NewsBrief August 30, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: August 30, 2019

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Is Finally 100% Assembled

( NASA’s next big space observatory has finally come together. Engineers have joined both halves of the $9.7 billion James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to launch in March 2021, NASA officials announced today (Aug. 28). “The assembly of the telescope and its scientific instruments, sunshield and the spacecraft into one observatory represents an incredible achievement by the entire Webb team,” Webb project manager Bill Ochs, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement. Read More

Space Command To Merge with NRO

(FEDweek) The U.S. Space Command will work in tandem with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) as a single entity. Speaking at an Aug. 20 meeting of the National Space Council outside Washington, D.C., retired Navy Rear Adm. Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, provided initial details of the arrangement. “After months of analysis and deliberations, the intelligence community and Department of Defense have agreed to align U.S. Space Command and the NRO into a new, unified defense concept of operations at the National Space Defense Center,” Maguire told the audience. Read More

TSA kicks off facial recognition trial in Las Vegas airport

(FCW) The Transportation Security Administration has launched a 30-day facial recognition trial at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Aug. 27. Under the proof-of-concept test, a camera-equipped credential authenticator will compare live images of a traveler with his or her documents “using a proprietary facial matching algorithm” for verification. Read More

IRS spent $1.2 million on unused data security software, auditors say

(FCW) The IRS has spent at least $1.2 million in software for components of a nearly decade-old data loss prevention (DLP) solution that still aren’t operational, according to a new oversight audit. The agency first began implementing a system to safeguard the personally identifiable information (PII) and account data of taxpayers in 2010. The system was originally designed to protect sensitive data at the agency in three states: while in motion (passing through internet routers and gateways), at rest (while stored in an internal database) and while being accessed by software systems or individual users. Read More

US State Department clears $4.2B in arms sales to Japan, SKorea, Hungary, Lithuania and Denmark

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department on Tuesday cleared more than $4.2 billion worth of potential weapons sales for Japan, South Korea, Hungary, Lithuania and Denmark. The sales, announced on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency website, would bring the total Foreign Military Sales cases cleared by the State Department to $51.9 billion with roughly five weeks to go in fiscal 2020. Read More

Czech military eyes Bell helos under $623M deal

(DefenseNews) WARSAW, Poland — The Czech defense ministry has announced its decision to purchase 12 UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters with related gear and services from Bell Helicopters under a deal estimated to be worth some 14.5 billion koruna ($623 million). Under the plan, the new copters will gradually replace the country’s outdated Soviet-designed Mil Mi-24 and Mi-35 helos, the ministry said in a statement. Read More

India cancels Jaguar upgrade over Honeywell’s $2.4B price tag

(DefenseNews) NEW DELHI — The Indian Air Force has dropped its plan to upgrade 80 Jaguar ground-attack fighters with new engines over the cost provided by American firm Honeywell. The service had planned to equip its Jaguar fighters with 280 new Honeywell-built F125IN turbofan engines, but the cost of some $2.4 billion was too expensive, a senior Air Force official said. The new engines were to be integrated on 80 Jaguars by Indian state-owned company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which wanted $3.12 million per installation, an equally expensive ask, he added. Read More

Researchers Find More Accurate Model for Estimating Patient Costs

(Revcycle Intelligence) Using single diagnostic codes and leveraging “present on admission” designations improved Medicare payment models, predicting total patients costs within 30 days of hospitalization better than the current grouped diagnostic code method, a study published in JAMA Open Network found. Changing the variables currently used by CMS in patient cost prediction models could have serious implications for research, benchmarking public reporting, and calculations of population-based payments in programs like Medicare Advantage, researchers said. Read More

The Hudson Tunnel Projects trims $1.4 billion with new financial plan

(Mass Transit) The project cost for the construction of a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River and the comprehensive rehabilitation of the existing 108-year-old tunnel will cost $1.4 billion less than previously anticipated, resulting in an estimated cost of $9.5 billion for the new tunnel and $1.8 billion for the rehabilitation. Read More

Patent and Trademark Office Seeks Info on AI Invention Patenting

(ExecutiveGov) The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is asking the public to submit input regarding the patenting of artificial intelligence intellectual property. USPTO hopes to determine whether it requires more examination guidance to increase the reliability of AI invention patenting, the office said Tuesday in a Federal Register notice. Read More