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Tech Transforms podcast: How one federal agency is embracing AI to support and empower its cyber workforce

On the Tech Transforms podcast, sponsored by Dynatrace, we talk to some of the most prominent influencers shaping critical government technology decisions.

Is artificial intelligence (AI) here to steal government employees’ jobs? Can embracing AI really make life easier? These are some of the questions that Willie Hicks, Dynatrace’s Federal CTO, and I unpacked with Patrick Johnson, director of the Workforce Innovation Directorate in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of the CIO.

There is a lot of concern about AI taking jobs away from humans. However, during Episode 74 of the Tech Transforms podcast, we discussed the roles that AI can fill. For example, AI is a great candidate for automating tedious, manual tasks such as aggregating data. Automating these tasks can allow employees to focus more on creativity and problem-solving. Johnson also discussed how security teams can use AI to identify potential anomalies within a cybersecurity environment to expedite alert triage and allow defenders to prioritize the alerts that pose the most significant risk.

Furthermore, AI can significantly boost productivity if employees are properly trained on how to use the technology correctly. “It’s great to put new technology on the table,” said Johnson. “But if you don’t take the time to train the workforce in the programs or the systems you’re bringing online, you lose that effectiveness. You don’t really gain the efficiencies or the objectives that you need to be [gaining].”

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AI in government: How the DoD is embracing new tools and technologies

While acknowledging the security concerns surrounding AI, Johnson emphasized that the DoD must find ways to incorporate AI ethically and securely into its operations. He highlighted a few areas where DoD is beginning to integrate AI, including improving maintenance schedules and tracking issues.

Johnson also shared how his team is using AI to automate certain talent management processes, such as expediting applicant-job matching and aligning training and certification offerings with workforce skill gaps. Specifically, through DoD Directive 8140, the Workforce Innovation Directorate is standardizing cyber work roles, baseline qualifications, and training requirements. Johnson explained that this effort is enabling the DoD to identify talent gaps and quickly fill critical vacancies. Additionally, as the program gathers more data, it will enable predictive analytics to forecast future talent and skill deficits.

Tech Transforms episode 74 cover artwork. This episode of Tech Transforms discusses how agencies are beginning to unlock the potential of AI within the federal government.

Tune in to the full episode for more insights from Patrick Johnson, director of the DoD’s Cyber Workforce Management Directorate.

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