NewsBrief August 2, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: August 2, 2019

Why did the Pentagon spend $32.8M on risky tech?

(Fifth Domain) The Defense Department spent at least $32.8 million in fiscal 2018 on technology that could threaten national security, according to an inspector general’s report. The redacted report, titled “Audit of the DoD’s Management of the Cybersecurity Risks for Government Purchase Card Purchases of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Items,” was released July 26 and focuses on commercial off-the-shelf technology acquired by the Army and Air Force. Read More

GAO: Agencies Should Apply Risk Mgmt, Cybersecurity Practices

(ExecutiveGov) The Government Accountability Office has listed 58 recommendations to help agencies implement key practices in their respective risk management and cybersecurity initiatives. The recommendations include coordination with the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, development of a risk management process document, facilitation of organization-wide security assessments and modernization of risk evaluation policies, GAO said in a report published Thursday. Read More

New data shows the soaring cost of government contracts

(Federal Times) Pentagon spending on federal contracts soared in fiscal year 2018, accounting for about $373 billion of $559 billion in overall contracting spend from federal agencies, according to Bloomberg Government’s 8th annual top 200 contractors report. Read More

Why Future Jobs Will Require Data Analytics Skills

(Wharton) From a lone statistician toiling over narrowly defined problems for the marketing department, to a C-level executive overseeing a mission-critical area impacting every function of the company, the meaning of “data and analytics professional” has changed a lot in recent years. A. Charles Thomas’s career has reflected those developments. Read More

DOD’s global flight tracking system needs upgrades, Air Force says

(fedscoop) The U.S. Air Force wants to modernize the Department of Defense’s system for global flight information. The modernization effort for the Defense Aeronautical Information Portal (DAIP) would include creating a “one stop shop” with flight planning, briefing and filing functions, according to the Air Force’s request for information. Read More

Boeing: $85B Competition to Build New ICBMs Favors Northrop Grumman

(Defense One) Boeing said Thursday that it would not bid on what could be an $85 billion contract to build new nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, saying that the U.S. Air Force’s parameters favor Northrop Grumman, the only other company competing. Read More

FTA could improve rail transit project cost estimate information

(Mass Transit) A recent analysis performed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) looked at factors affecting the costs of rail transit projects and determined the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) could improve information on project cost estimates. Read More

Considering the Child Welfare System Burden From Opioid Misuse: Research Priorities for Estimating Public Costs

(AJMC) The negative impact of opioids on those who misuse them has been widely documented. Despite significant spillover effects in the form of elevated rates of child maltreatment and child welfare system (CWS) involvement for children affected by parental opioid misuse, the public costs of opioid misuse to the CWS remain largely undocumented. This work seeks to understand the value and limitations of public data in estimating the costs of the opioid epidemic on the CWS. National data from federal sources are combined with best estimates of the association between opioid misuse and child services system utilization. The limitations of this work are explored, and future research priorities are outlined. Read More

Malaysia Restarts Rail Project With China After Cost Cut

(Bloomberg) Malaysia restarted the China-linked East Coast Rail Link project on Thursday after downsizing building costs by a third to lighten the government’s debt burden. The rail project, led by China Communications Construction Co. and Malaysia Rail Link Sdn., was canceled a year ago by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s new government after he balked at the 65.5 billion ringgit ($16 billion) cost. He revived talks later and in April struck a deal with China to cut it down to 44 billion ringgit. Read More

Exoplanets at the Edge of Chaos: A New Way to Study Alien Worlds

( A new method of studying alien planets might allow scientists to determine if two-planet systems “at the edge of chaos” could host life. Since scientists first began observing exoplanets (short for extrasolar planets) in 1992, thousands more have been discovered. These distant worlds help scientists expand our understanding of the cosmos and tell us what, if any, life might exist beyond Earth. But, even though tools like NASA’s Kepler space telescope and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have made possible to discover many more exoplanets, scientists still face challenges when they try to determine the initial positions and velocities of exoplanets. Read More