NewsBrief April 17, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 17, 2020

DARPA Project Producing Tool to Help Anticipate Military and Industrial Systems’ Cyber Threats

(Nextgov) General Electric Company’s technological development division GE Research recently unveiled it’s developing a cybersecurity tool to examine and subsequently improve critical military and industrial systems’ cyber stature and defenses for a Defense Advanced Research Project Agency project. The Verification Evidence and Resilient Design in Anticipation of Cybersecurity Threats—or VERDICT—tool aims to work across a range of computer systems, such as those for smart devices, ships, aircraft, power plants and wind farms. The goal is to provide the systems with comprehensive assessments of cyber threats, recommend how to address vulnerabilities uncovered, and predict the potential of forthcoming attacks. Read More

DHS developing tech to better secure email on government-issued mobile devices

(fedscoop) The Department of Homeland Security wants to improve the cybersecurity of mobile devices that staffers use to access both business and personal content by adding cloud-based, root-of-trust (CRoT) technology, the agency announced Tuesday. Cybersecurity company BlueRISC is working on the software with support from the DHS Science and Technology Directorate. The goal is to allow government employees to use personal email on agency-issued devices while avoiding common security pitfalls like choosing convenience over strong security controls or accidentally sharing sensitive information. Read More

The Air Force and Navy Are Testing This App to Stay Fit Amid Social Distancing

(DefenseOne) Even when the gyms are closed, sailors and airmen have to stay fit, which can be a big challenge both for reservists who may not be used to staying at a specific fitness level to joint tactical air controllers with Air Force Special Operations. The services are piloting a digital coaching tool to help service members stay in shape and help commanding officers monitor their fitness levels. Read More

OPM, DoD Issue Guidance on New Sick Leave Entitlement

(FEDweek) Division E of the FFCRA provides up to two weeks (up to 80 hours) of emergency paid sick leave to all Federal civil service employees in specified circumstances related to COVID-19—unless they are in an exempted category as described below. This paid sick leave is in addition to any other paid leave entitlements. Depending on the circumstances, the sick leave is paid at the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)-based regular rate of pay for an employee or two-thirds of that rate (subject to statutory limitations on daily and aggregate cash value of paid leave). Paid sick leave under division E is available for use during the period from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Read More

NIH, FDA and VA 3D-Printing Collaboration Turns to Ventilator Parts

(Nextgov) The 3D-printing partnership between National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and Veterans Affairs Department already produced 12 personal protective equipment-type designs reviewed for clinical use—in a matter of weeks—for those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though most of the to-be 3D-printed items validated so far are face masks, shields and related facial protective and comfort-wear, this week the VA plans to divert a portion of its resources to begin testing something new: designs for 3D-printed ventilator parts. Read More

The Pentagon is looking for a quantum space sensor

(C4ISRNET) A GPS receiver just isn’t going to cut it in deep space. While GPS has a host of applications on Earth — from enabling credit card transactions to weather forecasting — it is decidedly less useful off planet. After all, GPS was designed to enable navigation around the Earth, not in deep space. Space vehicles operating beyond the reaches of GPS have to rely on other methods for determining their position, navigation and timing, such as inertial measurements or even star tracking Read More

Earth-Size, Habitable Zone Planet Found Hidden in Early NASA Kepler Data

(NASA) A team of transatlantic scientists, using reanalyzed data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, has discovered an Earth-size exoplanet orbiting in its star’s habitable zone, the area around a star where a rocky planet could support liquid water. Scientists discovered this planet, called Kepler-1649c, when looking through old observations from Kepler, which the agency retired in 2018. While previous searches with a computer algorithm misidentified it, researchers reviewing Kepler data took a second look at the signature and recognized it as a planet. Out of all the exoplanets found by Kepler, this distant world – located 300 light-years from Earth – is most similar to Earth in size and estimated temperature. Read More