AWS Public Sector Blog

White House officials, tech leaders across government discuss responsible AI at AWS Gov2Gov event

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Last month, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted its fourth Gov2Gov event: Responsible AI Implementation at the Planet Word Museum in Washington, DC. The event convened senior public sector leaders and decision-makers from across the US Government (USG) to hear from White House officials and chief AI officers from federal government agencies. Speakers discussed the USG’s implementation of the Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, shared successes in adopting AI technologies to advance USG missions, and discussed challenges and opportunities in this rapidly evolving field.

The AWS Gov2Gov event discussed AI’s potential to revolutionize public sector agency missions, including by leveraging data to enhance customer experiences, mitigate counterintelligence risks, and streamline operations. The agenda covered a range of topics including advancing defense capabilities and innovation, mission successes in AI adoption, and AI for public diplomacy. Attendees heard from senior White House officials such as Maher Bitar, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Intelligence and Defense Policy at the National Security Council and Dr. Ben Buchanan, Special Advisor for AI at the White House. 

Attendees listen as Dr. Streilein talks on stage with Liz Martin, AWS director of DOD.

Dr. William Streilein, Chief Technology Officer for the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO), discussed advancing defense capabilities and innovation. He emphasized that the DOD has invested in “classical AI” for decades, and that success in the field means not relying on any single solution. Dr. Streilein said it is “irresponsible not to experiment” when it comes to adopting new technologies.

The panel discussion on mission success in AI adoption featured Avery Alpha, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The panel discussed how DHS is exploring safe and secure pilot programs and seeking to promote a culture of openness around using AI in their workflows to modernize and advance tradecraft.

During the AI for public diplomacy panel, Dr. Matthew Graviss, Chief Data and Artificial Intelligence Officer for the U.S. Department of State, said “diplomacy is a relationship business—so is tech delivery.” It was clear from the discussion on stage that Dr. Graviss and Deputy CIO Laura Williams take that approach to building strong relationships internally at the State Department.

In a discussion with Dr. Gil Alterovitz, Director at the VA National Artificial Intelligence Institute (NAII) and the Chief AI Officer for the  Veterans Health Administration (VHA), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, attendees heard details that the Executive Order on Responsible AI contains a section that specifically calls out veterans and the development of AI systems that improve the quality of veterans’ healthcare. Dr. Alterovitz discussed the nationwide AI Tech Sprint competitions that his agency leads and ways that he seeks to improve coordination and collaboration across the federal government. He said the “NAII AI network seeks to enable translation of research to operations with trustworthy AI, while the AI Tech Sprint enables operations using solutions that have been vetted for trustworthy AI and researched.”

In a closing fireside chat with Dr. John Beieler, Chief AI Officer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), attendees heard how the Intelligence Community (IC) is leveraging new technologies to support their mission to provide relevant information to USG counterparts in an actionable time frame.

AWS created the Gov2Gov event series in response to a White House call to action for industry to promote responsible AI innovation. In July 2023, President Biden gathered leaders across government and industry to commit to developing safe, secure, and transparent AI technology that benefits society. In alignment with that commitment, AWS hosted its first AWS Gov2Gov event: Responsible AI Innovation for the Public Sector in October 2023, one week before the administration released its Executive Order on AI.  

AWS is proud to connect government and industry leaders to help advance public sector missions, including through AI innovation.  We are committed to convening these conversations throughout 2024 and beyond, including an AWS Gov2Gov event dedicated to the future of healthcare and responsible AI this fall.

Michael Greenwald

Michael Greenwald

Michael is global head for financial innovation and digital assets at Amazon Web Services (AWS) and leads AWS Global Executive Relations. He works with US and international governments on cloud computing and responsible emerging technology innovation and implementation. In 2023, he was appointed to represent Amazon on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Technology Advisory Committee. He previously served as the first U.S. Treasury attaché to Qatar and Kuwait and has served in senior roles with two presidential administrations and under three Treasury Secretaries.