Office of Management and Budget Memorandum on Use of AI in Government

On November 1, 2023, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) took a major step toward ensuring the federal government uses new AI technologies responsibly: it released draft guidance outlining federal agencies’ obligations and suggested actions around the responsible development, use, and procurement of AI technologies. OMB’s draft guidance comes on the heels of President’s Biden Executive Order 14110, entitled “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” and incorporates previous federal efforts to manage the risks and impacts of AI technologies like the White House’s Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s AI Risk Management Framework.

The OMB draft guidance implements three broad changes to federal AI development, procurement, and use:

First, it establishes new agency roles, resources, and processes for managing new and existing government AI systems, including a new Chief AI Officer (CAIO) role to lead each agency’s implementation of the OMB draft guidance, new AI Governance Bodies within each agency comprised of senior agency officials that meet quarterly to discuss AI governance procedures, and cross-agency AI use case inventories accompanied by public AI use case reporting.

Second, the draft guidance requires agencies to build internal processes to foster responsible AI innovation and adoption. OMB intends for these internal processes to increase flexibility for and remove barriers to AI development and use through investment in IT infrastructure, incorporation of public and commercial databases, and increased hiring and training for agency employees in AI positions.

Third, the draft OMB guidance sets out minimum AI risk management practices that most executive agencies are expected to follow when developing, procuring, or using AI systems that impact individuals’ rights or safety. These practices include ongoing AI impact assessments covering an AI system’s intended purpose, potential risks, and relevant data; real-world performance testing to ensure reliability and risk mitigation in practice; independent evaluations of AI performance; annual AI monitoring; and consultations with affected and underserved communities.

While OMB’s draft guidance brings us closer to a truly responsible government AI framework, there is still more work to be done. On December 5, 2023, several civil society organizations and other interested parties submitted public comments to OMB laying out additional suggestions, revisions, and amendments to the draft AI guidance that would strengthen AI governance and risk management throughout government. Several of these civil society comments are compiled below:


Civil Society Comments (UPDATED Dec. 6, 2023)

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