US may become majority source for China’s crude imports after trade deal

ICIS | January 20, 2020

The first phase trade deal between the US and China will need China to heavily expand purchases of US crude oil, and that could mean potentially over 60% of China’s additional crude imports in 2020 will be grabbed by the US, according to ICIS analysts. Under the phase one deal signed on Wednesday, China will increase imports of US energy products by $52.4bn in two years, with around 35% ($18.5bn) for 2020 and some 65% ($33.9bn) for 2021. That gives energy a share of 26% in the total $200bn of additional imports China has committed to purchase.

Spotlight

The cloud is changing the way government operates. It is enabling agencies to move away from traditional, on-premises IT models to a more modern, cloud-based approach. This shift is not only improving efficiency and reducing costs, but it is also helping agencies to better serve the public.

Spotlight

The cloud is changing the way government operates. It is enabling agencies to move away from traditional, on-premises IT models to a more modern, cloud-based approach. This shift is not only improving efficiency and reducing costs, but it is also helping agencies to better serve the public.

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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

IBM to Acquire Octo

IBM | December 08, 2022

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an agreement to acquire Octo, a U.S.-based IT modernization and digital transformation services provider exclusively serving the U.S. federal government, including defense, health, and civilian agencies. IBM's acquisition of Octo establishes one of the largest digital transformation partners to the federal government. Upon the close of the acquisition, Octo's approximately 1,500 employees will join IBM Consulting's U.S. public and federal market organization. Octo will be IBM's eighth acquisition of 2022. Since Arvind Krishna became CEO of IBM in April 2020, IBM has acquired more than 25 companies, bolstering its hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Today's news builds on prior IBM Consulting acquisitions, including Dialexa, Neudesic, and Taos. Federal government agencies face significant challenges including technology skills shortages, rebuilding of U.S. domestic supply chains and more demand for citizen services. To address these complex challenges, agencies need an industry partner to help them navigate a scalable path to IT modernization with the power to leverage emerging technologies and applications, optimize costs and operational efficiencies, and improve security. The convergence of new hybrid cloud and AI technologies enables government to deliver rapid improvements and adapt to unprecedented challenges. The acquisition of Reston, Va.-based Octo will complement IBM's existing strengths in IT modernization and digital transformation, enhancing its ability to support federal agencies with a flexible, modern approach to digital transformation and growing IBM Consulting's public and federal market organization to 4,200 highly-skilled employees. With a proven track record of enabling rapid IT modernization and seamless citizen engagement, Octo also brings deep federal mission experience, as well as certifications in the technologies most used across the federal government. "Governments require agility and resiliency to meet the evolving needs of citizens directly and in real time," said John Granger, Senior Vice President of IBM Consulting. "The combination of Octo's highly qualified and respected team with IBM's consulting expertise, technical capabilities and strategic partner ecosystem will enable federal clients to transform faster and better serve citizens." Building on a shared commitment to co-creation, oLabs, Octo's 14,000 square foot innovation center with in-house computing capability, expands IBM's ability to work collaboratively with federal agencies to rapidly prototype emerging technology solutions – enabling greater impact for federal agencies and the people they serve. "Octo was founded on the belief that digital transformation could be delivered at scale to modernize the federal government's approach to today's most pressing challenges – from public healthcare to national security, to defense and intelligence," said Mehul Sanghani, Chief Executive Officer of Octo. "Today, we are excited to join forces with IBM to continue to deliver these digital transformation capabilities with greater reach and scale." IBM's acquisition of Octo from Arlington Capital Partners is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. About IBM IBM is a leading provider of global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting expertise. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. More than 4,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM's breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and consulting deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM's legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service. Visit www.ibm.com for more information.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Nok Nok and UberEther Partner to Deliver Phishing-Resistant MFA Fedramp-Certified IAM Solutions to Protect the US Federal Government and its Supplier

