AI in Government Act of 2019 (S 1363, 116th Congress)

Policy Details

Policy Details

Originating Entity
Last Action
Approved by Senate committee
Date of Last Action
Nov 6 2019
Congressional Session
116th Congress
Date Introduced
May 8 2019
Publication Date
Jan 7 2020

SciPol Summary

This bill aims to support the innovation, expertise, and application of AI systems throughout the federal government. The first main provision of this bill includes the establishment of the “AI Center of Excellence” within the General Services Administration (GSA) which will serve as a hub for convening and disseminating AI expertise to the government. The second provision convenes members of the GSA and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop and coordinate plans for implementing and/or improving the application of AI systems throughout the government. Another provision calls for the creation of an AI advisory board for the GSA’s AI Center of Excellence. Finally, the bill’s final provision requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to run a series of occupational training workshops to disseminate key skills and competencies the Office identifies as relevant to AI.

Specific duties of the AI Center of Excellence are further explained in the bill’s third section, including:

  • Convening AI stakeholders from government agencies, laboratories, nonprofits, academia, and industry to organize and disseminate information about new AI research and developments as well as educational and workforce opportunities.
  • Advise government procurement and plans of use for AI systems.
  • Assisting the government’s use and management of data used and produced by its AI systems.
  • Reporting on-going trends and challenges of the economics, policies, law, and ethics of AI systems’ use by the government.
  • Assisting with organizing collaborations among AI stakeholders including Federal, State, and private entities.

Staffing for the AI Center of Excellence will be provided by the GSA and will include full-time, temporary, and fellowship positions. Members of the Center may also be detailed to specific agencies to assist with their efforts. Further, the Center will also publish an annual report to Congress detailing the Center’s activities, AI efforts throughout the government, and recommendations. Finally, the Center will also absorb the staff, responsibilities, and authorities of the Emerging Citizen Technology Office within the GSA.

In its fourth section, the bill outlines provisions related to agency plans for the development and implementation of AI systems. First, the GSA, with the OMB and other relevant AI stakeholders, will issue a memo to all Federal agencies outlining available and on-going AI systems capable of improving the efficiency of each agency’s work. This memo will also address ways in which agencies can remove barriers to the use of AI systems and incorporate best practices for AI systems in their work. Finally, the memo will include a template of an implementation plan for each agency to complete and explain how it will develop and implement AI systems in its work going forward. These plans will be organized and published to the public by the GSA and OMB for feedback and transparency.

The bill’s fifth section stipulates that the GSA will create an advisory board for the AI Center of Excellence. This board includes members from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Department of Commerce, other agencies designated by the GSA, and members from the private AI sectors including academia, industry, and public interest groups. This advisory board would meet at least once per year and publish a list of recommendations for the continued implementation of AI systems in the government.

The last substantive provision of the bill is outlined in its sixth section. Here, the OPM is directed to organize and facilitate a series of educational and occupational workshops to educate the Federal workforce on pertinent AI skills and considerations for the implementation of the AI system plans described above.

SciPol Summary authored by