Pentagon adopts new ethical principles for using AI in war

Pentagon | February 24, 2020

The Pentagon is adopting new ethical principles as it prepares to accelerate its use of artificial intelligence technology on the battlefield. The new principles call for people to "exercise appropriate levels of judgment and care" when deploying and using AI systems, such as those that scan aerial imagery to look for targets. They also say decisions made by automated systems should be “traceable" and “governable," which means “there has to be a way to disengage or deactivate” them if they are demonstrating unintended behavior, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, director of the Pentagon's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

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From health care reform to paid leave, major legislation on such issues at the federal level may be far off as Congress likely pivots its focus to tax reform and a government spending bill. With the federal regulatory picture uncertain, many state and local governments are moving ahead with their own legislation to advance such initiatives in their communities.


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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Veteran-Owned Startup Awarded Multi-Year Federal Task Order for Cybersecurity

Aquia Inc | January 04, 2022

Aquia Inc., a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in cloud and cybersecurity professional services, announced today that it has joined the RevaComm team on a five-year contract with Government Services Administration (GSA) supporting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the Office of Information Technology's Continuous Authorization and Verification Engine (batCAVE) initiative. CMS is the largest agency in the federal government by expenditure and is responsible for the personally identifiable and personal health information for more than 177 million people. In partnership with RevaComm, Aquia will develop and lead the following programs for CMS: Platform Security: Aquia is responsible for security engineering and architecture in support of batCAVE Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) development, including guardrail development & integration, Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) & pipeline security, and development of DevSecOps tooling & automation. These efforts will help to shift security left and ensure the security and compliance of cloud-based application environments for CMS Application Development Organizations (ADO)'s. Purple Team: Aquia will be providing joint offensive (Red) and defensive (Blue) cybersecurity capabilities, otherwise known as a Purple Team. This team will be focused on identifying, exploiting and remediating security vulnerabilities related to the batCAVE platform, ensuring a robust and resilient platform for CMS stakeholders. Compliance Automation: Aquia will use innovative technology to support and foster a culture of Continuous Compliance and Governance with the goal of moving towards a Continuous Authority-to-Operate (cATO) for batCAVE platform. David Maskeroni, Aquia's Chief Executive Officer, had this to say when discussing the batCAVE initiative, "This is a great opportunity to bring cloud-based application delivery to the Federal Civilian government, with security baked into the very heart of the initiative. We are very proud to be a critical member of this team." About Aquia Inc. Aquia Inc. is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business based in Millsboro, DE. Aquia is a developer-centric company founded in 2021 by military veterans with passion for the intersection of security/velocity and decades of experience driving transformational change across public sector, enterprise and top-tier technology companies. At Aquia, we value trust, accountability, transparency and diversity; and we've built these tenants into the DNA of our company.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Aminad and Axiom Sponsor Veteran-Owned Emerging Firms for Public Spend Forum's GovMarket Growth Hub

