NewsBrief December 10, 2021

Posted by


Cost Estimating NewsBrief: December 10, 2021

Accounting for software in weapons systems

(FCW) The Defense Department is still trying to figure out the best way to buy software and track that spending – especially when it comes to software components of big-ticket weapons systems. One possible solution is separating out software and hardware costs, but that approach brings its own set of headaches. David Cadman, acting assistant secretary of defense for acquisition enablers, said at an industry conference that separating costs potentially solved some problems, but could work against the very type of flexibility and agility that defense leaders and their overseers in Congress are seeking. Read More

Pentagon creates new digital and artificial intelligence office

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department is creating a new position to oversee its digital and artificial intelligence activities, with the hope the office will be able to drive faster progress in those areas and meet threats posed by China, according to a senior defense official. The new chief digital and artificial intelligence officer, or CDAO, will directly report to the deputy defense secretary and oversee the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, the Defense Digital Service and the DoD’s chief data officer, according to a memo released Dec. 8. Today, those offices directly report to the deputy defense secretary, something the senior defense official said has led to disjointedness. Read More

DARPA Launches New AI Program to Advance Scientific Knowledge Extracting, Modeling

(ExecutiveGov) The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has announced a new program aimed at developing artificial intelligence tools to automate knowledge extraction and modeling to support data-informed decision-making in various missions and scientific domains. The Automating Scientific Knowledge Extraction and Modeling (ASKEM) program will build on the progress made in the first research opportunity under DARPA’s AI Exploration program that was intended to advance the development of scientific models, the Department of Defense’s research arm said Monday. ASKEM serves as a broader AI program aimed at creating an ecosystem that would allow subject matter experts to streamline the process of knowledge discovery, model creation and simulation. Read More

Artificial intelligence offers more than financial benefits for organizations.

(MITSloan) In 2020, MIT SMR and BCG research found that a mere 11% of organizations had achieved significant financial benefits with artificial intelligence. The following year, the research team set out to discover what other types of positive effects implementing AI technology might have on organizations. In the video below, David Kiron and François Candelon, coauthors of the 2021 MIT SMR-BCG artificial intelligence and business strategy report, “The Cultural Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise,” joined journalist Rob Pegoraro to discuss the key findings from that study. Read More

Defense Contractor Cybersecurity: Stakeholder Communication and Performance Goals Could Improve Certification Framework

(GAO@100) For years, malicious cyber actors have targeted defense contractors to access sensitive unclassified data. In response, since 2019, the Department of Defense (DOD) has engaged with a range of stakeholders to develop and refine a set of cybersecurity practices and processes for contractors to use to help assure security of the data. For relevant contracts, this Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requires that defense contractors implement these practices and processes on their information systems and networks. Read More

State continues to reduce number of data centers, says CIO

(fedscoop) The State Department continues to cut its number of physical data storage locations as part of the transition to zero-trust architecture, according to the agency’s chief information officer. Keith Jones said Thursday at the Fortinet Security Transformation Summit, produced by FedScoop, that the agency has made progress reducing servers in high-risk overseas locations as it moves physical infrastructure to the cloud. The adoption of cloud-based storage is a central pillar of the State Department’s recently announced enterprise data strategy, in which the agency said it would seek to enable greater access to data, while also improving data governance. Read More

Air Force communication squadron redesignated for cyber defense mission

(Federal News Network) Recently, the Air Force’s 55th communication squadron was redesignated as the 55th Cyber squadron. What does that mean? Well, for one thing, it means the squadron now has responsibility for cyber defense operators on the Air Force’s tactical edge. For what that means. Federal News Network’s Eric White spoke to its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Wong. Read More

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is fueled up for its Dec. 22 launch

( The new James Webb Space Telescope is topped off and one step closer to taking flight. Mission team members have finished fueling the James Webb Space Telescope at ahead of its planned Dec. 22 launch from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, the European Space Agency announced Monday (Dec. 6). The fueling for Webb, which is an international collaborative effort between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, took 10 days and was completed on Dec. 3, according to the ESA statement. After a series of delays since the development of the scope first began in 1996, Webb is still on track to finally launch Dec. 22 atop an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Read More

NASA Selects New Astronaut Recruits to Train for Future Missions

(NASA)NASA has chosen 10 new astronaut candidates from a field of more than 12,000 applicants to represent the United States and work for humanity’s benefit in space. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson introduced the members of the 2021 astronaut class, the first new class in four years, during a Monday, Dec. 6 event at Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Today we welcome 10 new explorers, 10 members of the Artemis generation, NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate class,” Nelson said. “Alone, each candidate has ‘the right stuff,’ but together they represent the creed of our country: E pluribus unum – out of many, one.” Read More

These tiny liquid robots never run out of juice as long as they have food

(ScienceDaily) When you think of a robot, images of R2-D2 or C-3PO might come to mind. But robots can serve up more than just entertainment on the big screen. In a lab, for example, robotic systems can improve safety and efficiency by performing repetitive tasks and handling harsh chemicals. But before a robot can get to work, it needs energy — typically from electricity or a battery. Yet even the most sophisticated robot can run out of juice. For many years, scientists have wanted to make a robot that can work autonomously and continuously, without electrical input. Read More