nok nok | November 30, 2022

Nok Nok, a leader in FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) authentication solutions and a founder of the FIDO Alliance, today announced it is partnering with UberEther, a leading provider of identity and access management solutions to the federal government. Together they will extend FedRAMP certification of UberEther's IAM Advantage platform with innovative cybersecurity capabilities requested by some of the world’s highest-profile agencies and organizations. FedRAMP’s standards-based approach to security assessment and authorization enables federal agencies, customers, and their suppliers to transition from insecure legacy IT infrastructure to mission-enabling, secure, and continuously-monitored cloud solutions with an increased focus on securing and protecting federal information. UberEther’s IAM Advantage model is FedRAMP High and DoD Impact Level 5 ready, which means that even the most closely monitored companies can run their identity in the cloud more securely, efficiently, and effectively. Once UberEther is fully FedRAMP authorized, it will have one of the only private-tenant, cloud identity solutions available in the federal marketplace that government agencies use to find compliant, FedRAMP-approved cloud services. This designation builds on UberEther’s highest commitment to security standards. “Nok Nok is very honored to partner with UberEther to deliver trusted IAM solutions to the largest government agencies with built-in next-level MFA that meets the highest levels of security, Nok Nok’s FIDO authentication solutions add key features and benefits per the federal mandate in the White House’s 2021 Cybersecurity Executive Order that defines how the government will lead by example in adopting best of breed cybersecurity capabilities. Nok Nok and UberEther’s partnership adds new innovation to mandated FedRAMP solutions that enables government agencies and their supplier networks to become phishing-resistant and therefore more secure, while also becoming easier to use.” -Phillip Dunkelberger CEO Nok Nok. At UberEther, we're extremely excited to be working with Nok Nok on this opportunity to bring phishing-resistant credentials to the federal government, said Matt Topper, President and CEO, UberEther. We're not only focused on enabling citizens and partners of the federal government to connect to services more securely, but we're also enabling service members, civilians, government employees, and contractors to work with mission-critical systems more easily. We all know that zero trust is the future of security within the federal government and worldwide, and identity is the first pillar of zero trust that we need to protect the nation. With Nok Nok inside, government agencies and their suppliers will be able to offer more secure sign-in and a great user experience that's better than anything we've been able to provide before, continued Topper. “I am excited about the future that Nok Nok and UberEther are creating. With FIDO passkeys built into device hardware and software applications, and now FedRAMP standards incorporating phishing-resistant MFA, we are keeping our nation’s networks safe along with the agencies, partners, civilians, and government employees who use these networks”. -Robert Lentz, a member of Nok Nok’s Board of Advisors and who served our nation as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and the first Chief Information Security Officer for the Department of Defense. About UberEther: UberEther effectively builds and efficiently runs the security, identity, and access management services that protect many of our nation’s most critical assets. Identity is the core foundation for secure services in every organization, and we pride ourselves on protecting it. Our established and dependable UberEther team delivers identity solutions for some of the most trusted government agencies and supplier networks. Since 2009, the UberEther team has been building simple, secure, sustainable customer solutions for local and Federal Government agencies and within the Intelligence Community. We are passionate about using technology to solve problems, and we use this passion to prove innovative solutions on our own time before bringing these innovations to our customers. Our diverse background of development, integration, and operations skills allows our team to take into account all aspects of a solution and ensure that what works great in the lab will excel in production. About Nok Nok: Nok Nok is a global leader in passwordless customer authentication. Delivering the most innovative FIDO solutions for the authentication market today, Nok Nok empowers global organizations to dramatically improve their user experience and security, and reduce operating expenses while meeting the most advanced privacy and regulatory requirements. The Nok Nok™ S3 Authentication Suite integrates into existing security environments to deliver proven, FIDO-enabled passwordless customer authentication. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, the company has delivered unique inventions and innovations protected by a robust global patent portfolio. As a founder of the FIDO Alliance and an innovator of FIDO standards, Nok Nok is an expert in next-level, multi factor authentication. Global customers trust their customer authentications with Nok Nok’s S3 Suite for their user registrations, sign-ins, and payment confirmations. Nok Nok’s customers and partners include Verizon, Intuit, T-Mobile, BBVA, NTT DOCOMO, NTT DATA, MUFG Bank, AFLAC Japan, Standard Bank, Fujitsu Limited, and Hitachi.

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