NewsBrief: April 26, 2024

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 26, 2024

Missile Defense Agency’s new long-range radar steps toward full deployment

(Breaking Defense) The Missile Defense Agency’s long-awaited Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) will soon begin its transition to full operational status with the US Space Force — a year-long process expected to wrap up in the early 2025, according to an MDA spokesperson. “MDA has a well-established weapon system fielding process,” the spokesperson told Breaking Defense, that focuses on “operations and maintenance checkouts.” The LRDR’s final “Operations Acceptance” by the Space Force is planned for the second quarter of fiscal 2025, the spokesperson added. Read More

GAO Outlines Recommendations to Improve Federal Audit Clearinghouse Information, Usability

(ExecutiveGov) The Government Accountability Office has found in a new report that the Federal Audit Clearinghouse responsible for reviewing federal grant audits cannot identify recipients that did not submit a single audit, providing federal agencies with inadequate data to conduct oversight. GAO also found that the Office of Management and Budget has not designated an entity to initiate a government-wide single audit quality review since 2007 and recommended that the office conduct such a review at a regular interval. Read More

House panel advances bill to make federal contracting easier to understand

(Government Executive) Reps. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., and Shri Thanedar, D-Mich., say that their Plain Language in Contracting Act is meant to ensure that small businesses have access to federal contracting opportunities. Introduced last Monday, the proposal would require agencies to use plain language in certain procurement notices pertaining to small businesses, like requests for proposals and solicitations. “It shouldn’t be as hard as the federal government makes it for America’s small businesses to apply for and to win a federal contract,” LaLota said during a House Committee on Small Business markup last week. Read More

Commerce seeks insight on how to make its data more AI-friendly

(NextGov/FCW) The U.S. Department of Commerce wants to make its open dataset reserves better primed to help train generative artificial intelligence systems and further democratize access to technological resources needed to create trustworthy and reliable AI and machine learning systems. Outlined in a request for information published on April 17, Commerce is asking for comments in the form of recommendations and suggestions from industry experts on how to best structure and distribute the public data produced by the agency. Read More

From F-16s to NATO, Argentina’s moves tilt West, but ties to China to last

(Breaking Defense) The surprise decision by Argentina to seek a rare partner status with NATO, coupled with Buenos Aires’s recent choice of Dutch F-16s for its next fighter fleet over Chinese rivals, appears to have handed the West some clear victories in a tug of war with Beijing over influence in the South American nation. But analysts told Breaking Defense the game is long, and China has many cards — especially economic and commercial ones — still in hand. “China is still China, and Argentina is still very much not out of the woods regarding its economic panorama. Read More

Agencies’ headquarters in DC remained ‘nearly empty’ in 2023, real-estate board finds

(Federal News Network) Agencies are overlooking a prime opportunity to reduce the size of the federal real estate footprint and save billions of dollars in the process. That’s coming from the Public Buildings Reform Board, an independent agency focused on selling valuable, but underutilized government buildings. It finds agencies have more office space than the federal workforce needs, and the cost of maintaining this space keeps increasing. The board, in an interim report to Congress last month, said the “status quo of nearly empty federal buildings is not financially or politically sustainable.” Read More

Citizen scientist captures final moments of comet during solar eclipse

(Space Daily) On the morning of 8 April 2024, a citizen scientist discovered a comet in images from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), coinciding with the historic identification of the 5000th comet by SOHO. This newly found comet, designated Comet SOHO-5008, was not just another number in the catalog. Karl Battams, of the US Naval Research Lab and manager of the SOHO Sungrazer Project, had anticipated that Comet SOHO-5008 would appear during the total solar eclipse on the same day, which darkened skies over parts of the United States and Mexico. Read More

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