NewsBrief: December 16, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: December 16, 2022

Change Data Infrastructure to Meet New Needs, Experts Advise

(Nextgov) Data infrastructure needs to change to better support evidence-based policies, according to panelists at an Urban Institute event on Monday. This call for change comes due to requirements in the Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2019—or the Evidence Act—under which federal agencies must develop evidence to support their policymaking.  “Credible statistical information supports a democratic society, because in a democratic society you’re pushing decision-making down to the lowest possible level, to the most granular level. So this informs decisions by government,” Erica Groshen, senior economics advisor at Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, said. Read More

EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon not prepared for software updates at the speed of war, report finds

(Breaking Defense) Without working software, the F-35 stealth fighter is a trillion-dollar lawn ornament. Called “a computer that happens to fly” by one former Air Force chief, with algorithms running everything from basic flight controls to long-range targeting, the F-35 runs off eight million lines of code. That’s actually less than a late-model luxury car like the 2020 Mercedes S-Class, which has over 30 million lines, notes a forthcoming report from a national security thinktank, the Hudson Institute. Yet, co-authors Jason Weiss and Dan Patt told Breaking Defense that even as private-sector software surges ahead, a Pentagon bureaucracy built to handle industrial-age hardware still struggles to get all the fighter’s code to work. Read More

Machine-learning models predicted ignition in fusion breakthrough experiment

(FedScoop) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s machine-learning models predicted the historic achievement of fusion ignition the week before its successful experiment on Dec. 5. The National Ignition Facility’s design team fed the experimental design to the Cognitive Simulation (CogSim) machine-learning team for analysis, and it found the resulting fusion reactions would likely create more energy than was used to start the process — leading to ignition. LLNL’s laser-based inertial confinement fusion research device is the size of three football fields and shot 192 laser beams — delivering 2.05 megajoules of ultraviolet energy to an almost perfectly round fuel capsule made of diamond — causing 3.15 megajoules’ worth of fusion ignition in a lab for the first time during the latest experiment. Read More

How many ships? Lawmakers set to establish independent commission to study Navy’s structure

(Breaking Defense) Lawmakers are poised to establish a new independent commission tasked with definitively telling Congress, the White House and the Pentagon just how big the US Navy’s fleet should be. That panel, dubbed the “National Commission on the Future of the Navy,” would be borne out of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by the House last week and now awaits a vote in the Senate before heading to President Joe Biden’s desk. Should the NDAA pass as is, the panel’s eight members, each selected by various congressional leaders in both chambers, have daunting objectives and roughly 18 months to do their work. Read More

DIA to release AI strategy as Pentagon grapples with tech talent challenges

(Federal News Network) “The Defense Intelligence Agency will soon issue an artificial intelligence strategy, with talent development being one of the top challenges facing DIA and organizations across the Defense Department.

DIA Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier is expected to sign off on DIA’s strategy “”very shortly,”” Ramesh Menon, the agency’s chief technology officer, said during a Dec. 14 media roundtable here at the annual Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS) conference. DIA put together a panel last year to lead the development of the strategy, Menon said. The goals at a “”high level”” are based on the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence’s recommendations. NSCAI recommended the DoD and the intelligence community be “”AI ready”” by 2025.” Read More

James Webb Space Telescope spots rare red spiral galaxies in the early universe

( “The James Webb Space Telescope (Webb or JWST) has spotted several rare red spiral galaxies, giving astronomers a new view of the early universe.
Astronomers analyzed red spiral galaxies in one of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first images, that of the galaxy cluster SMACS J0723.3–7327. Seen through the eyes of JWST, the most powerful telescope ever placed into orbit, the galaxy cluster magnifies objects seen behind it, letting astronomers see deeper into the universe. The researchers determined that some of these galaxies represent the most distant spiral galaxies ever seen.” Read More

No Snow Days for You, OPM Reminds Offsite Workers

(FEDweek) OPM has updated its guidance on changes to work schedules due to weather-related and other emergency reasons, including a reminder that those working offsite generally are not eligible for “weather and safety leave” when it is granted. That policy now applies to many more federal employees than when the guide was last updated four years ago, due to the pandemic-triggered growth in telework and remote work (where, unlike telework, the employee is not expected to report regularly to an agency worksite). Read More

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