NewsBrief: April 29, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 29, 2022

Pentagon’s flagship AI effort, Project Maven, moves to NGA

(Breaking Defense) Once the Pentagon’s top-priority program to speed the use of artificial intelligence across the military, Project Maven is now being transferred to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, according to senior Intelligence Community officials. “At the end of last month, the White House delivered President [Joe] Biden’s budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2023. In there, you may have noticed something interesting. In the budget, NGA gains operational control of Project Mavens’s GEOINT AI services and capabilities from the Office of Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security,” said Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, NGA’s outgoing director. Read More

State Department taps assessment-based hiring process for data scientists

(FCW) The State Department is looking to hire at least 50 data scientists using an assessment-based hiring process called the subject matter expert qualification assessments, or SME-QA. So far, it appears to be going well—the department’s first job posting opened April 22, and by the end of the day, the 250 applicant cap had been maxed out. The department upped that maximum to 400 and re-opened the announcement on Tuesday, said Joel Nantais, chief data scientist at the department. That opening closed Tuesday when it hit 400 applicants. Read More

DHS Finishes First Phase of Bug Bounty Program; Alejandro Mayorkas Quoted

(ExecutiveGOV) The Department of Homeland Security has concluded the first phase of its inaugural Hack DHS bug bounty program, with $125,600 in prizes awarded to successful cybersecurity researchers. The DHS said Friday 450 participating ethical hackers identified 122 cybersecurity vulnerabilities within select external agency systems, with 27 considered by officials as critical weaknesses. The second phase of Hack DHS will focus on in-person hacking while the third and final phase will involve informing future bug bounty programs. Read More

Data visibility, granularity, accuracy are keys to better PPBE

(Federal News Network) That famous military aphorism – no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy – could also apply to Defense Department budget planning. The process, formally known as Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Executing, or PPBE, takes place over a five year horizon. And anything can happen to affect plans. Especially in times of great technological change and the transformation of the military across a number of domains, long term planning and budgeting become particularly problematic. Read More

Army attempt to modernize IT for multi-domain ops is establishing milestones, filling in top leaders

(Federal News Network) The Army says it is establishing concrete methods at top levels to move plans forward with an IT modernization that will create the network needed for joint operations in the future. The service is working on the governance of its Unified Network, it is also directing personnel to important areas of the program and establishing milestones to do a final push on the barrier between strategic and tactical networks. Read More

GSA Is Launching a New Tool to Simplify the Federal Buying Process

(Government Executive) The General Services Administration is launching a new tool to help simplify the federal buying process, providing the acquisition community with streamlined market research, searchable templates and interactive resources. Sonny Hashmi, commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, announced the launch of on Tuesday afternoon and said in a blog post that the buyer experience tool “was built using human-centered design to address pain points in the acquisition process.” Read More

Innovation in federal agencies is hard, but possible with these tips

(Federal News Network) A few months ago, Sultan Meghji walked out the door of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for the last time. The FDIC’s first chief innovation officer gave up after just 12 months of effort to try to bring some innovation to the federal financial sector. If you read his commentary in Bloomberg published the day he left, it was clear he was frustrated and had a sense of despair. Meghji told the Federal Drive with Tom Temin in April about why he left with what he called a “bruise on his forehead.” Read More

Questions to Ask When Hiring Former Federal Workers

(Government Executive) ASRC Federal has lost its argument to swing a $224.1 million NASA contract in its direction after alleging the winning contractor had an organizational conflict of interest. The Government Accountability Office was not convinced by ASRC Federal’s claim that a RSi-QuantiTech joint venture’s proposal was conflicted because of a former NASA employee that now works at one of its teammates. Both companies were competing to provide engineering and support services at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The contract goes by the name Marshall Engineering Technicians and Trades Support III. Read More

Algorithm Could Save Hours of Analyzing Animal Behavior

(Nextgov) A new method uses artificial intelligence to analyze animal behavior, which could lead to longer-term in-depth studies in the field of behavioral science. In addition, the advance helps to improve animal welfare. The method is already in testing at the Zurich Zoo. Researchers engaged in animal behavior studies often rely on hours upon hours of video footage that they manually analyze. Usually, this requires researchers to work their way through recordings spanning several weeks or months, laboriously noting down observations on the animals’ behavior. Read More

Helicopter Thief Convicted for Flying without a License

(AINonline) A man with a previous conviction for helicopter theft in 2000 has again been found guilty on charges of flying a Robinson R22 out of his backyard without an FAA pilot certificate. Antonio Santonastaso, 62, of East Brookfield, Massachusetts, was convicted earlier this month by a federal jury of one count of serving as an airman without an airman certificate, one count of making false statements to federal agents, and one count of attempted witness tampering. He could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for October 5. He was originally indicted in May 2019. Read More

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