HomeArticlesNewsErnst Inquires About SBA’s AI Applications and IT Initiatives

Ernst Inquires About SBA’s AI Applications and IT Initiatives

Senator Probes SBA Over IT Investments and AI Use

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, requested information from the Small Business Administration (SBA) about its IT investments and unreported AI use cases. She raised concerns regarding the agency’s transparency.

IT Working Capital Fund Concerns

Ernst questioned the management of IT investments via the SBA’s IT Working Capital Fund. She claimed the fund hadn’t been used appropriately, requesting detailed information from the agency.

AI Use Case Inconsistencies

Despite SBA’s claim of no AI use, inconsistencies emerged. Ernst highlighted public instances where AI was reportedly used for fraud review and pandemic relief fraud detection.

Mandated AI Disclosures

According to a Trump-era executive order and subsequent legislation, federal agencies must disclose AI use cases. These disclosures should be available on their websites.

Research Confirms Reporting Gaps

Research by Stanford, the Government Accountability Office, and FedScoop revealed inconsistencies in AI inventories. Clear and comprehensive reporting remains a significant issue.

Biden Administration’s Expanded Requirements

The Biden administration has expanded reporting requirements for AI use cases to enhance transparency. Efforts to improve the accuracy of these inventories are ongoing.

SBA’s IT Score and Future Plans

Ernst criticized the SBA’s declining performance in managing IT and implementing FITARA. The agency’s FITARA score hasn’t surpassed a "C" over the past three years.

Call for Better IT Management

In her letter, Ernst emphasized using the IT Working Capital Fund to improve the SBA’s FITARA score, calling for better IT management practices.

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