NewsBrief January 10, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: January 10, 2020

Naval Aviation Fleet Replacement Would Cost $380B Through 2050

(ExecutiveGov) The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the Department of the Navy would spend around $380 billion for new aircraft over the next 30 years. CBO said in its report published Monday that the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps may incur $7 billion to $17 billion in annual costs to maintain the composition and size of the naval aviation fleet. The report also states that the replacement of attack and fighter aircraft would account for $190 billion of procurement costs within the 2020 to 2050 period. CBO predicts that costs would temporarily decease after 2030 when major programs such as the MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft ends, and rebound in the mid-2030’s when the new cycle of aircraft replacement begins. Read More

GAO Releases Guidance for Tech Readiness Assessments

(ExecutiveGov) The Government Accountability Office has issued a guide for agencies seeking to evaluate the readiness of acquired technologies for deployment. GAO said Tuesday the Technology Readiness Assessment Guide aims to provide details on TRA best practices and include information that program managers, governing bodies and technology developers may use in determining a capability’s readiness as well as the efficiency of currently implemented TRAs. Read More

FDA’s Data Strategy Modernization Starts With Public Outreach

(Nextgov) As federal agencies work through the 20-item to-do list that is part of the Federal Data Strategy, the Food and Drug Administration is going a step further and reworking its internal data strategy for the new decade. On Wednesday, the agency will post a notice in the Federal Register announcing plans to develop the new strategy, as well as an upcoming public hearing to get feedback from FDA employees and outside experts. “Data is at the heart of FDA’s work as a science-based agency, and we anticipate ongoing, rapid increases in the amount and complexity of the data that informs FDA’s regulatory decision-making process and how we advance our public health mission,” according to the notice. Read More

White House proposes guidelines for regulating the use of AI

(Federal Times) The Trump administration is proposing new rules to guide future federal regulation of artificial intelligence used in medicine, transportation and other industries. But the vagueness of the principles announced by the White House is unlikely to satisfy AI watchdogs who have warned of a lack of accountability as computer systems are deployed to take on human roles in high-risk social settings, such as mortgage lending or job recruitment. The White House said that in deciding regulatory action, U.S. agencies “must consider fairness, non-discrimination, openness, transparency, safety, and security.” But federal agencies must also avoid setting up restrictions that “needlessly hamper AI innovation and growth,” reads a memo being sent to U.S. agency chiefs from Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. Read More

Fighting the Gravity of Average Performance

(MITSloan) Strategy has always been about defying averages — doing something exceptional that earns a company correspondingly exceptional rewards in the market. Today, that is still true, but the relentless churn and volatility in the business environment mean that simply outperforming the average is not enough. Rather, the true test of leadership is continuing to outperform over time. We recently studied the performance trajectories of 22,000 companies over the last four decades. The results show that across a wide range of metrics, strong performance has become far less sustainable than in the past. Companies that manage to beat the average for their industry must now struggle much harder to maintain their leading position. Read More

Four ways governments can get the most out of their infrastructure projects

(McKinsey & Company) Infrastructure—for example, transportation, power, water, and telecom systems—underpins economic activity and catalyzes growth and development. The world spends more than $2.5 trillion a year on infrastructure, but $3.7 trillion a year will be needed through 2035 just to keep pace with projected GDP growth.1 National, state, and local governments are devoting increased amounts of capital to meet these needs, and for good reason. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that infrastructure has a socioeconomic rate of return around 20 percent. In other words, $1 of infrastructure investment can raise GDP by 20 cents in the long run. Gains from infrastructure are fully realized, however, only when projects generate tangible public benefits. Unfortunately, many governments find it difficult to select the right projects—those with the most benefit. Read More

State looks to the cloud for building management services

(FCW) The State Department is considering a new commercial software-as-a-service platform to support building management capabilities for thousands of its properties worldwide. In mid-December, the agency’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations’ (OBO) Information Resource Management Division issued a research notice for a commercial off-the-shelf project management and collaboration system or service. The agency told industry it wants input on a cloud-based project management capability that thousands of its building managers could use to oversee projects. Read More

Military Seeks Tech to Extract Drinking Water From the Atmosphere for Troops

(Nextgov) Like all humans, U.S. military troops need water to survive and thrive. But the complex and often low-resourced environments they’re deployed to render delivery and access to potable water difficult, and at times even life-threatening. The Pentagon’s research arm aims to change that. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants innovative proposals that will catalyze the development of next-generation sorbent materials and modern systems to seamlessly extract water directly from the atmosphere to serve warfighters on the ground, according to a broad agency announcement released this week. Read More

Federal Highway Administration seeks ‘revolutionary’ tech for highway engineering

(fedscoop) The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is planning a call for research proposals that could bring about “transformational changes and truly revolutionary advances” in highway engineering. The announcement is part of FHWA’s Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program, which supports advances in the science and technology of America’s roads. EAR has existed in some form since 1991. The agency is specifically looking to fund research into three topic areas — blockchain, artificial intelligence and the inclusion of recycled plastics into asphalt. Read More

NASA’s TESS Planet Hunter Finds Its 1st Earth-Size World in ‘Habitable Zone’

( NASA’s newest planet hunter just bagged some big game. For the first time, the agency’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered a roughly Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of its host star, the zone of orbital distances where liquid water could be stable on a world’s surface, researchers announced today (Jan. 6). The newfound exoplanet, known as TOI 700 d, lies just 101.5 light-years from Earth, making it a good candidate for follow-up observations by other instruments, scientists added. Read More