NewsBrief April 10, 2020

Posted by

Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 10, 2020

DOD launches task force of CIOs to combat teleworking challenges

(fedscoop) The Department of Defense has set up a “Teleworking Readiness Taskforce” of CIOs and senior IT officials working across the military to address the challenges of having a majority of its workforce teleworking for the first time. The task force is led by DOD CIO Dana Deasy and meets multiple times per week, a DOD spokesman told FedScoop, as the department works to rapidly respond to an “unprecedented” strain on its networks brought on by a “maximum telework” policy issued in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The task force includes CIOs and IT officials across the services, the Defense Information Systems Agency and other DOD components. “The Task Force is working across the department to ensure we bring the right capabilities at the right time to address any actual or anticipated telework issues that may arise,” Lt. Col. Robert Carver told FedScoop in an email. Read More

DoD Lists Security Do’s and Don’ts for Teleworkers

(FEDweek) The DoD CIO’s office has produced a document of IT security-related do’s and don’ts for teleworkers, a timely document government-wide as the number of federal employees teleworking has mushroomed—some of whom did it rarely, if at all in the past. Among the do’s:Log off of your VPN [virtual private network] connection at the end of the work day. Use your organization-approved file sharing service/capability to share files with others. Read More

Three Elements for Successful Virtual Working

(MITSloan) Our cumulative experience of what makes virtual working succeed, and what gets in its way, can offer valuable insight at this challenging time. In recent years, millions of people worldwide have adapted to working virtually. In recent weeks, tens of millions have joined them, and more will continue to do so in the coming months. The lessons from the past — on how to acknowledge and balance the roles of technology, social needs, and work rhythms — are of crucial importance to us now. They can also become catalysts to longer-term change. Read More

Military relief organizations bracing for surge in requests from coronavirus

(Federal News Network) The main sources of emergency relief funding for service members and their families are expecting a surge of requests in response to COVID-19. Organizations like Army Emergency Relief, the Air Force Aid Society, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society — all of which rely on donations to serve troops — say they have provided assistance to some military families in response to the disease; however, they expect the worst to come. “With bills coming due I think we will start to see a cycle of folks realizing exactly what they’re going to need,” John Hopper, CEO of the Air Force Aid Society, said Tuesday during a virtual panel hosted by Blue Star Families and the Association of Defense Communities. “The relatively low demand you see for support in the beginning is sort of typical of disasters in that folks can’t assess and understand what they need in the midst of the badness going on.” Read More

In a crisis, America turns to….COBOL programmers and fax machines

(FCW) The time has come to invest in the federal government’s IT infrastructure. Over the last five years, government has taken significant steps intended to modernize federal IT, spearheaded by passage of the MGT Act in 2017 and the 21st Century IDEA in 2018. These bills and others were intended to drive IT modernization across the federal government and encourage agencies to embrace digital tools over antiquated paper-intensive processes. But despite our best efforts, we’ve learned over the last five weeks that more needs to be done to modernize government technology now and for the future. This past weekend, news broke out of New Jersey that Governor Phil Mattingly was in dire need of COBOL programmers to help keep the state’s four-decades old unemployment system from crashing due to the surge of claims coming as a result of the economic impact of coronavirus. Read More

How blockchain can change the space industry

( Cryptocurrency, blockchain and decentralized data are all buzzwords we’ve seen floating around in recent years, but the technology is so new that it’s hard to see direct applications to our lives, even in space exploration. But blockchain and space have more ties than you might expect. What these concepts all describe is a different way of storing data, a way that is decentralized (meaning it uses a shared database), transparent (which allows users to see changes to the database) and secure. Within this type of system, users have copies of the data and, because data in a blockchain is stored with cryptographic algorithms, blockchain is hard to hack. Read More

NASA Calls on Gamers, Citizen Scientists to Help Map World’s Corals

(NASA) NASA invites video gamers and citizen scientists to embark on virtual ocean research expeditions to help map coral reefs around the world in an effort to better understand these threatened ecosystems. During the past several years, researchers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley have developed new instruments that can look below the ocean surface in more detail than ever before. Using techniques originally developed to look at stars, these “fluid-lensing” cameras use complex calculations to undo the optical distortions created by the water over coral reefs. Read More