Public Spend Forum | May 19, 2022

Public Spend Forum (PSF), a market intelligence data, advisory and community platform for public sector buyers and diverse/emerging suppliers, is excited to announce a sponsorship by Aminad Consulting and Axiom Consultants for its GovMarket Growth Hub, specifically focused on Veteran-Owned Firms. Both Axiom and Aminad are fast growing, minority-owned small businesses that serve multiple federal agencies through their expertise driven consulting services in operations and technology. They join a growing list of sponsors and large corporate clients supporting emerging and diverse small businesses through Public Spend Forum's Growth Hub. The Growth Hub is focused on helping diverse and underserved businesses accelerate innovation and growth so they can become more resilient, create more jobs in their communities and drive more impact for government missions. "We're excited to see two amazing small businesses supporting our veterans and giving back through these sponsorships," said Raj Sharma. "They are really setting an example of leadership and how we can all work together to create positive impact for government and small businesses." As part of the sponsorships, up to 20 Veteran-Owned Companies will join Public Spend Forum's Growth Hub and get: Membership into PSF's Open Global Community including its Buyer/Supplier Councils AI-enabled Opportunity and Customer Matching subscription, through PSF's GovShop market intelligence platform Access to strategy, sales and human performance coaching designed to help small businesses accelerate their growth Veteran-owned companies focused broadly within the IT sector, especially bringing AI, cloud computing and cyber solutions are encouraged to apply through a simple, three question application process. Aminad Consulting believes deeply in the power of small business, as well as the high potential of Veteran-Owned businesses. Any opportunity to provide coaching and mentorship to those communities fulfills Aminad's vision of unlocking full potential and making lasting and positive impacts on people's lives." Lido Ramadan, Founder and President of Aminad Consulting "Axiom Consultants believes in Paying It Forward. As we receive mentorship from PSF's network of leaders and experts to help shape us as business leaders and catapult our company to the next level, we would like to pass on our lessons learned and nurture emerging younger companies who have high-potential of growth," said Bhavana Rakesh, CEO of Axiom Consultants. About Public Spend Forum Public Spend Forum (PSF) is a market intelligence data, community and advisory platform to help government buyers and emerging/diverse small businesses connect, collaborate and accelerate impact together. Our purpose is to accelerate impact for government missions while driving growth for diverse and emerging small businesses by lowering barriers, increasing market visibility and enabling access. We do this through AI-enabled market data, growth and market intelligence advisory services, and an open buyer/supplier community. About Aminad Consulting Aminad is an innovative small-business management consulting firm dedicated to generating realistic and implementable change. We work with Federal agencies, with a specific focus on the Department of Defense, and we have a track record of delivering results within the Federal government. About Axiom Consultants To accelerate their mission with actionable insights, organizations must embrace intelligent, tech-enabled systems across every facet of their business. Axiom Consultants thrives in developing purposeful solutions that are customer-focused and mission-driven, modernizing and accelerating innovation for our Federal Customers. Our solutions are based on a culture of quality and continuous improvement. Axiom takes center stage with best-in-class, data-driven solutions. Axiom enables its clients to improve their IT modernization capabilities by rendering top-of-the-line consultancy services to adopt emerging technologies, Cloud, cybersecurity, business transformation, and other solutions.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

iQor Earns Government Safety Seal in Santa Rosa

iQor | April 07, 2022

The Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has recognized iQor Santa Rosa with the Government Safety Seal Certification for the BPO sector in the province of Laguna. This is the second such certification for iQor, which was the first BPO to receive this recognition in Region 4A (Calabarzon Region) when iQor Dasmarinas received the certification. Companies in the manufacturing, utilities, and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries are eligible for the certification based on compliance with government health and safety standards. This is the second iQor contact center the Philippines government has recognized with a Safety Seal Certification. It celebrates the importance we place on ensuring the health and safety of our employees. Our teams are committed to working together to create a safe and rewarding work environment that employees look forward to being a part of each day.” Gary Praznik, iQor President and CEO iQor, a managed services provider of customer engagement and technology-enabled BPO solutions, is committed to complying with all government health and safety standards to safeguard employees and to deliver consistent and reliable service to clients. With the power of technology and automation, iQor distributes the health checklist and monitors vaccination status to ensure only those who are vaccinated enter iQor facilities. “iQor has ongoing investments to create safe work environments,” said Fleurette Navarro, iQor senior vice president of global recruitment and Philippines human resources. “We collaborate throughout our organization to create excellent experiences for our employees. This certification recognizes the work we have done from the start of the pandemic to adhere to health and safety protocols to ensure the wellbeing of all employees.” The certification was presented to iQor by Attorney Nepomuceno A. Leaño, II, OIC assistant regional director DOLE IV-A; and Deah Celeste Tercias, senior labor employment officer, DOLE Laguna. iQor has 16 contact centers in the Philippines archipelago in Cavite, Davao, Iloilo, Laguna, Negros Occidental, Pampanga, and Quezon City. About iQor iQor is a managed services provider of customer engagement and technology-enabled business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions comprised of 35,000 amazing employees spanning 10 countries. We are passionate about delivering an outstanding omnichannel customer experience for brands across the globe. Harnessing intelligent CX technology that can scale teams anywhere, our BPO solutions create happy employees and delighted customers. Our irresistible culture results in a smile with each interaction to create optimal customer experiences. We enable diverse teams to scale our BPO digital solutions from local to global to create the CX experience brands demand to win and keep customers.

