NewsBrief April 26, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 26, 2019

Progress Is Finally Being Made on Security Clearance Backlog

(Government Executive) The security clearance backlog has been reduced by 32%, and is now down to just under 500,000 cases, according to National Background Investigations Bureau Director Charles Phalen, speaking before an audience of security professionals at the National Security Institute’s IMPACT seminar. Read More

Defense Logistics Agency to produce more automated bots

(Federal News Network) Bots powered by robotic process automation at the Defense Logistics Agency face limits based on the amount of time a human operator stays logged into the network. But the agency plans to ramp up its bot production this year and let them work well past closing time for most employees. John Lockwood, DLA’s RPA manager, said the agency has about 20 bots running, and another 30 in production. By the end of September, the agency will have at least 75 online. Read More

“Federal CISO Wants To Move Beyond ‘Whack-a-Mole’ Supply Chain Security

(Nextgov) Agencies need to trust the tech they buy from private industry is free of bugs and malware, but today’s approach to securing the federal IT supply chain is too narrow for any such guarantees, according to the country’s top cybersecurity official. Read More

FEMA Showed Weak Mastery of Contracts During Hurricane Response and Recovery

(Government Executive) Four agencies providing disaster relief following the triple hurricanes and California wildfires of 2017 failed to keep proper records of contracts with suppliers, rendering it impractical for the Government Accountability Office to fully track $5 billion in spending. Read More

DOD mulls incentives for vendors to report vulnerabilities

(FCW) The Defense Department wants its tech to be delivered uncompromised. But there are several obstacles to supply chain security, including lack of data from vendors on possible vulnerabilities. For Defense Security Service Counterintelligence Director William Stephens, “uncompromised” means capabilities sent to operating forces without “critical information and or technology being wittingly or unwittingly lost, stolen, denied, degraded or inappropriately given away or sold.” Or at the very least being able to account for how something took place, he said at an April 24 Center for Strategic and International Studies event on supply chain security. Read More

IRS’ Outdated App Security Leaves Taxpayers at Risk of Identity Theft, Watchdog Says

(Nextgov) The IRS is nearly a year behind on rolling out online security measures meant to prevent identity thieves from improperly accessing taxpayer data, according to an internal watchdog. The agency operates a full suite of web applications where the public can pay taxes, review documents and access numerous tax-related services, but many of the programs lack the latest electronic authentication controls, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in a recent report. Read More

How AI Could Change The Art Of War

(Breaking Defense) ARMY WAR COLLEGE: What happens when Artificial Intelligence produces a war strategy too complex for human brains to understand? Do you trust the computer to guide your moves, like a traveler blindly following GPS? Or do you reject the plan and, with it, the potential for a strategy so smart it’s literally superhuman? At this 117-year-old institution dedicated to educating future generals, officers and civilian wrestled this week with how AI could change the nature of command. (The Army invited me and paid for my travel.).Read More

Magnets can help AI get closer to the efficiency of the human brain

(ScienceDaily) Computers and artificial intelligence continue to usher in major changes in the way people shop. It is relatively easy to train a robot’s brain to create a shopping list, but what about ensuring that the robotic shopper can easily tell the difference between the thousands of products in the store? Read More

The Universe Is Expanding So Fast We Might Need New Physics to Explain It

( The universe is expanding faster than expected, suggesting that astronomers may have to incorporate some new physics into their theories of how the cosmos works, a new study reports. The revised expansion rate is about 10% faster than that predicted by observations of the universe’s trajectory shortly after the Big Bang, according to the new research. The study also significantly reduces the probability that this disparity is a coincidence, from 1 in 3,000 to just 1 in 100,000. Read More