NewsBrief January 24, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: January 24, 2020

Pentagon will start figuring out AI for lethality in 2020

(C4ISRNET) The Pentagon is eager to plug artificial intelligence into lethality. How the benefits of modern information processing, so far mostly realized in the commercial sector, will be applied to the use of weapons in war remains unclear, but it is a problem the military is interested in solving. “We are ready to start our first lethality project next year in the joint war fighter targeting space,” said Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said in December in an exclusive interview with sister brand Defense News. This vision will be carried out by the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, the military’s AI coordinating and developing organ. As for the specifics of how, exactly, it will bring the benefits of algorithmic processing to the fight, JAIC is still too early in the process to have much concrete information on offer. Read More

State Dept Stands Up New Data Analytics Center

(ExecutiveGov) The State Department has launched a new hub that helps employees and diplomats make decisions based on analyzed data. The Center for Analytics offers tools that allow State Department employees to tackle a range of diplomatic challenges such as case prioritization and resource management, the department said Friday. A chief data officer leads CfA’s operations in support of congressional efforts, 5G security forecasts, threat tracking and foreign policy. Read More

DHS tests AI for making sense of contractor past-performance data

(fedscoop) The Department of Homeland Security is almost done with the first phase of a project that will allow federal agencies to use artificial intelligence for a task that can be overwhelming for humans: extracting, analyzing and visualizing the underutilized data in the governmentwide system for contractor past-performance records. Next week DHS will finish reviewing services from nine vendors who were given data sets from the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS). Before awarding contracts worth more than $250,000, agencies review historical data in the CPARS to see how offerers acted under previous agreements. It’s not an easy task. With more than 1 million records covering 60,000 contractors, CPARS can bog down contracting officers, said Polly Hall, acquisition innovation advocate director of the Procurement Innovation Lab at DHS. They can sort records by contract value, Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number or performance period, but even once those filters are applied, the results frequently still number in the hundreds and can only be viewed PDF at a time. Read More

VA’s Artificial Intelligence Director Details AI Institute’s Early Efforts

(Nextgov) The Veterans Affairs Department’s nascent National Artificial Intelligence Institute is focusing on hammering out policies and streamlining its processes so it can share data with partners in a speedy way. After its initial launch late last year, the agency’s inaugural artificial intelligence director and lead of the center Dr. Gil Alterovitz shared few details with Nextgov about its ultimate aims, but at an event in Washington Wednesday, he expanded on the center’s early intentions and efforts. “We are at that time in history where human intelligence at some point will intersect with artificial intelligence,” Alterovitz said at the ACT-IAC’s second intelligent automation and AI forum. “And so it’s a really special time for us to learn about it.” Read More

Army cloud office to be set up by March, CIO says

(fedscoop) The Army’s new Enterprise Cloud Management Office will be in “full swing” by March, Army CIO Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford said Tuesday. The ECMO aims to help the Army achieve “convergence,” a strategic objective to combine information and capabilities across warfighting domains by having central data and cloud enterprise capabilities. Paul Puckett, a former technology officer at Pivotal Software with technology experience in government, will lead the office to be the Army’s cloud and data hub. To achieve the “monumental task” of data migration, the Army plans to spend $730 million of reallocated funds for its cloud efforts through fiscal 2023, Crawford said at AFCEA’s Army IT Day. Read More

How Leading Organizations Are Getting the Most Value From IT

(MIT Sloan) Many of the most consequential investment decisions facing CEOs today are technology-related. That wasn’t the case a few years ago. But now every company is in effect a technology company, and every CEO a tech CEO. With every major technology choice representing a vital business decision, “good enough” decisions are anything but. That’s what we are finding as we continue to analyze the technology decisions of more than 8,300 companies across 20 industries in 20 countries, in what we believe is the largest study to date of enterprise systems. This work also includes responses from nearly 900 CEOs across the globe. Read More

