ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / MACHINE LEARNING PRIMER - Enabling AI/ML Innovation in the US Federal Government

Executive Webinar Certification Program - Online based 
Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University
American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC)


  • Sandy Barsky – Executive Program Director, Government and Education for Oracle America, Former GSA; Former GSA; Information Technology Leader Artificial Intelligence (Ai) leader
  • Maurice D. Kugler - Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government
  • Mike Rice - Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of CornerStone IT with 40 years of information technology and program leadership supporting both industry and government.
  • Nevin Taylor – Presidential Innovation Fellow; Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission; Founder, SME, & Sr. Advisor Strategic Initiatives
  • Frederic de Vaulx, Vice President of Prometheus Computing
  • Swathi Young - Chief Technology Officer of Integrity Management Services Inc; keynote speaker, blogger, community-builder

Course Dates: TBA

Time:  TBA

Credits: Participants will receive a Schar School certificate of completion and earn 1.5 CEUs (Continuing Education Units). Please email for the CEUs application. 

Introduction and Executive Summary

Artificial Intelligence (AI): The field of computer science that deals with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers or the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. It is used broadly to refer to any algorithms, methods, or technologies that make a system act and/or behave like a human and includes machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, cognitive, robotics, and related topics.

This primer serves as a foundational tool in the understanding of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technology and, through the use cases, reveal how they can be applied to benefit the federal government and improve the lives of American citizens.

AI/ML has the potential to help government agencies operate more effectively, save money, improve their information security, and improve the lives of American citizens. The potential derives from its ability to increase the value of the government’s information assets (by enabling more data to be analyzed more quickly and more robustly) and workforce (by providing government knowledge workers with enhanced analytic tools and assistants).  

The technology can advance insights from petabytes worth of structured and unstructured data by significantly accelerating the assessment, clarification, and synthesis of government data. The adoption of AI services may also allow government agencies to better improve their prediction of new mission trends and stakeholder needs to effectively deliver services to citizens and achieve agency objectives.

Primer Scope

This primer defines, describes, and demonstrates the capabilities of AI/ML and provides government and private sector audiences a basic overview of artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) technology and a set of definitions of basic terminology. The primer also provides examples of different needs AI can assist to solve, as well as example use cases for government organizations describing where AI/ML can help organizations automate operations and find new insights from their data.

This primer is not meant to be a technical document. This paper does not provide a deep dive into the mathematical principles behind AI algorithms, or the computational techniques and languages commonly used by data scientists.  It illustrates the benefits to be drived from applied AI/ML.  For further understanding of Intelligent Automation, please refer to the ACT-IAC Intelligent Automation Primer3 assembled by the Emerging Technology Community of Interest Intelligent Automation Working Group.

Course Highlights and Features

Artificial intelligence and machine learning is one on many new technologies entering IT operations. The technology can improve insights from the petabytes worth of structured and unstructured data retained by agencies. AI early adopters include many areas where analysts – without automation – must sift through tremendous amounts of data to find issue requiring attention. Figure 7 depicts the many diverse applications of AI techniques. Cybersecurity operations use algorithms that automate the search for network anomalies and patterns of behavior which may indicate a possible external cyber-attack or an insider threat. Autonomous vehicles identify vehicle threats based on identification of nearby objects by sensors. With cloud-based tools, an agency can easily stand up an AI pilot to prove the utility of this technology against a critical business problem.

Figure 7: Artificial Intelligence techniques can assist agencies across many diverse business areas where large amounts of data makes it difficult for analysts to identify trends and new needs
Figure 7: Artificial Intelligence techniques can assist agencies across many diverse business areas where large amounts of data makes it difficult for analysts to identify trends and new needs

The primer is aimed for professionals in all government sectors and industries impacted AI and ML technologies.  These insights can assist organizations to improve citizen services, reduce waste and fraud, improve acquisition outcomes, and identify potential security threats.  Agencies must carefully plan their AI/ML transformational journey and adoption to better realize the technology’s potential to meet their mission objectives.

Topics covered in this 5-week course over 10 sessions including the following:

Week 1 (Sept 28th  and Sept 30th ):  

  1. Primer for AI - define, describe, and demonstrate the capabilities of AI/ML
  2. “If you can't describe it“- Use case: illustrates the applications of AI/ML

Week 2 (Oct 5th and Oct 7th ):

  1. “Not every thing is a nail“  - Assessment: Qualify and Quantify the benefits derived from AI/ML
  2. “Think before you go“- Readiness and EAAI (Engineering applications of artificial Intelligence): Explore the benefits to be derived from AI/ML

Week 3 (Oct 12th and Oct 14th ):

  1. Readiness and EAAI: Identify if the cost benefit of AI/ML application warrant the investment
  2. Acquisition Plan Selection of actual solutions: Which capabilities provide the best benefit to the organization?

Week 4 ( Oct 19th and Oct 21st ):

  1. Selection of actual solutions – Identify if the technological maturity, organizational advocacy, are ready
  2. Implementation & Integration – Programmatic approach to apply AI/ML and operationalize it

Week 5 (Oct 26th and Oct 28th ):

  1. Implementation & Integration – Systematic approach to apply AI/ML technologies into current systems
  2. Exercise; case study; certificate session – Verify/validate functionality to produce product or desired outcomes

[60 minutes per session; two (2) sessions per week for five (5) weeks. Fall 2021] 

About the Instructors

Photo of Sandy Barsky

Sandy Barsky currently serves as the Executive Program Director, Government and Education for Oracle America. For near to 40 years Sandy had served at the General Services Administration finishing his federal career at Veterans Affairs (VA) National Artificial Intelligence Institute (NAII) working on the Artificial Intelligence (knowledge) Certification Service Management, the Ai and the Brain Forum, National Use Case and Solutions Library, and supporting the Ai Tech Sprints. He delivered the first end-to-end paperless contract/task order system. He is one the lead authors of the ACT-IACAi Primer, Playbook, Ethical Application of Artificial Intelligence Framework, and other papers and frameworks designed for use for government. 

