NewsBrief March 29, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: March 29, 2019

House oversight committee approves ‘ban the box’ bill for agencies, contractors

(Federal News Network) The House Oversight and Reform Committee, through a voice vote Tuesday, passed a bipartisan bill that would “ban the box” and prohibit federal agencies and contractors from asking job applicants about their criminal history until after they’ve made a conditional employment offer. Read More

Contractors and Advocacy Groups Push Back on State Efforts to Mandate Surveillance Software

(Route Fifty) A broad coalition of 14 organizations representing state contractors and issue advocacy groups released an open letter Monday opposing legislation that has cropped up in over 30 state legislatures that, if passed, would require government contractors to purchase and install monitoring software. Read More

Perry defends proposed 2020 budget despite cuts to ‘critical’ programs

(Federal News Network) Lawmakers have some concerns about proposed Energy Department budget cuts involving critical nuclear energy and national security programs. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), House Appropriations energy subcommittee chairwoman, told Energy Secretary Rick Perry the budget’s decrease in funding could put the United States at a disadvantage in terms of global competitiveness and resilience. Read More

DHS Invests $5.9 Million into Cyber Training Tool for Energy Sector

(Nextgov) The Homeland Security Department is funding a new immersive cyber-training platform equipped with simulation-based scenarios and exercises aimed at protecting the nation’s energy sector. The department’s Science and Technology Directorate announced it’s awarding $5.9 million to the Norwich University Applied Research Institute to expand a training tool used by the financial services sector to organizations in the energy sector. Distributed Environment for Critical Infrastructure Decision-Making Exercises, or DECIDE, is an interactive platform that allows players to practice cyber-threat response tactics in an immersive online environment before real-life crises occur. Read More

6 Ways Federal Agencies Can Overcome Complexity and Improve Mission Performance

(Nextgov) The federal IT ecosystem is unrelentingly complex, making it that much more critical for federal agencies to achieve as much visibility into their IT resources and resources as possible. This knowledge is vital for agencies to determine the most efficient and complete paths for managing these resources, implementing cybersecurity, and successfully executing new IT initiatives. Read More

Revisiting the Jobs Artificial Intelligence Will Create

(MITSloan) A major focus of the Daugherty and Wilson article is what kinds of skills will enable job transformation in the age of AI. Surprisingly, they’ve found that STEM skills, while important, are certainly not a prerequisite for transformation. In fact, their research shows that four soft skills are becoming much more valuable as human-machine collaboration advances. These skills include complex reasoning, creativity, social and emotional intelligence, and sensory perception. Read More

Guide to Effective Government Meetings Issued

(FEDweek) A cross-agency team of federal employees has produced a guide to holding effective meetings in the government, covering topics ranging from planning through conducting to closing a meeting. Read More

Andy Marshall, the Pentagon’s ‘Yoda,’ dies at age 97

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — Andy Marshall, who ran the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment for more than 40 years, has died at the age of 97. The news was announced at a House Armed Services Committee hearing by ranking member Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, who cited Marshall as a driver of new game-changing technologies and a thought leader in handling great power competition. Read More

US to speed up astronaut return to Moon: target 2024

(Moon Daily) Donald Trump’s administration announced Tuesday it was speeding up plans to send US astronauts back to the Moon, from 2028 to 2024, calling for a “spark of urgency” to prevail over delays that have plagued NASA’s lunar return plans. Read More