NewsBrief August 6, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: August 6, 2021

New AFCEC division key to nuclear infrastructure modernization

(U.S. Air Force) JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AFNS) — The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is centralizing its support of the Air Force’s multi-billion-dollar nuclear infrastructure portfolio with a new division. The nuclear enterprise division, or CFN, supports the Department of Defense’s nuclear triad by integrating modernization efforts for the two Air Force-led nuclear delivery systems — intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers. The initiative, led by AFCEC’s Col. Chris Stoppel, is a collaborative partnership with Air Force Global Strike Command, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s Detachment 10.
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DOE uses firmware machine learning to bolster electric grid cybersecurity

(fedscoop) The Department of Energy is integrating machine learning (ML) with a threat information-sharing tool it developed to find cybersecurity adversaries embedded in electric grid control systems. DOE‘s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC) consists of the Idaho, Argonne and Sandia national labs and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory — all working together on the Firmware Command and Control (FC2) project. Firmware is often vulnerable, permanent software present in industrial control systems and operational technology (OT), and INL partnered with software company Forescout to ensure FC2’s cyber data analytics could detect firmware-centric vulnerabilities with ML. Read More

Navy aims to tackle cross-domain data sharing in Project Overmatch

(FCW) The Navy is hoping to clear network and data hurdles at the tactical edge with its answer to Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2). Kelly McCool, the acting director for the Digital Warfare Office, said Project Overmatch, the Navy’s initiative to create an architecture to seamlessly send information across networks, platforms and domains, will first focus on understanding what data the tactical units need now and “stitch” it together. “What we’re really after is, much like our phones, having the ability to send information from point A to point B without caring about how it got to that place,” McCool said during a Aug. 2 panel discussion at the 2021 Sea Air Space Conference. “Being able to walk and have different Wi-Fi networks pick up our cell phone towers …that being seamless to us. That’s really what we need in our networking capabilities across the fleet.” Read More

Coast Guard launches new cyber strategy

(fedscoop) The Coast Guard will build more cyber teams to focus on the cybersecurity of maritime critical infrastructure from attacks after a rash of hacks and ransomware incidents that shut down key services, the service’s top cyber officer announced Tuesday. Its new Cyber Strategic Outlook was developed over the past 18 months and is the first update to the Coast Guard’s cyber strategy since it was signed in 2015. The changes come amid concerns over the increased vulnerability of critical infrastructure and uptick in attacks like the Colonial Pipeline ransomeware incident, Rear Adm. Michael Ryan, commander of the Coast Guard’s Cyber Command said at the Sea-Air-Space conference. “It really is about revitalizing the focus of our organization,” he said. Read More

What’s Holding Your Data Program Back?

(MITSloan) In my career, I’ve spent more than 25 years helping companies with their data and data quality programs. Beginning in 2018, I undertook a broad-based research effort to understand why, so many years into the digital revolution, progress in the data space is so slow. This article synthesizes a review of my clients’ and others’ successes and failures, discussions with dozens of experts in data and analytics, and study groups that dived deeply into various aspects of the topic. The headline result: Today’s organizations are unfit for data. Until companies address the underlying issues, progress will remain halting and uncertain. Read More

NASA Launches X-ray Spectrometer Mission to Probe Mysteries of Solar Corona

(NASA) NASA researchers successfully launched a sophisticated X-ray solar imager on a brief but potentially illuminating suborbital flight via sounding rocket to gather new insight regarding how and why the Sun’s corona grows so much hotter than the actual surface of Earth’s parent star. Developers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, call the mission “MaGIXS” – short for Marshall Grazing Incidence X-ray Spectrometer. It launched from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico at 2:20 p.m. EDT on July 30. The MaGIXS mission dispatched its payload – which included a high-powered camera, telescope, and X-ray spectrometer containing a matched pair of grazing incidence parabolic mirrors – to study so-called “soft” X-rays at a wavelength that hasn’t been previously observed in such detail. Read More

Talking Robot Boxes at Norwegian Hospital a Hit with Sick Kids

(aitrends) The “Automated Guided Vehicles” at St. Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim, Norway, have personalities. The boxes talk. These motorized units, essentially boxes on wheels, are assigned to transport garbage, medical equipment or food from one part of the hospital to another. But because they have to interact with humans, such as by warning them to get out of the way, they have to talk. But instead of using a generic Norwegian voice, the hospital robot developers decided to give them a voice that uses the strong, distinctive local dialect, according to an account in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. And in so doing, the developers gave the stainless-steel boxes rolling around the hospital to transport goods, a personality. And they made the robots kind of pushy, a little rude. Read More