NewsBrief: August 19, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: August 19, 2022

DARPA Critical Minerals Competition Uses AI to Accelerate Analytics

(DARPA) The United States depends on a variety of raw, non-fuel materials dubbed “critical minerals” to manufacture products considered essential to national security. These products can range from rare earth minerals in electric motors and generators, to the carbon fiber used for airplanes. Increasing demand, coupled with limited domestic supply and increasing reliance on foreign companies to import these critical minerals, poses significant risks to the U.S. supply chain. DARPA has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to explore the potential for machine learning and artificial intelligence tools and techniques to accelerate critical mineral assessments. The goal is to significantly speed up the assessment of the nation’s critical mineral resources by automating key steps in the process. Read More

Army once again delays newest release of its pay and personnel system overhaul

(Federal News Network) The Army is delaying the further release of its massive human resources and benefits IT program for the second time in a year, citing issues with stress tests and soldier feedback. The Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army (IPPS-A) is the service’s attempt to consolidate dozens of duplicative pay and benefits systems, give soldiers mobile access to human resources information and unveil new features to soldiers like a talent marketplace to help them find their next station. The program, however, has hit a snag on its third release — preceding releases broke ground on IPPS-A and gave some initial program aspects to members of the National Guard. Read More

Trade Agency Wants To Know Where US Stands in Global AI Marketplace

(NextGOV) The International Trade Administration wants a better understanding of the global marketplace for artificial intelligence tools and resources and the policies that would affect U.S. sales abroad. The agency—part of the Commerce Department—posted a request for comment on Tuesday in the Federal Register seeking “broad input from all interested stakeholders—including U.S. industry, researchers, academia and civil society—on the potential opportunities for and challenges to increasing U.S. export competitiveness for AI-enabled technologies.” ITA has two goals with regards to AI internationally: ensuring the U.S. remains a leader in this space, while promoting “innovative and trustworthy AI systems that respect human rights, democratic values, and are designed to enhance privacy protections,” the notice states. Read More

Army to kick off ‘bring your own device’ pilot in coming weeks

(FedScoop) The Army is about to begin a pilot for implementing a “bring your own device” (BYOD) concept that will allow soldiers to connect their personal communication and IT devices to Army networks. The effort will begin in September or early October, according to Lt. Gen. John Morrison Jr., deputy chief of staff, G-6, who serves as the principal military adviser to Army leadership for planning, strategy and implementation of command, control, communications, computers, cyber and information technology for worldwide operations. Read More

GSA Announces Travel Per Diem Rates, and More

(Government Executive) The General Services Administration on Wednesday announced a slight increase in lodging per diem rates for traveling federal employees in fiscal 2023. Each fiscal year, GSA updates the reimbursement rates it offers federal employees who travel on official business, based on the average daily rate at hotels in each region of the continental United States. After keeping rates flat for 2022 due to falling hotel prices amid the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning Oct. 1, the agency will increase the base lodging rate from $96 per night to $98 per night. Read More

DOD Releases Policy Outlining Principles of Official Social Media Use

(Executive GOV) The Department of Defense has released a policy that outlines the core principles of social media use across the Pentagon to ensure transparency and proper dissemination of information while maintaining trust in the credibility of the U.S. military. The policy, titled “Official Use of Social Media for Public Affairs Purposes,” provides departmentwide guidance that specifically addresses the use and management of official DOD social media accounts to maintain the professionalism of online posts and interactions, the Pentagon reported Monday. Official DOD social media posts must be accurate, appropriate, timely, delivered in the proper tone and approved for public release. Read More

Military Personnel: Armed Forces Should Clarify Tattoo Policies’ Waiver Guidance

(GAO) The armed forces have policies on the content, size, and location of allowable tattoos. As tattoos have become more common, policies have become less restrictive on size and location. Current policies allow tattoos almost anywhere except the head. Armed forces recruitment and retention data doesn’t include information that would allow us to assess whether tattoo policies have an effect on recruitment and retention. Most services allow waivers for certain unauthorized tattoos for recruits and current service members. However, policies aren’t clear about when waivers are available or how to request them. Our recommendations address these issues. Read More

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