NewsBrief April 16, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 16, 2021

How Can Financial Institutions Prepare for AI Risks?

(Knowledge @ Wharton) Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies hold big promise for the financial services industry, but they also bring risks that must be addressed with the right governance approaches, according to a white paper by a group of academics and executives from the financial services and technology industries, published by Wharton AI for Business. Wharton is the academic partner of the group, which calls itself Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Risk & Security, or AIRS. Based in New York City, the AIRS working group was formed in 2019, and includes about 40 academics and industry practitioners. The white paper details the opportunities and challenges of implementing AI strategies by financial firms and how they could identify, categorize, and mitigate potential risks by designing appropriate governance frameworks. Read More

US military to blend electronic warfare with cyber capabilities

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy plans to blur the lines between traditional electronic warfare and cyber operations as it prepares to receive its new airborne electronic jammer, according to a top service official. Cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum are inextricably linked, which sometimes leads to arguments over why cyberspace is considered a domain of warfare, yet the electromagnetic spectrum is not. “Now with the ability to do phased array, advanced jamming techniques, we really start to blur the lines, I think, between what we would consider traditional jamming with cyberwarfare,” Rear Adm. John Meier, commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, said April 13 during remarks at a virtual event hosted by the Association of Old Crows. Read More

Air Force can now deploy drones from other drones

(fedscoop) The Air Force‘s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) capabilities took a step forward with new test flights that launched a small UAS out of a larger drone. The test, conducted in late March by the Air Force Research Lab, showed that a larger Valkyrie UAS can release a smaller UAS through its weapons bay door, a new capability that could lead to the use of drone networks being deployed during battle. “This is the sixth flight of the Valkyrie and the first time the payload bay doors have been opened in flight,” Alyson Turri, demonstration program manager, said in a release. Read More

How the DoD’s future war-fighting needs are shaping cloud vendors’ products

(C4ISRNET) The U.S. Defense Department’s expectation that future wars will be fought across dispersed, disconnected environments is driving changes to its cloud needs. Industry is preparing for that reality. With the nascent concept of connecting the best sensor from any location with the best shooter in any service, known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control, the defense industrial base is seeing a shift in the Pentagon’s need for tools that people can access from any location. Cloud computing, which allows users to store data more cheaply and access it remotely, is a core principle of the department’s digital modernization strategy. With distributed war fighting on the horizon, the department will need tactical cloud abilities available in remote places. Read More

USPTO chief information officer most excited about new search algorithms

(fedscoop) New search algorithms for relevant prior art most excite the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s CIO right now. USPTO created the machine-learning algorithms to increase the speed at which patents are examined by importing relevant prior art — all information on its claim of originality — into pending applications sent to art units, said Jamie Holcombe. Filtering data into haystacks allowing patent examiners to more easily find what they’re looking for — the needle — is the new paradigm for search algorithms, Holcombe said. Read More

Solving the basic problems of machine learning

(Federal News Network) This week on Federal Tech Talk, host John Gilroy speaks with Michael Stonebraker, co-founder of Tamr. Stonebraker has been involved with technology since 1971. Fifty years in a profession can lead someone to plateau, but that has not been the case with Stonebraker. In addition to his academic career, he has been involved in over a dozen tech startups, the latest being Tamr. He decided to “throw in” with Tamr because he thinks it solves the basic problem with machine learning. Read More

Six months into JAIC 2.0, DOD still needs to move faster on AI

(fedscoop) Despite revising its strategy six months ago to speed up artificial intelligence adoption across the Department of Defense, the Joint AI Center is still not moving fast enough, its director said. The JAIC made the significant change from being an organization focused on product delivery to being more of an “enabling force” that supports AI offices across the military in November. That change brought more unity of effort across the department’s AI projects, but it’s still not moving as fast as it should be, Lt. Gen. Michael Groen said during a press briefing Friday. “Is JAIC 2.0 enough? Are we moving fast enough?” Groen said. “I lay awake at night and say the answer is no.” Read More

Pandemic Causes Personnel Increase, Shift in Federal Work

(Fedweek) The pandemic has resulted in a slight increase in federal jobs and some change in the mix of occupations, with a more pronounced effect at agencies on the front lines, according to an analysis by the Partnership for Public Service. It said that as of last March, the full-time permanent workforce outside the Postal Service stood at just below 1,908,000 and by year’s end “the workforce had expanded by just over 36,000 employees, averaging an increase of 0.6% per quarter and matching the level of growth over the same period in 2019. At least in the short-term, the pandemic does not appear to have significantly transformed the size or composition of the federal workforce.” Read More

GSA planning to lend tech, acquisition expertise to support scaling TMF

(fedscoop) General Services Administration officials anticipate lending technology and acquisition expertise to agencies modernizing IT using the more than $1 billion in funds allocated within the American Rescue Plan Act. GSA holds weekly meetings with the Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Digital Service, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, federal chief information officers, and industry to discuss the $1 billion added to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) and $150 million to the Federal Citizen Services Fund (FCSF). The TMF is a central pot of appropriations that agencies can apply for to fund impactful modernization projects under the stipulation that they’ll pay it back within five years. The FCSF, on the other hand, is an internal GSA fund that TTS can use to support interagency digital services initiatives. Read More

Driving Remote Innovation Through Conflict and Collaboration

(MITSloan) To stimulate and refine ideas for innovation, organizations have traditionally relied on the energy of face-to-face, copresent teams collaborating both formally and informally in meetings, cubicles, and corridors, and at watercoolers. The dynamic energy created by copresence is considered critical for embedding innovation into an organization’s workplace culture. But after the pandemic-driven mass exodus from the office and the transition to remote work, leaders need to understand how they can embed innovation in remote teams. Early in the pandemic, of necessity, organizations emphasized business continuity and scaled up their existing capabilities to manage teams remotely. The seemingly insurmountable challenge — delivering results without copresent office-based teams — was met with surprising success. Productivity increased in many organizations; for example, Oracle improved productivity by 20% to close its monthly books within 24 hours for the first time. Read More