Inter-agency Emerging Citizen Technologies Meeting

February 14, 2018, 10:30-12:00
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20408
Innovation Hub

Interagency Agenda

Participating Agencies and Offices

Broadcasting Board of Governors Federal Bureau of Investigation
California Public Employee’s Retirement System Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Department of Agriculture Federal Maritime Commission
Department of Agriculture Forest Service General Services Administration
Department of the Army Library of Congress
Department of Commerce Millennium Challenge Corporation
Department of Defense Defense Information Systems Agency Montgomery County Government
Department of Defense National Defense University National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Department of Education National Center for Education Research
Department of Energy National Credit Union Administration
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
Department of HHS Center for Medicare National Science Foundation
Department of HHS National Institutes of Health Northern California Regional Intelligence Center
Department of Homeland Security Railroad Retirement Board Office of Inspector General
Department of Housing and Urban Development U.S. Agency for International Development
Department of Interior National Park Service U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Department of Justice U.S. Census Bureau
Department of the Navy U.S. Courts
Department of State U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Department of Social Security Administration U.S. Energy Information Administration
Department of Transportation U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Department of the Treasury U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal Service U.S. House Subcommittee on Information Technology
Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Department of Veterans Affairs Voice of America
District of Columbia Department of General Services White House Office of Management and Budget
Export-Import Bank of the United States  

Meeting Notes

Welcome and Introductions, Justin Herman, GSA

U.S. Emerging Citizen Technology Atlas Update

  • Emerging Technologies Pathways to Acquisition, Kelly Pippin, GSA FAS
    • Update on new “Paths to Acquisition” resource (Kelly Pippin, GSA Federal Acquisition Services) for the Business of Federal Emerging Technologies that will help businesses demystify working with the federal government, and help agencies evaluate options across government to pilot and acquire emerging tech.
    • Main pathways include:
      • GSA Schedules, IDVs, OTAs,, JVPs (through a National Technical Information Service program).
      • If you have other pathways to suggest please email
    • We’ve introduced a simpler structure and accompanying neural graph to make the process easier to understand for small businesses who have not done business with federal government before.
    • Action Item: The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) will be submitted for final approvals this coming week.

Inter-agency Initiatives Updates

  • ‘100 Leader Initiative’:
    • Briefing by Sherri Sokol, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)
    • The “100 Emerging Tech Leader Initiative” is Phase 2 of government-wide emerging technology support and coordination
    • It involves the further decentralization of our government-wide emerging technology support programs and establishes more targeted programs for individual focus on Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Virtual/Augmented Reality and more.
    • In order to maintain this volunteer organizational structure we will need practically 100 new federal leaders to step forward and coordinate – hence the name.
    • Action Item: For the ‘100 Leader Initiative’ we will need to determine:
      • Subtopics
      • Scope
      • Managers
      • Stakeholders
      • Use cases
      • Program status
      • Goals
      • Reporting structure
      • Performance metrics
    • Action Item: National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) is looking to collaborate on open data initiatives. They will work with DISA to collaborate on blockchain and develop a working group.
    • Action Item: Please submit events for the Event Calendar to
  • NewTech10 data calls:
  • The NewTech10 is a monthly snapshot based on 10 questions on the emerging technology pilots, programs, and mission needs across government.
  • We will anonymize and publish results in the Atlas to inform stakeholders and demystify emerging technologies in the federal government.
  • Action Item: Submit your questions for the NewTech10 to
  • Venture Capital Advisory Group Initiative:
    • Briefing by Molly Cain and Jennifer Hoover, Department of Homeland Security Venture, Innovation and Engagement (VICE) #InnovateDHS
    • The VC Advisory Group will help us work better with the VC community to help us keep tabs on what will be coming up in the future, including streamlining the proof-of-concept process, the procurement process, pour fuel on existing programs that are under-served but deserve more attention.
    • Four prominent venture capitalists have already expressed interest.
    • We are targeting a meeting in April of May.
    • Action Item: Organize group for an “innovation roadshow” in April or May.
    • Action Item: Invite In-Q-Tel to present portfolio and capabilities to group.
  • Academic Research Outreach Initiative
    • Briefing by Ann Meceda, State Department
    • We are stepping up to take point on helping coordinate requests and opportunities to collaborate with the leading U.S. academic research facilities.
    • Action Item: Build Academic Research Outreach homepage on the Atlas
    • Action Item: Send Ann Meceda ( potential research topics or connections to others looking to develop research initiatives in the ECTO group and shape the research section.
    • Action Item: DHS and State Department will discuss connecting Venture Capitalists to Professors and Academics on these topics.
  • Training and Education Initiative
    • We are talking to organizations to develop training and education programs around emerging technologies.
    • We are also targeting non-technical leaders, acquisition professionals, and others in the leadership community to champion these initiatives.
    • We are piloting a new training and education initiative this quarter.
  • General Updates:
    • Action Item: ECTO team will be creating landing pages on the Atlas for each new initiative.
    • Action Item: ECTO team will be creating a process template to determine needs, responsibilities, and logistics for each initiative.
    • Action Item: If you want to start an initiative, send an email to

