enhanced value at a lower cost per insight." Accrete's continuously learning AI technology enables the templatization of analytical workflows. Templates such as Argus for Threat Detection learn from sparse data and are configurable for use cases including supply chain influence, social media intelligence, reverse engineering, and logistics disruption for both government and commercial customers. In addition to helping the DoD predict bad actors that may be intentionally obscuring identities to influence the supply chain, Argus has also been enabling the U.S. Air Force to reverse engineer binaries from microprocessor manuals to detect vulnerabilities in firmware. Accrete’s dual-use AI solutions have also been proven in industry, including media and entertainment companies automating talent scouting to predict emerging talent from social chatter; insurance brokers automating lead generation to find the shortest path to the hottest lead; private equity and venture firms automating pitch deck review through smart table extraction; and automobile dealerships automating the writing of marketing content. About Accrete: Accrete's mission is to create AI so powerful that it amplifies human reasoning and enables government entities and commercial enterprises to grow in previously unimaginable ways. Accrete, founded in 2017, delivers configurable dual-use AI solutions that automate complex analytical work for both government and enterprise customers with a focus on defense, intelligence, and cybersecurity. Accrete has 128 employees globally and is headquartered in Lower Manhattan with offices in Alexandria, Va. and Wellesley, Mass.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY,CYBERSECURITY

AXON CLOUD UPGRADED TO HIGHEST LEVEL OF SECURITY STATUS BY US GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION

AXON | December 21, 2022

Axon Enterprise Inc. the global public safety technology leader, achieved high impact status by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Joint Authorization Board (JAB) for its cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. This change will allow Axon's government customers to store the most sensitive, un-classified data handled by federal civilian agencies. This status upgrade allows US government customers to safely leverage the Axon network with full trust, backed by FedRAMP's highest impact level of security. Axon's cloud-based SaaS solutions enable workflows for digital evidence management, situational awareness, and records management. Previously, Axon's FedRAMP status was moderate level impact. "We are proud to be leaders in data security, which is an ongoing challenge across the federal sector. There is a constant need to ensure sensitive information is protected across agencies and administrations as the government securely conducts business, Axon is proud to serve the US government in this capacity and we continue to deepen our trusted relationships with federal agencies who see the value in our products, mission and commitment to law enforcement and communities." Richard Coleman, Axon Vice President and General Manager of Federal Sector. The Axon FedCloud system, which is the SaaS cloud-based solution that has received high impact status, operates as an isolated region of Axon Cloud Services that is dedicated to the US Federal community. US Axon FedCloud offerings include Axon Evidence, Axon Respond, and Axon Records, and also acts as the core control center over Axon devices and client applications. Axon FedCloud is currently being used by many agencies across the federal sector, including the United States Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of Interior ABOUT AXON FEDCLOUD SYSTEM Axon FedCloud enables cloud-based workflows for digital evidence management, situational awareness, and records management to support the operational needs of agencies. The system operates as an isolated region of Axon Cloud Services that is dedicated to the US Federal community. US Axon FedCloud offerings include Axon Evidence, Axon Respond, and Axon Records while also acting as the core control center over Axon devices and client applications. These devices and client applications include in-car camera systems, body-worn cameras, TASER devices, Axon Interview Room, and Axon Upload XT. Axon Evidence acts as a central repository for customers' digital evidence and a central management console for Axon products and devices. With expansive ingest, smooth playback, and intuitive search, Axon Evidence makes it simple to connect and manage growing stores of data—video, photos, documents and more—in a single, secure system. Axon Respond is a real-time operations platform which integrates real-time situational awareness and unified communications within a modern incident management solution. Gathering data from sensors in the field, agencies are empowered to know when events occur before it's voiced through traditional contact methods and rapidly coordinate responses with a unified communications platform. Axon Records harnesses the power of automation to save countless hours in the report writing, submission, and review process, helping agencies get more efficiency by breaking down data silos. With direct access to body-worn camera, in-car and citizen-captured video footage, documents, images, and more, reports can be created faster. Critical evidence can be easily shared to remove the wall between digital evidence and reports. ABOUT AXON Axon is a technology leader in global public safety. Our moonshot goal in the US is to cut gun-related deaths between police and the public by 50% before 2033. Axon is building the public safety operating system of the future by integrating a suite of hardware devices and cloud software solutions that lead modern policing. Axon's suite includes TASER energy devices, body-worn cameras, in-car cameras, cloud-hosted digital evidence management solutions, productivity software and real-time operations capabilities. Axon's growing global customer base includes first responders across international, federal, state and local law enforcement, fire, corrections and emergency medical services, as well as the justice sector, commercial enterprises and consumers. ABOUT FEDRAMP FedRAMP is a US Federal program that standardizes the assessment and authorization process for companies that are looking to provide cloud-based services to US Federal agencies. This standardization allows for a "do once, repeat many" process that agencies can leverage to reduce rework of security assessments, authorizations, and continuous monitoring. The efficiency gains from this process allow for smoother federal procurement and facilitate modernization efforts.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Germany to Create Its First Quantum Computing Business Cloud

Germany Trade & Invest | November 14, 2022

Germany's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) has contracted software company QMWare and cloud specialist IONOS, together with the University of Stuttgart and the Fraunhofer FOKUS research institute, to construct a platform for quantum computing applications for German industry. The cloud will be the first of its kind in the country. The project, called SeQenC, will run for three years and is part of the ministry's "Digital Technologies for Business" support program. The ministry will be investing tens of millions of euros, although no exact figure was named. During the project's three-year span, selected partner companies from industry and the wider economy will be invited to test out applications in sectors such as telecommunications, logistics, finance, automotive and energy. The project is the latest in a series of quantum computing initiating to come from the BMWK. In late September, the ministry announced that it would put EUR 14 million into a quantum processer prototype developed on the basis of photonic systems. The BMWK has pledged to invest EUR 740 million in quantum computing as a whole. "The German government's investment indicate how serious it is about quantum computing in Germany, Such initiatives not only create superior conditions for businesses active in Germany. They also show that niches are arising for international quantum computing businesses to come to Europe's largest economy and profit from this exciting transformation." -Asha-Maria Sharma, computing industry expert at the German government agency Germany Trade & Invest. Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) is the economic promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. GTAI supports German companies setting up in foreign markets, promotes Germany as a business location and assists foreign companies setting up shop in Germany.

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