NewsBrief April 5, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 5, 2019

New bills look to lock in health coverage for feds during shutdowns

(Federal Computer Week) Lawmakers in both chambers want to make sure, in the event of future shutdowns, federal employees’ health benefits are not interrupted. Insurance premiums are deducted from employee paychecks. During shutdowns, employees aren’t paid, which means that in some cases they have to pay premiums directly to carriers. Read More

Air Force enlists ethical hackers to target maintenance system from the inside

(fedscoop) What happens if an airman or other Air Force personnel “went rogue” and wreaked havoc on one of the service’s most important IT systems for maintaining its weapons technology? The Air Force asked bug bounty company Synack to bring in ethical, “white hat” hackers to look at just that, asking them to act as someone with inside access and identify vulnerabilities in its Reliability and Maintainability Information System. Read More

Blueprint For A More Effective NATO

(Breaking Defense) As NATO celebrates its 70th year, the most important question to consider is, what has been the secret to the alliance’s longevity? In essence, it is the triumvirate of integrated strategy, defense planning, and command structure that distinguish NATO from other international security organizations and give it more staying power than ad hoc coalitions of the willing. For those, like me, who believe in the power of alliances and partnerships to augment and underpin national power, how can these three competencies be energized to ensure NATO’s relevance into the future? Read More

GSA Redefines ‘Pay As You Go’ Terms As Part of Cloud SIN Refresh

(Nextgov) The General Services Administration is urging IT services vendors to update their offerings on IT Schedule 70 to account for the recent refresh of the cloud special item number and alerting contractors and agencies of a weedy—but still significant—change to how the government defines “pay as you go” contracts. Read More

House votes to end support for Yemen war, sending bill to Trump’s desk

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday voted to end American involvement in the Yemen war, rebuffing the Trump administration’s support for the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to veto it. The White House says the measure raises “serious constitutional concerns,” and Congress lacks the votes to override him. Read More

US Air Force defends F-15X buy to skeptical Inhofe, Reed

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — U.S. Air Force officials on Thursday defended their reversal to pursue Boeing’s F-15X, a fourth-generation fighter jet, saying it will not derail plans to buy Lockheed Martin’s F-35, a fifth-generation fighter jet. At a Senate Armed Services Committee on the Air Force’s fiscal 2020 budget request, the service’s top official said the decision to seek eight F-15X aircraft is a short-term patch, as 800 fewer F-35s are operational than planned. They pitched the move as the most cost-effective way to replace the retiring F-15C Eagle, using the same hangers, equipment and maintainers. Read More

Saab wins ULCAS Contract for Canada | Lebanon receives six ScanEagles | US to deliver 24 MH-60R to India

(Defense Industry Daily) The US Navy contracted external link Vigor Marine $14.8 million in support of the USNS Yukon, a Henry J. Kaiser Class Replenishment oiler. The Kaiser Class Ships external link carry jet fuel, diesel fuel and lubricating oil as well as fresh and frozen provisions, stores, potable water and other items. The ships perform underway replenishment of US Navy warships and aircraft aboard the aircraft carriers. The Yukon was laid in 1991, launched in 1993 and entered service in March 1994. During the 81-calendar day shipyard availability, work will include general services, miscellaneous steel repair, starboard main engine 12K overhaul, various pump overhauls, lifeboats davit repair and maintenance, tank preservation, air compressor groom, steel replacement on level doors, flight deck non-skid renewal and tank deck overhead preservation. Work will take place in Portland, Oregon and is scheduled to be completed by July 15, 2019. Read More

Teaching computers to intelligently design ‘billions’ of possible materials

(ScienceDaily) Discovering how atoms — such as a single layer of carbon atoms found in graphene, one of the world’s strongest materials — work to create a solid material is currently a major research topic in the field of materials science, or the design and discovery of new materials. At the University of Missouri, researchers in the College of Engineering are applying one of the first uses of deep learning — the technology computers use to intelligently perform tasks such as recognizing language and driving autonomous vehicles — to the field of materials science. Read More

Airplane Wing Assembles Like a Jigsaw Puzzle and Can Morph Into Any Shape

(LiveScience) A new type of airplane wing assembled like a jigsaw puzzle could make for lighter, more efficient aircraft. NASA and Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers tested the wing design in a NASA wind tunnel, where the technology performed better than expected, Benjamin Jenett, one of the wing’s developers and a graduate student at MIT, said in a statement. The new wing is light and flexible, able to adjust its shape midflight depending on the needs of the pilot. Read More