Survey finds DOD contractors know little about forthcoming cyber standards

(fedscoop) The Defense Department has been planning for nearly a year to update its cybersecurity certification framework for vendors who handle its sensitive information — but that’s apparently news to some contractors. A new survey published by Tier 1 Cyber found few DOD vendors are aware of the DOD’s new cybersecurity standard for contractors, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). Only 24 percent of the responding defense contractors could accurately identify its acronym in the survey. Overall, the survey found contractors have “gotten the message” on the importance of cybersecurity, but few have implemented mitigation efforts to the imposing threats, Tier1 Cyber CEO Bret Cohen told FedScoop. Read More

The Air Force tested its Advanced Battle Management System. Here’s what worked, and what didn’t.

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The first field test of the U.S. Air Force’s experimental Advanced Battle Management System in December was a success, with about 26 out of 28 capabilities showing some semblance of functionality during a recent exercise, the service’s acquisition chief said Tuesday. But the service will seek to be more ambitious during a second demonstration in April, which will focus on space and bring in elements from U.S. Space Command and U.S. Strategic Command, said Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics. “I am thrilled to say that 26 out of 28 things work. That is too high of a success rate at this point in time, but I’ll take it. We should be taking more risk than that,” he told reporters during a roundtable. Read More

US Army and Air Force team up for multi-domain operations

(Space War) Two U.S. Air Force F-35s were integrated with the U.S. Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), providing an airborne sensor capability to successfully detect, track and intercept near simultaneous air-breathing threats in a test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The December 2019 test marked the first time F-35s were used as sensors during an IBCS live fire test against multiple airborne targets. Read More

Japan reveals plan for space defense unit

(DefenseNews) TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday his country will form a space defense unit to protect itself from potential threats as rivals develop missiles and other technology, noting that the new unit will work closely with its American counterpart recently launched by President Donald Trump. The Space Domain Mission Unit will start in April as part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, Abe said in a policy speech marking the start of the year’s parliamentary session. He said Japan must also defend itself from threats in cyberspace and from electromagnetic interference against Japanese satellites. Concerns are growing that China and Russia are seeking ways to interfere, disable or destroy satellites. Read More

Senators Unveil $1.2 Billion Plan to Develop Alternatives to Huawei’s 5G Equipment

(Nextgov) Telecom operators applauded legislation introduced this week by a senior group of senators promoting an effort to require mobile networking equipment meet interoperability standards as a way for U.S. networks to skirt Chinese providers seen as a national security threat. “AT&T applauds Senator Warner, Senator Burr and the bipartisan group of cosponsors for introducing legislation that will promote the development and deployment of open standards-based advanced telecommunications networks,” said Tim McKone, executive vice president of federal relations at AT&T. “We look forward to working with Congress through the legislative process to see this measure enacted.” Read More

Pentagon Wants to Build One Satellite Per Week

(Defense One) One satellite per week. That’s what the Pentagon wants industry to provide under its plans to orbit seven new constellations — each with a different function — by the end of 2020. The satellites would be smaller (“a few hundred kilograms”), cheaper (about $10 million each), and shorter-lived (about five years) than today’s typical military satellites, which can weigh tons and consume billions of dollars but which are expected to operate for decades. “We are talking [about] technology that is available to fly within 18 to 24 months,” Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency, said during a Tuesday briefing at the Pentagon. Read More

Pentagon Issues JEDI Task Order for Training

(Nextgov) The Pentagon this month issued a $1 million task order to Microsoft under its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract to provide professional services work regarding tactical-edge devices. According to an award notice published Tuesday, the task order was issued Jan. 6 and is for “unclassified infrastructure as a service and platform as a service and support service package for tactical edge device accreditation and training.” The notice contains scant additional details about the task order, which comes as attorneys for the Pentagon defend its October JEDI award to Microsoft in a protest brought by Amazon Web Services. In a recent court filing, AWS said it would seek an injunction to halt substantive work on JEDI by Jan. 24. Read More