NewsBrief: August 4, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: August 4, 2023

60 pages, 3 months of reviews cut from Aberdeen Proving Ground’s acquisition policy

(Federal News Network) The contract policy guide at the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground became a lot like a ship which needs to scrape the barnacles off every once in a while. The policy guide was weighing down the acquisition process and impacting ACC’s customers. Danielle Moyer, the executive director of the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, said her office cut 60 pages and three months of reviews from APG’s acquisition process. “We have the Federal Acquisition Regulations, we have in the Defense Department the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations, which is a FAR supplement for the Department of Defense. Then for the Army, we have the Army supplement to the FAR and to the DFARs.” Read More

State Department’s upcoming AI strategy looks to lay foundation for emerging tools

(Federal News Network) The Biden administration is laying the foundation for greater use of artificial intelligence tools across the federal government — but agencies are already charting a path for how federal employees will work with AI tools. The State Department is relying on AI tools to help its workforce go through a massive inventory of diplomatic cables and recommend documents to declassify. The department also plans to soon release its first enterprise AI strategy. Giorleny Altamirano Rayo, the State Department’s chief data scientist and responsible AI official, said the upcoming strategy will ensure trustworthy AI is part of the department’s focus on building up its data analytics capabilities. Read More

A new frontier for space in Australia with approval granted for a permanent commercial space launch facility in Koonibba

(Space Daily) Southern Launch and the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation will begin work on Australia’s first permanent commercial sub-orbital space launch facility after planning consent was granted for the Koonibba Test Range. Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp says, ‘The development of permanent, world-class facilities at the Koonibba Test Range will put Australia on the map as a space-faring nation. What we have to offer at Koonibba is unique, highly sought after and complements our orbital facility at Whalers Way. We have a long list of global customers ready to use the range and we’re excited about the incredible opportunities this presents for Koonibba and South Australia.’ Read More

Thermal imaging innovation allows AI to see through pitch darkness like broad daylight

(Science Daily) Researchers at Purdue University are advancing the world of robotics and autonomy with their patent-pending method that improves on traditional machine vision and perception. Zubin Jacob, the Elmore Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and research scientist Fanglin Bao have developed HADAR, or heat-assisted detection and ranging. Their research was featured on the cover of the July 26 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Nature. A video about HADAR is available on YouTube. Nature also has released a podcast episode that includes an interview with Jacob. Read More

DoD Issues Guidance for Employees’ Social Media Accounts

(FEDweek) 1. Use of Official Title, Government Position, or Official Photograph. SOCO continues to receive questions about whether DoD employees can refer to their government title or position, or display an official government photograph, on personal social media sites, particularly those sites that are used for professional networking. The Standards of Conduct for Executive Branch Employees prohibit employees from using their official title, position, or any authority associated with their public office for private gain or in any manner that would create an appearance that the Government sanctions or endorses their activities or those of another. (5 C.F.R. §§ 702; 807(b)) OGE LA 15-03 explicitly applies these standards to the use of personal social media. Read More

Make Your Case for Communication Upskilling

(MIT Sloan Review) Companies say they desperately want employees who can communicate effectively — leaders tell me that all the time in workshops — but how many of them really mean it? It’s hard to find a job posting that doesn’t mention the communication skill set as a key requirement. And yet, when faced with the skills that candidates actually have and those that they’re weak in, hiring managers find themselves making trade-offs, particularly to meet pressing technical needs: This guy can code like there’s no tomorrow, but his communication is a challenge. Let’s get him in here fast. We’ll coach him up. It can wait. Read More

AI is helping scientists reveal star ages. Here’s how

( A new machine-learning algorithm aims to provide improved measurements of stellar ages, allowing astronomers to better model how stars evolve. The algorithm is an AI version of a project called EAGLES, which stands for Estimating Ages from Lithium Equivalent Widths. EAGLES uses the lithium abundance of stars to determine their age. Previously, this work had been done by fitting data to graphs. With surveys producing more and more data, this task has grown time-consuming and complex, so an AI has been written to take on the job. Read More

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