NewsBrief: August 12, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: August 12, 2022

US Army’s ‘Lethality Task Force’ looks to save lives with AI

(C4ISRNET) As the Pentagon seeks to modernize its weapons program, artificial intelligence and autonomous robots could hold the key to improving the lethality and performance of close combat units. Front-line infantry service members have long suffered casualties in higher proportion to other positions, with infantry soldiers comprising 90% of U.S. military combat deaths since World War II. During the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis created the Pentagon’s Close Combat Lethality Task Force to examine capability shortfalls to address what he saw as decades-long gaps in the equipping and training of close-combat units. While leadership of the task force now falls to the Army rather than the secretary of defense, the initiative continues to look at shortfalls across multiple services’ small units. Read More

How three agencies cope with funding uncertainty under continuing resolutions

(Federal News Network) Although continuing resolutions (CRs) can slow hiring, create funding uncertainty and cause administrative burdens, some agencies have found a few ways to circumvent the challenges and continue providing services without many major disruptions. The federal government has operated on CRs for all but three out of the last 46 years, the Government Accountability Office wrote in an Aug. 1 report. Congress has enacted 47 CRs just since 2010, lasting about three months on average. Congress often passes CRs to continue funding the government at the previous fiscal year’s funding level and to avoid a government shutdown. As members of Congress start to brace for a potential CR this year, GAO took a closer look at how some agencies manage to continue operating their programs during CRs. Read More

Army seeks data as it fields Next Generation Squad Weapons

(Army Times) Armaments Research Co. will provide U.S. soldiers with real-time data on the health and readiness of the rifles that the service has recently selected for its close combat force under the Next Generation Squad Weapons program, the company announced in a news release Wednesday. The platform built by the small data and technology company will use an Internet of Things system to monitor individual weapons at scale, according to the release. “The resulting insights will enable units to regularly assess weapons’ health, reduce failure rates, extend the lifetime of a weapon and optimize maintenance plans, enhancing performance and reducing costs,” the company stated in the release. Read More

Former CISA chief wants a new, cross-cutting new agency to lead federal cyber

(FCW) The federal government should establish a new “U.S. Digital Agency” to counter risks associated with emerging digital threats and to further bolster national security around privacy and data management, according to the first-ever director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Former CISA chief Chris Krebs called on Congress to “make a smarter, more efficient, more organized government” by reassessing how federal agencies confront digital challenges, as well as the organizational structures that make up the federal cyber landscape. Krebs told an audience at the Black Hat computer security conference on Wednesday that he was working with a digital team at the global nonprofit Aspen Institute to provide lawmakers with recommendations on how the U.S. can better protect its cyber assets and public digital privacy, including a new agency “focused on empowering better digital risk management services.” Read More

Pentagon advisers want DoD to build out agreements between small and large defense businesses

(Federal News Network) For the past thirty years, Congress has continued to renew the Defense Department’s Mentor-Protégé Program — but only as a pilot. The program, which pairs up established defense companies with small businesses for mutually beneficial gains, has been continually saved from the chopping block by lawmakers since 1991. Now, after an in-depth look from outside business experts, the Defense Business Board is recommending Congress make the program permanent once DoD makes a few tweaks. Farooq Mitha, director of DoD’s Office of Small Business Programs, told members of the board on Tuesday that small business involvement in Pentagon contracting is more important than ever as the military works to counter near-peer adversaries like China and Russia. Read More

DOD eyeing ‘transformational’ edge computing, fog computing tech

(FedScoop) The Pentagon is exploring new collaborations with technology companies that can provide potentially game-changing edge and fog computing capabilities to support military missions. Defense Department platforms that underpin multi-domain operations rely on sensors that capture huge volumes of data about equipment and their operating environments. While edge computing solutions enable real-time sensor data processing near the source and the ability to generate insights from what’s captured at various connectivity levels, fog computing assets mediate between data and the cloud where it is processed for different purposes, like for data filtering or management. Read More

AI pilot can navigate crowded airspace

(Science Daily) A team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University believe they have developed the first AI pilot that enables autonomous aircraft to navigate a crowded airspace. The artificial intelligence can safely avoid collisions, predict the intent of other aircraft, track aircraft and coordinate with their actions, and communicate over the radio with pilots and air traffic controllers. The researchers aim to develop the AI so the behaviors of their system will be indistinguishable from those of a human pilot. “We believe we could eventually pass the Turing Test,” said Jean Oh, an associate research professor at CMU’s Robotics Institute (RI) and a member of the AI pilot team, referring to the test of an AI’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to a human. Read More

How to Use Next-Generation AI for Disease Diagnostics

(IoT For All) The accuracy of disease diagnostics has a direct impact on medical treatment and its efficiency. By leveraging AI diagnostics, medical specialists can competently assess patient information, analyze large volumes of data, and make the best decisions in each situation. Let’s dive into the most common ways artificial intelligence can help physicians with disease diagnosis. Medical imaging requires complex equipment and skilled experts who can interpret CT or MRI scans. In the U.S., medicals professionals perform 30 million MRI scans each year, according to statistics, and AI diagnostics can help them with this task in the following ways: Read More

How one Navy warship is taking ‘busting rust’ to a whole new level

(Navy Times) Warship rust is a perennial point of debate among active-duty and veteran surface fleet sailors. Some argue that a bit of rust following a long underway reflects the hard work that the vessel and its crew undertook, while others think rusty gray hulls are “unsat” by their very nature and project a shabby version of U.S. military might. Out in the West Pacific waters of U.S. 7th Fleet, the Japan-based guided-missile destroyer Benfold has taken a novel approach to the problem by standing up a team of sailors devoted exclusively to busting rust, priming and painting the ship six-days-a-week, even as it operates in some of the globe’s hottest waters. Read More

Surprise, surprise: Subsurface water on Mars defy expectations

(Mars Daily) A new analysis of seismic data from NASA’s Mars InSight mission has revealed a couple of surprises. The first surprise: the top 300 meters of the subsurface beneath the landing site near the Martian equator contains little or no ice. “We find that Mars’ crust is weak and porous. The sediments are not well-cemented. And there’s no ice or not much ice filling the pore spaces,” said geophysicist Vashan Wright of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Wright and three co-authors published their analysis in Geophysical Research Letters. “These findings don’t preclude that there could be grains of ice or small balls of ice that are not cementing other minerals together,” said Wright. “The question is how likely is ice to be present in that form?” Read More

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