NewsBrief December 6, 2019

Posted by

Cost Estimating NewsBrief: December 6, 2019

Making It Easier to Manage and Scale Digital Projects

(MIT Sloan) As business models across industries are destabilized by disruptive threats, organizations are searching for effective ways to manage their digital projects to deliver the highest value outcomes. Agile methodologies that were originally used in software development are increasingly being applied to cross-functional projects such as e-commerce websites and mobile apps. While there has been progress, barriers remain, particularly in cases where companies try to coordinate multiple agile projects simultaneously and scale them across the organization. Although some managers are attempting to move beyond linear development processes in hopes of completing projects faster, most are working in siloes, with little or no interaction or cross-fertilization with other groups. The result is that there’s little opportunity for sharing best practices across functions, divisions, and regions. Read More

GAO: DOD should take a closer look at contractor ownership

(FCW) The Defense Department must dig deeper into who owns the companies that sell DOD goods and services, as dishonest contractors skulk behind a façade of bogus company names and arrangements, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. Defense contractors sometimes have “opaque ownership” that can hide who is actually bidding on Pentagon contracts, according to the report. Scams using shifty or shady ownerships take many forms, the report found, including price inflation funneled through multiple companies owned by the same entity, fake competitive bids from ineligible companies, rustling service-disabled veterans’ and small business set-aside contracts with bogus qualifications and foreign manufacturers wielding sensitive information delivering faulty equipment into DOD supply chains. Read More

Pentagon Unveils Which Bases Will House Large-Scale 5G Experiments

(Nextgov) The Defense Department outlined its plans to experiment and pioneer 5G technology at four domestic military bases and issued the first draft requests for prototype proposals. Through an other transaction agreement with the National Spectrum Consortium, Defense will partner solely with chosen consortium members to “develop and mature spectrum access technologies” to improve spectrum activity, boost spectrum sharing, and protect U.S. activity across the domain. At Hill Air Force Base in Utah, efforts will focus on 5G dynamic spectrum sharing and at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Georgia, projects will hone in on smart warehouse and asset management. Read More

Can a $10M Pentagon project enhance AI cyber operations?

(Fifth Domain) A new agreement between a civilian government agency and the private sector will assist the Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center in “further enhancing cyber operations,” according to a new release. The company, Excella, entered into a joint venture partner letter agreement with the National Technical Information Service, a subagency on the Department of Commerce, to work on a 10-month project worth $10 million. The project is centered on enhancing cyber operations by accelerating AI adoption. The JAIC is tasked with developing and delivering enterprise AI capabilities to the Pentagon. There are “several” other companies involved in the agreement. Read More

FAA wants college students to envision the future of the ‘smart’ airport

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is calling on the country’s university students to come up with ideas for what airports will look like in the future. The agency’s “smart airport” challenge holds a goal of “improving the efficiency and effectiveness of smart technology in and around the airport environment” while also “enhancing the overall traveling experience.” The opportunity is advertised on central government citizen-science platform Following direction from Congress in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, the agency is looking into how technology can help shorten security lines, make check-in more efficient and speed up airplane turn around times. Through all of this, the challenge description states, the FAA wants to keep a focus on creating a better human experience of travel. Read More

A new kind of satellite imagery for the intelligence community?

(C4ISRNET) The National Reconnaissance Office expects to issue additional study contracts for commercial satellite imagery in the coming weeks, the agency’s director said Dec. 3, and at least one of those contracts will be for a new type of imagery. “Maybe this week, maybe next week, we’ll probably be announcing some additional partnerships that we’re going to be working with in the commercial realm. Commercial is going to play an important role in the future architectures,” Christopher Scolese, the NRO director, said in a media availability. Read More

DOJ to focus on zero-trust, identity pilots in 2020

(fedscoop) The Department of Justice is focusing on zero trust and identity and access management pilots in fiscal 2020 as it adapts its security posture to the cloud and a remote workforce. Procurements began last year, and the department now has eight to 10 pilots experimenting with different zero-trust architectures and vendors, Nickolous Ward, chief information security officer of DOJ, told FedScoop. DOJ consolidated more than 100 data centers into 12 by pushing about 60 services — roughly 40 percent of what it delivers in total — to the cloud in the last five years, Ward said. On top of that, the department’s lawyers and agents are increasingly working remotely helping state and local law enforcement complete investigations. Read More

Building a Better Data-first Strategy: Lessons from Top Companies

(Wharton) Time and again, I see companies making crushingly common mistakes with data, and refusing to give themselves the room to experiment and to fail. Data empowers marketers to make better decisions and take smarter risks, but sometimes the best intentions lead to the wrong solutions. Interpreting data isn’t always easy, and I’ve seen marketers come up short by not allowing themselves the space to learn, grow, fail and improve from their collective experiences. A campaign that falls short of its goal can teach just as much as one that succeeds. And marketers who wish to do the right thing well can learn from how they do the right thing poorly. Read More

What It Means To Be a Tech Company

(MITSloan) WeWork’s rapid reversal in fortune in September caught some analysts by surprise. The high-flying office-sharing company, then favored by gig workers and the tech elite, was gearing up for an initial public offering that was widely expected to raise upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead, within a few days it became a poster child for investor herd mentality gone amok and was scrambling for cash. WeWork’s free fall (the company’s valuation has dropped more than 80% since January 2019) has fed a spirited discussion over what it means to be a young “tech company.” Although WeWork’s core business model — renting empty offices in bulk and turning them into coworking spaces with amenities such as yoga classes and kombucha for companies and individuals — doesn’t seem especially technology-focused, the company’s prospectus used the word technology more than 100 times, notes reporter Marie C. Baca in The Washington Post. Read More

First NASA Parker Solar Probe Results Reveal Surprising Details About Our Sun

(NASA)The Sun is revealing itself in dramatic detail and shedding light on how other stars may form and behave throughout the universe – all thanks to NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. The spacecraft is enduring scorching temperatures to gather data, which are being shared for the first time in four new papers that illuminate previously unknown and only-theorized characteristics of our volatile celestial neighbor. The information Parker has uncovered about how the Sun constantly ejects material and energy will help scientists rewrite the models they use to understand and predict the space weather around our planet, and understand the process by which stars are created and evolve. This information will be vital to protecting astronauts and technology in space – an important part of NASA’s Artemis program, which will send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024 and, eventually, on to Mars. Read More