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The Federal Government’s Broadening Embrace of Data Science

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Data Society       
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    August 2022               
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As data science capabilities continue to prove their mettle across industries, they are also increasingly positioned at the center of legislative mandates for federal government agencies. In addition, the rising prominence of data science, AI, and ML has spawned an uptick in government initiatives that encourage the adoption and expansion of these technologies across agencies and promote the responsible, equitable, and effective management of data in service of national security and the public interest. Let’s explore some drivers of the public sector’s demand for data science training.

Government Investment in AI

artificial intelligence in federal government

The urgency surrounding the federal government’s push to boost AI advances in the federal workforce is reflected in the surge of funding to support the development and deployment of this technology across agencies. A key finding in Deltek’s Federal Artificial Intelligence Landscape, 2022 notes:

Identifiable federal spending on artificial intelligence rose to nearly $1B in FY2020, up 50% from FY2018, making it one of the fastest growing emerging technology investment areas.

The report further states that this infusion of resources into AI adoption extends beyond the halls of scientifically-oriented institutions into agencies such as the Departments of Justice, Transportation, and State. 

Legislative Support for AI Training 

The US Senate approved the AI Workforce Training Act in December 2021, and the bill’s House counterpart was introduced this May. This legislation would require the Office of Management and Budget director to implement a training program that informs decision-making among government staff responsible for procuring AI technologies. By ensuring these employees have an adequate understanding of these tools, such training would help mitigate the ethical and security issues surrounding their applications.

AI’s Critical Role in US National Security

Just as private enterprises must keep pace with advances in data science tools and techniques to remain competitive in the business world, national governments must do likewise to stay competitive—and secure—on the geopolitical stage. Many of the most vital contributions that data science and AI/ML technologies make in the government sector are on the national security front. 

Recent bills, such as the Artificial Intelligence for the Military (AIM) Act, one of two pieces of legislation Senators Portman and Heinrich of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus introduced to promote AI preparedness that passed as part of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This bill would require Pentagon military and civilian leaders to train in AI and related national security issues. Such measures reflect current administrative priorities and national security concerns, not least of which is a mounting competition with China in the quest for superior AI empowerment.     

The final report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence emphasized a dire need for digital talent, among other critical challenges the US faces in sufficiently ramping up AI capabilities to meet national security requirements. 

national security

The artificial intelligence (AI) competition will not be won by the side with the best technology. It will be won by the side with the best, most diverse and tech-savvy talent.

Data Society Serves Government Workforces

federal workforce

Data Society has supported—and will continue to support—government agencies in their efforts to equip their workforces for the opportunities and challenges accompanying data science technologies and related mandates. Providing training and solutions, we offer comprehensive environments to upskill and tools to boost operational efficiency and drive informed decision-making. In our service to government agencies, we have worked with agencies ranging from NASA and the US Courts to the Library of Congress. 

Our tailored data science pathways offer 225 classes in two- to eight-hour increments that cover subjects ranging from introductory R to deep learning and UX design. Through our customer-centric training programs, we deliver customized curricula in a variety of formats to accommodate learners representing a vast range of skill levels, agencies, and roles. Our options for learning environments include flipped classrooms and virtual instructor-led, in-person, and self-paced programs, and our courses culminate in capstone projects that give learners opportunities to apply their new skills to real-world challenges they face in their work.

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