NewsBrief: February 10, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: February 10, 2023

This deputy cost chief knows a fair price when she sees one

(Federal News Network) In order to know whether they get a fair price for something, the armed forces need to know the cost of making it. That’s where the cost estimating and discovery part of acquisition comes in. For her work, the Federal Drive with Tom Temin spoke with Stephanie Quintal, deputy cost chief of the Air Force. She won one of this year’s Defense Acquisition Workforce Awards. Read More

Check out the presentation Stephanie Quintal and her colleagues gave for ICEAA’s 2020 Distance Learning Series!

DoD and Danish Ministry of Defence Sign Security of Supply Arrangement

(US Department of Defense) On Feb. 8, 2023, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) of the Kingdom of Denmark entered into a bilateral, non-binding Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA). The SOSA was signed by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Dr. William A. LaPlante, on behalf of the United States and the Director of the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO), Lieutenant General Kim Jesper Jørgensen, on behalf of Denmark. Read More

GAO: Commercial Product Development Principles Could Improve Execution of DOD’s Middle-Tier Acquisition Pathway

(ExecutiveGov) The Department of Defense should follow the key principles of commercial product development to accelerate the invention and deployment of weapon systems under the middle tier of acquisitions pathway, the Government Accountability Office said. In a report published Tuesday, GAO cited obstacles in the implementation of the MTA pathway, including unclear or inaccurate data and schedule delays due to unfulfilled requirements. The MTA program was created in 2016 as an alternative acquisition process, with a 5-year turnaround time for weapons development until deployment. DOD established the program aiming to expedite prototyping and fielding of armaments. Read More

GAO: IRS Not Capturing the True Cost of its Legacy IT Footprint

(NextGov) The IRS is lagging in efforts to modernize its technology infrastructure, in part because the tax agency had to reprogram funds to accommodate a staffing crunch during the most recent tax season. But with $80 billion in funding over 10 years from the Inflation Reduction Act – including $4.8 billion for business systems modernization and $25.3 billion for operations support – the IRS appears poised to make good on promises to update its aging systems, including the 60-year-old Customer Account Data Engine 2. Read More

DoD Revises Pandemic Policies on Telework, Occupancy Limits, Other Issues

(FEDweek) The Pentagon has revised a number of the pandemic-related policies affecting its civilian workforce—the government’s largest—as well as military and contractor personnel, replacing some prior mandates with standards allowing for more flexibility. For example, while the new guidance continues to vary policies according to four levels of community transmission framework above the “normal baseline”—A to D in ascending order of seriousness—it no longer specifies building occupancy limits at each level that had ranged down to as little as 25 percent. In the process, it ended prior policies for local commanders to make exceptions to those limits. Read More

Solving a machine-learning mystery

(Robo Daily) This week, after a year-plus hiatus in high-tech exercises in high-speed data sharing, the Pentagon kicked off a new Global Information Dominance Experiment. Building on GIDEs I through IV in 2021, GIDE V, running Monday through Thursday, is the first of a new series of four, even more intensive exercises that will run this year, the Pentagon’s Chief Digital & Artificial Large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-3 are massive neural networks that can generate human-like text, from poetry to programming code. Trained using troves of internet data, these machine-learning models take a small bit of input text and then predict the text that is likely to come next. Read More

Researchers focus AI on finding exoplanets

(Space Daily) New research from the University of Georgia reveals that artificial intelligence can be used to find planets outside of our solar system. The recent study demonstrated that machine learning can be used to find exoplanets, information that could reshape how scientists detect and identify new planets very far from Earth. “One of the novel things about this is analyzing environments where planets are still forming,” said Jason Terry, doctoral student in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of physics and astronomy and lead author on the study. Read More

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