NewsBrief: April 28, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 28, 2023

Army moves forward with streamlining software acquisition

(Federal News Network)
After five years of struggles to streamline and modernize the Defense Department’s software acquisition programs, the process may finally be catching some tailwind. The Army now has scheduled deliveries for several software acquisitions, with more to follow. Additionally, it will soon start an expert cell to improve requirements for intellectual property (IP) licensing. Officials say it might not be time to declare victory, but they have moved the ball farther down the field. “These programs I’ve started to execute in the last one to two years, we’ve seen some great successes. We’ve also seen some challenge areas,” Margaret Boatner, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for strategy and acquisition reform, said at an AFCEA NOVA event last Friday. Read More

NOAA Acquisitions: Fully Aligning Procedures with Best Practices Could Improve the Reliability of Cost Estimates

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates costs before purchasing acquisitions, such as satellites, ships, computers, and facilities. The reliability of these cost estimates can be improved by using the best practices outlined in GAO’s cost estimating guide. The cost estimating procedures used by 2 NOAA offices that buy satellites and facilities weren’t fully aligned with GAO’s best practices. And 2 offices that purchase ships and computers didn’t document their procedures. We recommended that NOAA require its offices to have procedures that fully align with our best practices to reduce the risk of unreliable estimates. Read More

Space Force should look to the private sector to fill data gaps, watchdog says

A new Government Accountability Office report has tasked the Space Force with reforming its procurement process to leverage a growing commercial sector that can potentially aid the military branch in expanding its knowledge of objects in space. The Space Force currently uses Department of Defense sensors that are globally positioned on Earth and in space to collect data on objects and make predictions on potential collisions, and to better understand emerging threats in the contested environment of space. Read More

DHS moves to address the promise, and the perils, of AI

(Federal News Network)
The Department of Homeland Security is moving out on a multifaceted effort to address both the potential applications of artificial intelligence to DHS’ many missions and potential threats stemming from the diffusion of AI technologies, as the department’s top official looks to respond to rapid advances with ChatGPT and related technologies. In an April 20 memo, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas directed the establishment of an Artificial Intelligence Task Force to be co-led by Dimitri Kusnezov, under secretary for science and technology, and Eric Hysen, DHS’ chief information officer. Read More

AFRL wants white papers for $500M quantum information science solicitation

(Federal News Network)
The Air Force Research Lab is calling for new quantum information science solutions, including advanced algorithm designs and quantum networking, under a broad agency announcement unveiled Tuesday. The four-year, $500 million follow-on BAA is part of a two-part procurement where the Air Force’s scientific research component will solicit white papers outlining possible quantum information science solutions that could be applied to C4I—short for Command, Control, Communications, Computers & Intelligence-related information and communications technologies. Read More

Podcast | Artificial Intelligence will supercharge engineers rather than replace them

(New Civil Engineer)
The rise and rise in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in every part of our lives has led to questions about what it could mean for the way construction projects are planned, designed and delivered. In this episode of The Engineers Collective NCE editor Claire Smith is joined by NCE reporter Rob Hakimian as co-host as they speak to Dev Amratia, who is co-founder and CEO of nPlan, which is a machine learning company that uses AI to learn how completed construction projects performed to forecast the outcomes on future projects. Dev also worked with the government to launch and deliver the national review on AI, which was published as part of the Industrial Strategy in 2017. Read More

Dragon cloud’ holds clues about how the biggest stars in the galaxy are born

A massive, cold clump of material in the heart of the “Dragon cloud” is ready to form a single giant star, and astronomers got a rare glimpse of the event. The discovery provides a window into the mysterious process of how the most massive stars in the galaxy are born. Giant stars naturally play outsize roles in a galaxy. They consume a lot of material at their births, preventing smaller stars from forming nearby. They generate tremendous outflows over their (relatively short) lives, spewing material back into the interstellar environment. And when they die, they explode as spectacular supernovas, releasing heavy elements into the galactic mix for other stars to scoop up. Read More

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