NewsBrief December 4, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: December 4, 2020

How DISA helped the defense workforce stay productive during COVID-19

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON – The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Pentagon’s top IT agency to roll out collaboration tools at record speed and scale to a workforce that largely went remote. The pandemic sent organizations across the United States scrambling to support mass telework, but none had to meet the size and scale of the Defense Department with its millions of employees. One of the major initiatives rushed out by IT leadership at the Defense Department was the Commercial Virtual Remote Environment, a Microsoft Teams environment that provided remote collaboration tools to DoD users across the world. Read More

DoD taking renewed interest in blockchain amid COVID-19 pandemic

(Federal News Network) Blockchain in recent years generated plenty of hype in the federal contracting community, but technology never resulted in many agencies moving forward with the technology. The distributed ledger technology, however, has seen pockets of implementation in federal health agencies. Now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, health executives in the Defense Department are once again looking at potential use cases for blockchain. Bruce Doll, the assistant vice president for technology research and Innovation at DoD’s Uniformed Services University, said Wednesday that the Military Health System should consider blockchain for everything from credentialing providers at clinics to tracking the distribution of a COVID vaccine as part of Operation Warp Speed. Read More

For AI success, start small and iterate

(fedscoop) Artificial intelligence projects are most successful if they start small with specific use cases and grow over time, according to federal IT experts. During a recent FedTalks panel on data, analytics and AI, experts from government and industry emphasized the importance of taking an iterative approach when developing AI applications. Vimesh Patel, chief technology adviser of public sector for World Wide Technology, explained that AI use cases most often do best when agencies are “surgical” in choosing the purpose for the technology. Read More

JAIC entering new phase of life, will create teams to help DoD adopt AI

(Federal News Network) The Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is entering a new phase of its life, which will push the Pentagon even more to adopt the game changing technology. JAIC Director Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Groen announced JAIC 2.0 this week, an initiative he says will accelerate the adoption of AI across every aspect of the military’s warfighting and business operations. “We‘re recrafting our engagement mechanism inside the JAIC to actively seek out problems and help make others successful,” he said Tuesday at the Pentagon. “We will be more ‘problem-pull’ than ‘product-push.’” Read More

GAO Issues Report on 5G Implementation Policy Options

(ExecutiveGov) A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has found that stakeholders must address 5G network infrastructure implementation risks in areas such as spectrum availability, privacy, cybersecurity and public health. The technology assessment report details six policy options to help address each of the potential 5G risk areas. Such policy options include supporting research and development work in spectrum-sharing, establishing a nationwide framework for 5G network, cybersecurity monitoring and adopting standards for handling user data transmitted throughout 5G networks. Read More

DOD Needs Simulations to Shorten Acquisition Timelines, Official Says

(Nextgov) Members of the defense industry working on modeling and simulation should focus on building tools that can be used across multiple different functions in order to not only improve training, but accelerate acquisition and fielding timelines, according to a Defense Department official. “Think about software that will allow us to support acquisition development, training of troops, and test all simultaneously,” Alan Shaffer, deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, said Monday. Read More

New internet browsing tools bolster DoD cybersecurity

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — With an increasingly expanding attack surface – exacerbated by droves of employees now working remotely – officials at the Defense Information Systems Agency say the organization’s new cloud-based browsing tool boasts stronger security for the Department of Defense networks. The Cloud Based Internet Isolation (CBII) program, which hosts internet browsing in an isolated cloud environment, transfers the traffic away from the user’s desktop or laptop device. It is an especially important tool with personnel working remotely, safeguarding against potentially malicious code being downloaded to endpoints and infecting the broader network, officials said. Read More

Prepping the cyber workforce of the future

(FCW) More than one in three public-sector cyber jobs is unfilled, according to a white paper on federal workforce released by Cyberspace Solarium Commission in September 2020. Chris Inglis, a commissioner on the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and former deputy director of the National Security Agency, says that long-term solutions to the cybersecurity workforce problem requires thinking expansively beyond the demands of cyber jobs. “So what we’re speaking about is, how do we invest sufficient education for purposes of realizing our expectations and aspirations in cyberspace, not merely the important but narrower discipline of cybersecurity,” Inglis said at a Dec. 1 event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. Read More

NASA’s Ready for Companies to Put Its ‘Robo-Glove’ to Use

(Nextgov) Researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center designed, produced and patented a lightweight, tech-boosted, robotic handwear device—the Robo-Glove—that enables users to grip or grasp tools or perform repetitive movements painlessly for extended lengths of time. Now, America’s space agency is on the hunt for companies to license or commercialize the futuristic, self-contained unit, which was created in collaboration with General Motors. “Robo-Glove has the potential to help workers, such as construction workers, hazardous material workers, or assembly line operators, whose job requires continuous grasping and ungrasping motion,” NASA officials wrote in a special notice detailing the new technology transfer opportunity Monday. Read More

Hallmark’s ‘USS Christmas’ brings holiday cringe to all

(Military Times) It’s that time of year of again where there’ll be kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer, especially the Hallmark Channel. This year, the network that brings you movies so saccharine they’ll rot your teeth faster than the package of 100 mini-candy canes you’ll no doubt eat while pretending to care about decorating gingerbread houses, has outdone itself with a Navy holiday movie for the ages: “USS Christmas.” Read More