NewsBrief April 9, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: April 9, 2021

DoD Employees: Maximum Telework Makes Us More Productive

(FEDweek) Large majorities of DoD employees say they have been at least as productive if not more so under maximum telework and that they want to continue teleworking at a higher rate than before the pandemic, a survey conducted by the inspector general’s office there has found. Nearly 49,000 DoD civilian employees plus some 7,000 military personnel responded to the survey, in which 47 percent said that their productivity had increased and another 41 percent said it was the same. They most commonly credited “fewer interruptions and distractions” and said that teleworking “eliminated unnecessary meetings and forced process improvements, such as moving from paper to electronic processes, increasing efficiency,” the report said. Read More

DOD bets big on financial data to improve business performance

(FCW) The Defense Department is betting that financial data will help improve its business operations from optimizing the workforce to divesting of legacy systems. Gregory Little, DOD’s deputy comptroller for enterprise data and business performance, said the new organization aims to use data analytics to improve business processes, decision making and digital transformation. “We’ve put a lot of focus right now on, as we think about modernization, how we simplify processes, improve data quality, and automate,” Little said during an April 6 virtual FedInsider event hosted by Breaking Defense. Read More

US Army embarks on competitive prototyping journey for Arctic vehicle

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is embarking on a competitive prototyping effort to acquire a new, all-terrain vehicle that can operate in the Arctic, with evaluations to take place in Alaska this year, according to Tim Goddette, the program executive officer of the service’s combat support and combat service support. The service awarded contracts to two vendors: a team of American firm Oshkosh Defense and the land systems division of Singapore’s ST Engineering; and a team of two BAE System units, Land and Armaments as well as BAE Hagglunds. They will provide prototypes for a cold-weather, all-terrain vehicle, or CATV, in the second quarter of fiscal 2021, Goddette told Defense News in written responses to questions. The deadline to deliver prototypes is June 14. Read More

Valkyrie drone launches even smaller drone from inside payload bay

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — The Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie drone successfully launched an even smaller unmanned aircraft from inside its internal weapons bay on March 26, the U.S. Air Force announced Monday. During the Valkyrie’s sixth flight test at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, it opened its payload bay doors during flight for the first time and released an ALTIUS-600, a small, tube-launched autonomous drone made by Area-I, a Georgia-based company that designs unmanned aerial systems. The Valkyrie is an “attritable” drone, the word the military uses for an asset that can be reused but is cheap enough that a commander would expect and be comfortable with a certain amount of losses while in combat. Read More

Why machine learning, not artificial intelligence, is the right way forward for data science

(TechRepublic) We bandy about the term “artificial intelligence,” evoking ideas of creative machines anticipating our every whim, though the reality is more banal: “For the foreseeable future, computers will not be able to match humans in their ability to reason abstractly about real-world situations.” This is from Michael I. Jordan, one of the foremost authorities on AI and machine learning, who wants us to get real about AI. Read More

Regulatory Compliance Must Be Addressed With Multiple Techniques Including Machine Learning

(Forbes) Stopping attacks on systems is only one area of security. Data privacy is an arena where governments are becoming more and more involved in legislating. In addition, standards organizations have created data privacy and security rules companies can follow in order to let partners and customers know that data is being protected. Compliance policies to manage complex security and data issues are, no surprise, also complex. Just as we’ve discussed how network security can be aided by machine learning (ML), so too can the higher level issues of compliance management. Security involves more than using software to detect and stop internet attacks. While the software is important, and more often being enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI), that is only a small component – even in the security of software systems. Read More

NASA expands the ways people can experience one of its major facilities virtually

(Federal News Network) NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland will, for the first time, offer virtual tours, to bring and interactive experience to people at home. NASA experts will lead the online tours, and they’ll feature a live Q-and-A. Federal Drive with Tom Temin‘s Eric White spoke with Glenn Research Center’s Debbie Lockhart. Read More

Federal astronomers now determining where fast radio bursts come from

(Federal News Network) They’re out there in the universe – bursts of radio energy coming from distant galaxies. These fast radio bursts (FRBs) were first identified a few years ago. Now, thanks in large measure to the work of Dr. Matthew Kerr, we know exactly where in the cosmos at least some of these FRBs originate. Kerr is a research physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and he joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin for more details. Read More

These selfies of NASA’s Mars helicopter with the Perseverance rover are just amazing

( gorgeous new photo mosaic shows NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter as you’ve never seen them before. Perseverance watches over the little chopper like a doting parent in the image, which citizen scientist Seán Doran stitched together from 62 photos taken on Tuesday (April 6) by the car-sized rover. It took a few hours to make the mosaic, which Doran posted today via his Twitter account, @_TheSeaning. He said he put the constituent images through a “de-noise, repair and upscale process” prior to combining them. Read More

Innovative Work Cultures Know the Difference Between ‘Leader’ and ‘Manager’

(MITSloan) “A leader without followers is just someone out for a walk.” Various versions of this saying, often attributed to author John C. Maxwell, are frequently used to encourage people in power to focus on inspiring others. But if you listen within many companies today, you may get the sense that a lot of them have forgotten — or never learned — the lesson in the adage. Working with a wide range of organizations, I’ve come to see that overuse of the term leader often renders it nearly meaningless. Too many of the people given this moniker aren’t doing anything to inspire followers. Sure, they have some power in the hierarchy. But they’re not leading anyone anywhere. Read More