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CYBERSECURITY

New Black Kite Research Reveals Top 100 U.S. Defense Contractors at Risk for Ransomware Attack

Black Kite | May 26, 2022

Black Kite, the leader in third-party cyber risk intelligence, released Centralizing Supply Chain Cybersecurity: U.S. Federal Government Risk in 2022, which finds cyber risks for top defense contractors are rising. Most notably, 72% of contractors have had at least one leaked credential in the last 90 days – a 71% increase from six months ago. "In today’s geopolitical landscape, the federal sector is under constant threat of cyberattack. There’s a heightened sense of urgency to protect critical infrastructure and the nation -- but hackers across the globe are getting better at flying under the radar. Some of the most critical federal agencies are unprotected, which leaves our country vulnerable and at risk. Our latest research highlights the need for better third-party cyber risk intelligence, and where to start today.” Bob Maley, CSO of Black Kite Black Kite Research analyzed the top 100 U.S. defense contractors’ overall cyber hygiene, including susceptibility to ransomware attacks, and compared the data against its 2021 report. In addition to the alarming increase in leaked credentials, key findings include: The cyber posture of defense contractors in critical technical categories (such as credential management, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) / Transport Layer Security (TLS), and strength and application security) is dangerously low. Nearly half (46%) of defense contractors are three times more likely to experience a cyber breach than those with “A” technical ratings (on a scale from A to F). 32% are vulnerable to ransomware attacks such as phishing – and 20% of agencies examined in last year’s report are still vulnerable, meaning quick improvement is critical. 17% utilize out-of-date systems, creating a critical vulnerability for ransomware attacks. According to a survey of government organizations by Sophos, 40% of central government and 34% of local government organizations experienced a ransomware attack in the past year. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Division recently issued Private Industry Notification finds “ransomware attacks against local government entities are especially significant due to the public’s dependency on critical utilities, emergency services, educational facilities, and other services overseen by local governments.” With the government being one of the largest holders of personal identifying information (PII), these entities are desirable targets for cyber criminals. “Government agencies are prime targets for hackers due to the sheer amount of data they possess. It’s a virtual candy store for those with malicious intent,” said Jeffrey Wheatman, SVP and Cyber Risk Evangelist (CRE) of Black Kite. “Understanding third-party susceptibility to cyber threats must come first as contractors look to reduce their risk. At Black Kite, we’re committed to helping the most critical agencies safeguard their data – and in doing so – safeguard the information of all citizens.” Black Kite provides third-party cyber risk intelligence from a technical, financial, and compliance perspective to eliminate false positives and ensure a holistic approach to vendor risk management. In addition to Centralizing Supply Chain Cybersecurity: U.S. Federal Government Risk in 2022, Black Kite issues an annual Third-Party Breach Report as well as regular risk assessment reports on the automotive manufacturing, energy and insurance sectors. About Black Kite One in four organizations suffered from a cyber attack in the last year, resulting in production, reputation and financial losses. The real problem is adversaries attack companies via third parties, island-hopping their way into target organizations. At Black Kite, we're redefining vendor risk management with the world’s first global third-party cyber risk monitoring platform, built from a hacker's perspective. With 350+ customers across the globe and counting, we're committed to improving the health and safety of the entire planet's cyber ecosystem with the industry’s most accurate and comprehensive cyber intelligence. While other security ratings service (SRS) providers try to narrow the scope, Black Kite provides the only standards-based cyber risk assessments that analyze your supply chain's cybersecurity posture from three critical dimensions: technical, financial and compliance.

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