Photo of Maurice Kugler

Dr. Maurice D. Kugler is Professor of Public Policy in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, with research expertise on the role of new technologies in boosting economic growth and labor productivity (aka endogenous growth theory). His work encompasses analyses of productivity growth, global labor markets, foreign direct investment, global value chains, human capital formation, international trade, and international migration.

Kugler was Head of Research of the Human Development Report, the UN’s annual flagship publication on international economic development after he was Senior Economist at the World Bank. Prior, he was Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government and Research Fellow at the Growth Lab of the Center for International Development, both in Harvard University (2006-2010).

His research has been widely published in top economics academic journals, including the American Economic Review, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Economics Letters, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Public Economics, Review of Economic Dynamics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Review of Economic Studies, and the World Bank Economic Review. This work has been recognized in awards (McTaggart at LSE and AEA/FRB at UC Berkeley), grants (NSF, MacArthur Foundation and UK Economics and Social Sciences Research Council) and prizes (Global Development Forum and Latin American and Caribbean Economics Association).

Photo of Nevin Taylor

Nevin Taylor - An innovative leader who has uniquely taylored evolutionary technology to achieve organizational goals. A seasoned cyber professional who successfully develops strategic capabilities based programs that integrate cross-cutting capabilities, this visionary’s multidisciplinary technically focused professional has characterized the information environment’s cognitive capacity to produce results beyond expectations. This visionary uniquely conceptualizes, develops and utilizes the adaptive planning process to evolve current systems in a way to provide asymmetric future capabilities.

A thirty two year cyber professional with a background in corporate, public and military service, his career has been focused upon public service. Currently serving the Executive Office of the President of the United States as a sitting member of the Data Cabinet and their three respective Policy, Governance, and Talent working groups, he is the Co-Chair of the White House’s Data Interagency Advisory Board in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In his capacity of a reservist, Colonel Taylor serves on the Air Staff as the Air Force’s Deputy Chief Technology Officer and initial and interim Chief Data Officer developing a strategic framework to operationalize data. Additionally he is the Chair of the Air Force’s Task Force Cyber’s Strategic Advisory Board and Tiger Team Lead for the Office of the Secretary of Defense Enterprise Search and Catalog on behalf of the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer’s Enterprise Services and Data Panel.

Photo of Mike Rice

Mr. Mike Rice brings over 40 years of experience in Business Development, Program Management, Service Delivery, and Information Technology for both the private and public sectors. He is the author of "In Pursuit, A Business Development Life Cycle," "In Pursuit, Coaching Orals," and co-author of "The Billion Dollar Secret."  He has engineered specialized hardware devices, developed operating systems, communications protocols, and architected enterprise-wide solutions supporting government mission portfolios.  Supporting GSA for over 20 years, Mr. Rice was privileged and honored to support three Presidential Transition Teams.  His primary focus, over the past decade, has been in business development.  He is an engineer by trade and a teacher by nature.  The engineer in him strives to learn how this Business Development mechanism ticks.  The teacher in him is excited to share what he's discovered, understood, and mastered.  Thus, the "In Pursuit Business Development Life Cycle" book series.  Mr. Rice maintains his technical acumen, influencing and establishing standards in implementing and integrating emerging technologies across the IT landscape.  He is currently assigned to a joint government and industry integrated project team to streamline the government acquisition life cycle leveraging these same emerging technologies.

Photo of Photo of Frederic de Vaulx

Frederic de Vaulx is the Vice President of Prometheus Computing, a small business supporting Federal Agencies with custom software development and emerging technology strategy, where he leads the development of the company’s vision, innovation and strategy. He is also a Senior Software Engineer and Program Manager overseeing the design, architecture and development of custom software applications for Prometheus’ federal and commercial clients. In addition, Frederic is The CTO at Value Technology Foundation, an emerging technology 501(3)(c) Think Tank. Frederic has more than 15 years of experience in software engineering and emerging technology innovation. He is a member of ACT-IAC where he is the industry vice-chair of the Emerging Technology Community of Interest and is one of the leaders of the AI working group that published an AI primer and and AI playbook to help Federal AI adoption. 

Photo of Swathi Young

Swathi Young is a keynote speaker, blogger, community-builder and Chief Technology Officer of Integrity Management Services Inc., a healthcare services company, where she is leading innovative AI solutions for clients. In her 20+ years of technology experience, she has led over 100+ projects globally - Belgium, India and the United States across a number of Fortune 100 companies like GE and Oracle. Swathi is passionate about using cutting edge, artificial intelligence technologies to increase the performance of organizations. She believes that the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and humanities is important to focus on as we lay the foundation of AI applications for future generations.

In 2020, Swathi was selected to be a member of the Forbes Technology Council, where she shares her expert insights in original business articles on

Outside of the office, Mrs. Young is a brand ambassador for Women in AI, an international non-profit organization whose goal is to increase diversity in AI. She recently co-authored the Ethical AI framework, a framework to help federal agencies evaluate the ethical outcomes of AI products. She previously co-authored the AI playbook, a framework for implementing AI systems.