NewsBrief August 13, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: August 13, 2021

Senators propose AI training for federal acquisition workforce

(fedscoop) A bipartisan duo of senators introduced a bill that would increase the federal acquisition workforce’s understanding of artificial intelligence by creating a training program for them on the risks and benefits of the technology. The AI Training for the Acquisition Workforce Act would give the Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration a year to stand up the program if passed. Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, proposed the legislation, part of a broader push by lawmakers to ensure the U.S. leads foreign competitors like China in the emerging sector while doing so ethically. Read More

What Will Decrease Training Deaths? More Training, GAO Says

(Government Executive) A number of high-profile training mishap deaths in recent years drew attention to the Defense Department’s resurging problem with non-combat fatalities. The number of deaths in training vehicle accidents has more than doubled over the last two reported years, after hitting a 10-year low of seven in 2017. After the Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicle accident that killed nine in July 2020 and the May 2019 death of Lt. Hugh Conor McDowell in a vehicle rollover, Congress requested that the Government Accountability Office report on these specific training deaths. Among the GAO’s findings, presented in a recent report, was that no “prescribed training regimen” is currently being implemented. Read More

Large Scale Exercise 2021 will be first major test of Navy’s live, virtual and constructive training environment

(DefenseNews) NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. – The Large Scale Exercise 2021 taking place across the globe is meant to validate the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps’ new operating concepts — but it’ll also be the biggest test yet of a live, virtual and constructive (LVC) training framework that has never been asked to connect so many players around the planet in real time. The LSE 21 exercise, which kicked off Aug. 3, includes 25,000 participants across 17 time zones — some at the tactical level on 25 ships at sea or at the pier, some at the headquarters level in Navy maritime operations centers or Marine Corps combat operations centers ashore and some in the middle at task groups and strike groups scattered around the world. Read More

State Department expands push to the cloud

(FCW) The State Department is looking to extend its push to the cloud, with an eye to transforming the way it pays for technology while modernizing its application portfolio and moving decisions about software closer to business owners. In an Aug. 6 request for information, the department said announced it “would like to shift development activities closer to the business owner” and an application platform as a service model (aPaaS) could support this transition by supplying tools to prototype, test and make decisions about applications quickly. Read More

How Air Force Materiel Command will help the Space Force

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force confirmed it will not have a servicing major command like the other armed services. Instead, it will rely on U.S. Air Force Materiel Command to provide that level of base operations support. Space Force leadership has stated since the service’s beginning that it plans to be a relatively lean, mission-focused organization, relying on the Department of the Air Force for most of its supporting functions, such as infrastructure logistics, security, and medical and chaplain services. According to an Aug. 4 announcement, the Space Force signed a memorandum of understanding and set up a programming plan that outlined how AFMC will support the new service. Read More

OPM, VA recount digital transformation hits and misses

(Federal News Network) The road to federal digital transformation is paved with more than good intentions. Siloed teams, inefficient legacy systems, massive amounts of data and unique customer needs await any agency embarking on the journey. Some organizations such as the Office of Personnel Management and Department of Veterans Affairs, have made notable progress in their digital transformation efforts by tackling these challenges head on. OPM is preparing to deploy a new human capital dashboard in phases within the next three to five months. Jason Barke, acting principal deputy associate director for its Employee Services, said staff are currently loading the platform, running usability and security testing to ensure data is sharable. Read More

Brain connectivity can build better AI

(aitrends) A new study shows that artificial intelligence networks based on human brain connectivity can perform cognitive tasks efficiently. By examining MRI data from a large Open Science repository, researchers reconstructed a brain connectivity pattern, and applied it to an artificial neural network (ANN). An ANN is a computing system consisting of multiple input and output units, much like the biological brain. A team of researchers from The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) and the Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute trained the ANN to perform a cognitive memory task and observed how it worked to complete the assignment. Read More