Cliff Owen / AP

During a West Coast swing that included visits to Google and Amazon this week, Defense Secretary James Mattis acknowledged in an interview with Wired that the Pentagon isn't keeping up with the tech industry when it comes to putting artificial intelligence to use. "It's got to be better integrated by the Department of Defense, because I see many of the greatest advances out here on the West Coast in private industry," he said.

Our thought bubble: It's pretty common for the federal government's tech efforts to lag behind the tech industry's fast pace of innovation. His predecessor in 2015 opened the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, which aims to foster collaboration between smaller tech companies and the Defense Department. Mattis said he wants to see the organization speed up the deployment of AI in the department. Trump's proposed budget would increase funding for it, but cuts the budget of the National Science Foundation, which supports AI research.

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Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 19,497,292 — Total deaths: 723,854 — Total recoveries — 11,823,105Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 4,994,276 — Total deaths: 162,381 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

8 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.