NewsBrief: February 24, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: February 24, 2023

GSA not tapping data on unauthorized access attempts at federal facilities, report says

(FCW) The General Services Administration is failing to act on data linked to access cards used to enter federal facilities, according to a new oversight report. A two-year audit conducted between 2020 and 2022 revealed over 32,000 failed access attempts at GSA-managed facilities, the Office of Inspector General report said, possibly indicating attempts to gain unauthorized access to information technology systems and secure federal facilities. The IG report also found that GSA was not evaluating the data collected from access cards “to identify and assess the risks to its personnel and federal property,” despite federal guidance recommending agencies monitor access card activity as part of their risk assessment and oversight processes. Read More

DOJ official: Data analytics resulting in more efficient health care fraud detection

(FedScoop) Data analytics and machine learning tools are driving health care fraud prosecutions led by law enforcement and federal health agencies, according to a senior Department of Justice official. Jake Foster, acting principal assistant chief within the fraud section of the DOJ’s criminal division, said Wednesday at a Federal CIO Council event that analysis of aggregated data was providing previously unobtainable crucial insights. While a legal case cannot rely on data alone, Foster said the ability to spot patterns in large datasets is resulting in the more efficient use of prosecutors’ resources by facilitating more targeted initial inquiries. Read More

Jennifer Hay Named Principal Deputy of Directorate for Digital Services at Pentagon’s CDAO

(ExecutiveGov) Jennifer Hay, a national security and public policy senior professional, has joined the Department of Defense’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office as principal deputy of the Directorate for Digital Services. DDS announced Hay’s appointment in a tweet posted Feb. 15. Hay previously worked at DataRobot, where she served as head of global government relations and senior director of government affairs and national security strategy. Her DOD career includes time as deputy director for intelligence and security programs within the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; senior adviser to the deputy secretary of defense and adviser to the deputy director for special operations-counterterrorism within the Joint Staff. Read More

Farooq Mitha Intends to Bring Back Rapid Innovation Fund to Support Small Businesses

(ExecutiveGov) Farooq Mitha, director of the office of small business programs at the Department of Defense, said he expects the current administration’s next budget proposal to reinstate the Rapid Innovation Fund to make it easier for small enterprises with novel ideas to do business with DOD, Defense News reported Tuesday. Since 2019, Congress has not funded the Rapid Innovation Fund, which provided seed money to small businesses with innovative tech platforms and secured over $2 billion in funding over nine years. Mitha said his office will be planning for the initiative, which he said helped small businesses get through the “valley of death” to facilitate the transition of defense tech prototypes into the production of actual platforms for warfighters. Read More

More agencies defining risk appetite, integrating into strategy, decision making

(Federal News Network) Agencies are managing their enterprise risks to drive decision making in a much more integrated and strategic way. That’s one of the most significant trends in the 8th annual federal enterprise risk management survey. The Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management Enterprise Risk Management (AFERM) found, however, that ERM is far from institutionalized. Marianne Roth, the chief risk officer for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the president of AFERM, said while the use of ERM is accelerating across government, there are continued challenges to push these concepts further into an agency. Read More

Meteorite crater discovered in French winery

(Space Daily) Countless meteorites have struck Earth in the past and shaped the history of our planet. It is assumed, for example, that meteorites brought with them a large part of its water. The extinction of the dinosaurs might also have been triggered by the impact of a very large meteorite. Meteorite craters which are still visible today are rare because most traces of the celestial bodies have long since disappeared again. This is due to erosion and shifting processes in Earth’s crust, known as plate tectonics. The “Earth Impact Database” lists just 190 such craters worldwide. Read More

Farming on the Moon

(Space Daily) Sooner or later, settlers on the Moon will have to become farmers. A new ESA Discovery project led by Norway’s Solsys Mining is looking into the treatment of lunar soil to create fertiliser for growing plants. The good news is that analysis of lunar samples returned to Earth in the past by Moonwalkers and robots shows sufficient essential minerals are available for plant growth, apart from nitrogen compounds. The bad news is that lunar soil (or ‘regolith’) compacts in the presence of water, creating problems for plant germination and root growth. Read More

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