NewsBrief December 18, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: December 18, 2020

Telework gets Air Force IT seal of approval

(FCW) More telework is the key to IT satisfaction in the workplace. That’s what the Air Force learned from results of an internal survey of personnel satisfaction that includes the period of maximum telework during the coronavirus pandemic. Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force’s deputy CIO, said personnel satisfaction with IT services spiked the more personnel worked from home as opposed to being in bases and facilities. Why? “Because you’re at home, you’ve got a great commercial connection, there’s no funky configurations going on on your base that’s different from the next base,” Knausenberger said during a keynote presentation at AFCEA NOVA’s Air and Space Force IT Day Dec. 15. Read More

AFRL demonstrates critical new warhead technologies for high speed weapons

(SpaceWar) The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) successfully demonstrated new warhead technologies for high speed weapons at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, Nov. 18, 2020. AFRL and two small business partners, Energetic Materials and Products Inc. and Hydrosoft International, developed the warhead technologies. Holloman’s 846th Test Squadron conducted the test on their High Speed Test Track. The sled test was a success with the warhead reaching high speeds and detonating at the exact moment intended. Read More

Army Alaska wants to recruit cold-weather lovers and have them train with Norwegians, Indians in Himalayas

(ArmyTimes) U.S. Army Alaska has struggled to be the service’s proponent for cold weather warfare amid two decades of missions that push it’s units out to far different environments, namely the Middle East, according to Army Alaska commander Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak. “The Army went through a massive transformation and it went to a [brigade combat team]-centric Army to standardize the equipment and organizational structure,” Andrysiak said Friday. “So the equipment was largely very similar across the force and we no longer had niche capabilities to operate in very unique environments.” Read More

When fixing Navy readiness problems, money helps but so does data

(Federal News Network) Like the other military services, the Navy has been working in recent years to improve the readiness of its aviation fleets, a problem that was exacerbated when cuts under the Budget Control Act almost a decade ago dealt a serious blow to aircraft availability. Bigger maintenance budgets over the last few years have helped, but money isn’t everything. The Navy is trying to innovate its way out of the readiness problem too, and with some success, thanks to a combination of processes borrowed from the commercial airline industry, data analytics and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence. Read More

NASA, Canadian Space Agency Formalize Gateway Partnership for Artemis Program

(NASA) NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) finalized an agreement between the United States and Canada to collaborate on the Gateway, an outpost orbiting the Moon that will provide vital support for a sustainable, long-term return of astronauts to the lunar surface as part of NASA’s Artemis program. This Gateway agreement further solidifies the broad effort by the United States to engage international partners in sustainable lunar exploration as part of the Artemis program and to demonstrate technologies needed for human missions to Mars. Under this agreement, CSA will provide the Gateway’s external robotics system, including a next-generation robotic arm, known as Canadarm3. Read More

GAO: Agencies must ramp up supply chain risk management practices

(fedscoop) Most large federal agencies have not implemented supply chain risk management (SCRM) practices that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends, according to a new Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday. The report compares whether or not 23 civilian Chief Financial Officers Act agencies have implemented seven foundational practices for risk management — policies from developing an agencywide information and communications SCRM policy to creating SCRM standards for potential suppliers. Read More

Scientists Suggest U.S. Embassies Were Hit with High-Power Microwaves – Here’s How the Weapons Work

(Nextgov) The mystery ailment that has afflicted U.S. embassy staff and CIA officers off and on over the last four years in Cuba, China, Russia and other countries appears to have been caused by high-power microwaves, according to a report released by the National Academies. A committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields concluded that directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy is the “most plausible mechanism” to explain the illness, dubbed Havana syndrome. The report doesn’t clear up who targeted the embassies or why they were targeted. But the technology behind the suspected weapons is well understood and dates back to the Cold War arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Read More

Santa cleared for takeoff in Canadian airspace by Transport Canada

(CTV News) TORONTO — Despite pandemic-related measures restricting travel for many Canadians during the holidays, Santa and his reindeer will be able to fly through open skies on Christmas Eve after Transport Canada greenlit his travel. On Wednesday, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that Santa had been cleared for takeoff in Canadian airspace this Christmas season. “While many Canadians are restricting their holiday gatherings to limit the spread of COVID-19, Transport Canada officials have ensured that Santa and his reindeer have taken all necessary precautions so they can safely deliver presents to the boys and girls across the country,” the department said in a statement. Read More

Ireland declares Santa’s work “essential” so he can dodge self-quarantine to deliver Christmas

( It’s okay, kids, the coronavirus won’t keep Father Christmas at bay — not in Ireland, at least. Self-quarantine rules will not apply to Jolly Old Saint Nick, Ireland’s top diplomat confirmed on Thursday, seeking to allay any fears that might be fueling anxiety in children who’ve had plenty to worry about this year. “We have been working on the Santa Claus issue for a number of weeks,” Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on the floor of the Irish parliament, without so much as a twinkle in his eye. Read More

How NORAD Tracks Santa, Explained For Kids And Parents

(Forbes) Every Christmas Eve, millions of children big and small flock to their computers, tablets and smartphones to follow along as the world’s greatest traveler makes his annual round-the-world journey. Once again, on the night before Christmas, the phenomenonally popular NORAD Tracks Santa website and app will track St. Nick’s fantastical flight. Sharp-eyed kids may notice that this year, Santa Claus will wear a face mask as he travels around a planet still grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic. Read More