Communities and Pilots Update and Discussion

  • Artificial Intelligence
    • We need to expand Artificial Intelligence content on the Atlas beyond simple chatbots and intelligence personal assistants to a fuller breadth and depth of federal AI programs.
    • Action Item: Tasking this expansion to new inter-agency AI working group.
    • Continuing dialog on negotiating Terms of Service (ToS) for AI programs and digital capabilities
    • Action Item: Invite representatives from the Office of General Counsel to our next meeting to discuss legal aspects of emerging technology initiatives.
    • Action Item: Invite representatives from Federal Privacy Council to discuss privacy aspects of emerging technology.
  • GSA Robotic Process Automation Center presentation
    • Briefing by Ed Burrows, GSA Office of the Chief Financial Officer
    • The concept of Robotic Process Automation, as applied to the two current GSA pilots, is that it mimics manual processes (e.g. keystrokes).
    • However, there is an issue that when identifying candidates for automation, people are only thinking about what they currently do and not what they could be doing if they had this technology.
    • Robotic Process Automation is versatile in moving files, extracting data from documents, etc.
    • For example, in cash reconciliation in the finance industry, robotics allows you to check every cash entry at once with 100 percent accuracy, allowing you to be more thorough and faster.
    • Once you have the platform established, the incremental cost of employing robots is low. You can implement several processes on a robot since they run 24 hours a day.
    • Deployment time is much shorter. GSA’s pilot began in January and plans to be completed by end of March.
    • NASA has concluded that robots carry less risk overall. Human actors tend to raise the number of vulnerabilities. Security approvals are still needed, but the robotic side of it is not any more vulnerable.
    • This software has audit logs and controls to ensure you can record and audit everything it does.
    • Get started by talking to your SMEs:
      • Determine how many systems your process touches
      • Determine if it is completely rule-based (i.e. you don’t want intervention in the process)
      • GSA’s process was simple, which vetted candidates through interviews and received recommendations based on level of complexity.
    • People who are not developers can learn to develop robotics.
    • Question from participant: Are these long-term solutions for processing or is this just adding a layer on a broken process?
      • Answer: While you are adding a layer on the process, it is a bit more complicated. You need to monitor all the source screens and you have controllers so there is a person who is making sure it is running properly.
    • Ask “what would you do with five more hours a week freed up?”
    • We are taking the “robot out of the person.”
    • Check with your union as you make changes to the conditions of your work. You have to start these conversations before you begin to implement.
    • Action Item: There is strong interest among participating agencies to develop a government-wide prize competition (via for government employees to identify the greatest opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies within their agencies.
  • Blockchain
    • Briefed by Debbi Bucci, Department of Health and Human Services
    • HHS hosted the Data Providence Challenge 2017 and received 19 submissions, 3 out of 4 winners were blockchain-based.
    • They recently held a blockchain webinar on 2/13 with 1400 signups.
    • Find out more at
    • Action Item: DISA can share information on their internal community of practice around blockchain and breaking down barriers around it.
  • Virtual/Augmented Reality
    • Briefing by Victor Luo, NASA OpsLab
    • OpsLab is a software studio at NASA JPL that builds applications to help spacecraft function.
    • They built a pipeline that builds 3D model from Mars Rover’s 2D images. Scientists all over world can discuss and plan where to send Rover.
    • This technology builds models for places that people cannot go (e.g. moon, ice bodies, deep oceans).
    • AccessMars is a website built on this VR technology that anyone can access and have similar experience to NASA scientists.
    • Operations staff are using this to create baselines for 2020 Mars Rover.
    • Also included are Remote Assistance Capabilities, including two Augmented Reality devices on the International Space Station.
    • These capabilities can attach diagrams, notes, pictures to screens that astronauts are using, and add animations to help show assembly instructions.
    • Question: Historically the innovations that NASA has come up with can be repurposed in so many ways to improve lives of people. In this work, does anything that come to mind as cross-purpose that other agencies can use?
      • Answer: In working with these technologies, they are applicable to all industries. We have talked to folks in automotive, gas, oil, biomedical for training, installation and assembly, remote where they can’t send a lot of people. We see a lot of cross-enterprise uses for this.
    • Also included are Automatic Processing and Rendering of CAD models, where engineers in different areas can discuss same CAD model in real time.

Additional Updates

  • Action Item: Open up Social Technology and VR pages on Atlas for contribution
  • Action Item: NASA will help populate VR resource page
  • Action Item: Justin will connect everyone attending SXSW in March
  • Action Item: Continue to send ideas to

Next Meeting: March 21, 10:30AM - 12:00PM, TBD