The Government Accountability Office is getting ready to publish a report on certain federal agencies’ progress with artificial intelligence use case inventories.
The report will focus on the Chief Financial Officer Act agencies — not including the Defense Department — as well as the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and is expected to be published next week, Kevin Walsh, a director with the GAO Information Technology and Cybersecurity team conducting the report, said in an email to FedScoop.
Speaking on a panel at Informatica’s Data in Action Summit on Wednesday, Stephen Sanford, the GAO’s managing director of strategic planning and external liaison, described the forthcoming report as a look at how the CFO Act agencies are doing with the AI inventory process and where they are with requirements in various AI executive orders and legislation.
Federal agencies’ annual AI use case inventories, which were initially required under a Trump-era executive order, have so far lacked consistency and received criticism from academics and advocates as a result. A major 2022 report by several Stanford researchers analyzed progress on the existing AI requirements under statute and existing executive orders, detailing compliance issues with the inventories in the first year they were required. FedScoop has continued to report on issues with those public postings in recent months.
Following President Joe Biden’s recent AI executive order, the White House said the inventories are intended to be a more expansive resource for the government and the public. A list published on AI.gov ahead of that executive order consolidated the public inventories into one file, totaling more than 700 uses across the government.
The coming report was initiated by GAO under the Comptroller General’s authority, Walsh said, as opposed to a congressional request. The Comptroller General’s authority is typically used for work on emerging issues, broad interest areas for Congress, and to respond to events of national or international significance, Walsh explained.
While DOD won’t be included in the new report, GAO has previously looked at the department’s AI-related work. Earlier this year, the GAO published a report recommending that DOD establish department-wide guidance for AI acquisition, and previously published a report recommending improvements to its own AI inventory process.
In addition to the use case report, Sanford said the GAO is also preparing a report on how the Department of Homeland Security and some of its components are doing with the implementation of the watchdog’s AI accountability framework. He said they expect to put it out “early next year.”
“We have a lot in the pipeline,” Sanford said. “The goal here is, I think, as a federal community, to try to learn from all this work. And these are, I think, some of the first wide-scoped evaluative jobs that we’re … doing that are going to be coming out.”