NewsBrief – February 9, 2024

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: February 9, 2024

DHS launches hiring push for new AI Corps

The Homeland Security Department wants to bring on 50 new artificial intelligence experts this year as part of a hiring sprint the department announced Tuesday. The hires will form a new AI Corps for the department — modeled after the White House’s U.S. Digital Service and housed in the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer — that will work on AI projects across the agency. “Now is the time for tech experts to make a real difference for our country and join the federal government,” said Eric Hysen, the department’s CIO and chief AI officer, in a statement. “We are recruiting faster than ever because the need is urgent.” Read More

Defense innovation Unit looks to scale up in new phase

The Pentagon’s hub for accelerating the adoption of commercial technologies for battlefield use is entering “a new phase” of work that will focus on quickly addressing gaps in the U.S. military’s capabilities, according to the head of the unit. In a report released on Wednesday by the Center for a New American Security, Doug Beck — director of the Defense Innovation Unit, or DIU — outlined a new strategy that, he wrote, will better position the Department of Defense to meet the pacing challenge posed by China and other global adversaries in fielding critical emerging technologies that are “proceeding at a much faster rate in the private sector than in the traditional defense sector.” Read More

Department of Homeland Security: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of Joint Task Forces

(U.S. GAO)
From 2015 to 2020, the Department of Homeland Security ran 3 intradepartmental task forces. Joint task forces allow DHS to coordinate its agencies to combat complex threats like drug smuggling and terrorism. DHS ended two of them in 2020; one remains active. In 2022, Congress began requiring DHS to report why it has started or ended a task force. But as of November 2023, DHS didn’t have criteria for these decisions. It also hadn’t set measurable performance goals for active task forces. Written criteria and performance goals can help DHS better communicate about the value of its joint task forces. Read More

How Congress is gearing up to take advantage of generative AI

(Government Executive)
Lawmakers aren’t only looking to regulate a rapidly changing artificial intelligence landscape. Some on Capitol Hill are also pushing the internal use of the technology to their benefit. “We must ensure Congress is ready to manage the risks AI poses,” Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., said last week, “while leaning into its rewards.” Steil chairs the Committee on House Administration, which held a hearing on AI in the legislative branch last week. That hearing follows a similar one the week prior held by the Senate Rules Committee. To stakeholders, they’re evidence of a bipartisan interest in capitalizing on the technology’s potential for Congress and the result of increased tech capacity on the Capitol Hill over time. Read More

Cost-cutting measures will coincide with new goals to slash emissions, USPS says

(Government Executive)
The U.S. Postal Service is committing to significantly reduce its carbon emissions in the coming years, with leadership saying its ongoing efforts to strip costs out of its system would result in a greener footprint. USPS will slash its own greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, the mailing agency announced on Tuesday, and cut the indirect emissions resulting from its business by 20% over the same period. As the agency transforms its mail processing network through reforms implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, it plans to realize much of these reductions as it builds more efficiency and less transportation into its daily operations. Read More

The Future of Weather Forecasts: Nearing the Natural Limit of Predictability

(Space Daily)
Weather forecasts play a crucial role in our daily lives and in mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events. With climatological extremes causing significant economic and human losses, the quest to enhance the accuracy and extend the predictability of weather forecasts is more critical than ever. Dr. Michael Riemer, from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), and his team have delved into this challenge, shedding light on the potential to push the boundaries of weather forecasting even further. Read More

Dark matter could be gently wobbling space-time around us — and scientists may finally know how to detect it

Scientists may soon be able to detect the most mysterious entity in the universe using a fleet of next-generation satellites, a new theoretical study suggests. Dark matter — a poorly understood substance that does not emit, absorb or reflect light but exerts a clear gravitational influence on other matter — dominates the universe. Despite being more than five times more abundant in space than ordinary matter, dark matter’s composition and properties remain entirely unknown. Read More

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