NewsBrief: April 22, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 22, 2022

New shipbuilding plan driven by ‘uncertainty,’ ‘fiscal reality’: Navy brass

(Breaking Defense) The Navy’s choices for this year’s 30-year shipbuilding plan were driven by “uncertainty,” “hard choices” and confronting “fiscal reality,” two senior service officials told reporters today at the official rollout for the long-range planning document. The service took the unusual step of laying out three different procurement profiles in the plan – the first such document presented to Congress since 2019 – depending on the funding lawmakers provide in the coming years. Two options assume no real growth in the budget and vary slightly in how aggressively the service would be in its efforts to proliferate unmanned systems into the fleet. A third option assumes up to $75 billion in real budget growth down the road. Read More

DOD’s Long and Winding Road to (Hopefully) Deploying an Enterprise Cloud

(Nextgov) The award date for the Pentagon’s latest multibillion-dollar pursuit to provide departmentwide commercial cloud services was recently delayed, pushing out the release of some capabilities to at least early-2023 – or roughly 4 years after the time initial deliveries were first slated under the original Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract. While Defense Department officials argue this prolongation is necessary to conduct due diligence for a modern multi-cloud contract that can align its capabilities with industry’s speed of innovation, some previous personnel are concerned about the potential consequences of yet another extension. Read More

More than AI or hypersonics, microelectronics dominate DARPA’s investments

(Breaking Defense) Flashy programs like hypersonic systems or altering human skin to be less attractive to mosquitos may get more public attention, but figures released by the military’s fringe R&D department today reveal that its money is really pouring into microelectronics. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to spend some $896 million on microelectronics, a total that is more than the combined figures for its second and third big money investment areas – biotech and artificial intelligence, respectively, at about $410 million each – in fiscal 2023, according to slides presented today by DARPA Director Stefanie Tompkins. Cyber projects come in fourth at $184 million, followed by hypersonics at $143 million and quantum research at $90 million. Read More

CMMC interim rule could land in May

(FCW) The Defense Department expects to release another interim rule this summer for its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, which aims to hold contractors accountable to keeping up with key cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive unclassified data. Stacy Bostjanick, the director for CMMC policy for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, said the department has to get through additional rulemaking processes before the program can be official. But the next step will be an interim rule expected in May. “Our anticipation is that we will be allowed to have another interim rule like we did last time, we’re hoping that that interim rule will go into effect by May.” Read More

DISA to Update Military Emergency Communications System

(ExecutiveGov) The Defense Information Systems Agency has crafted a strategy to help the Department of Defense implement an emergency response system for military personnel to communicate with 9-1-1 call centers via text message and video or voice calls. DISA said Monday it will work with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Emergency Communications Preparedness Center to secure DOD networks during the Next Generation 9-1-1 system transition process. The DOD NG911 modernization approach seeks to establish a standard for on-demand data collection, processing, storage, management and dissemination and management. The agency intends for the updated system to help military public safety answer points route Session Initiation Protocol-based communications over the DOD Information Network. Read More

The Political Appointee Pay Freeze Continues, and More

(Government Executive) The Office of Personnel Management on Tuesday issued guidance confirming that a long-running freeze on the pay of senior political appointees across the federal government will continue at least until the end of this year. For years, Congress has frozen the pay of political appointees at federal agencies making more than that of career feds in the Executive Schedule’s EX-IV salary, which this year is $176,300. That continued this year, although the repeated use of stopgap continuing resolutions to keep the government open while appropriators negotiated a full-year spending package for fiscal 2022 meant the freeze was extended through a series of short-term measures. Read More

Despite delay, experts not concerned by DOD’s JWCC cloud contract timeline

(FedScoop) Experts aren’t concerned that the Department of Defense is delaying the award of its multibillion-dollar enterprise cloud capability by several months, they told FedScoop. Originally planned for award in April, the DOD pushed its anticipated timeline for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability to December to allow more time to evaluate vendor proposals. JWCC will provide what the department and experts say is a much-needed enterprise cloud capability and move beyond the single-vendor model of the ill-fated Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) approach to a multi-vendor approach. In November, DOD invited four vendors to bid on contracts for the JWCC acquisition. Read More

Southwest Border: CBP Should Improve Data Collection, Reporting, and Evaluation for the Missing Migrant Program

( Migrants attempting to enter the U.S. illegally along the southwest border risk injury or death by crossing in remote areas. Border Patrol implemented the Missing Migrant Program to help rescue migrants in distress and reduce migrant deaths. In September 2021, Border Patrol issued procedures to, among other things, help standardize how the agency tracks reports of deceased migrants. But Border Patrol hasn’t collected or recorded complete data on migrant deaths and does not have a plan to evaluate how the program is working. We recommended that Border Patrol address these issues. Read More

Pandemic Decision-Making Is Difficult and Exhausting – Here’s the Psychology that Explains Why

(Government Executive) You want to sit down for an indoor dinner with friends. A couple of years ago, this was a simple enough activity that required minimal planning. However, that is not the case in today’s world. Many people now face a stream of further considerations about benefits and risks. Will I enjoy the experience? What are the potential downsides? Am I comfortable with the restaurant’s pandemic-related policies? What’s the ventilation like? Is it very busy there at this time of day? Am I planning to see lots of people, or people with compromised immune systems, in the near future? This is exhausting! Read More

Icy Europa’s mysterious double ridges may hint at hidden pockets of water

( A ridge etched into the ice sheet of Greenland provides an unexpected hint that plentiful pockets of water may be trapped just underneath the surface of Jupiter’s ice-covered moon Europa, one of the solar system’s likeliest candidates to host microbial life. The surface of Europa, one of Jupiter’s four main moons, is covered with a 15-mile-thick (20 kilometers) ice crust, underneath which scientists believe an ocean swashes. But there might be scientific promises much closer to the frozen moon’s surface, according to a new study that found similarities between processes shaping the surface of the distant moon and Earth’s own icy Greenland. Read More

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