NewsBrief January 29, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: January 29, 2021

Can better data improve federal hiring?

(FCW) Ninety percent of competitive, public-facing federal job postings rely on a self-assessment of qualifications followed by a human resources review of applicants’ detailed resume, according to a data dashboard released by the General Services Administration last week. That approach isn’t working – only 53% of these self-assessments result in a job offer. When you add in one other type of assessment, like a multiple choice exam, the percentage ending in a job offer being made still sits at 53%. Read More

Trilateral Cope North Exercise To Test ‘Agile’ Air Ops On Austere Airfields

(Breaking Defense) WASHINGTON: The US, Japan and Australia will test their ability to work together, especially in keeping supplies moving while under attack, during Cope North 2021 in two weeks. During the exercise, the U.S. Air Force will focus on its Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept, says Brig. Gen. Jeremy Sloane, who commands the 36th Air Wing at Andersen AFB in Guam. The annual Cope North exercise includes the US Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Japanese Self Defense Forces. In 2020 the exercise, included roughly 2,500 participants, Sloane said, and nearly 100 aircraft. Read More

Air Force chief: Electromagnetic spectrum could be cheaper option to defeat enemies

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The Air Force is looking into flipping the cost curve when it comes to defeating adversaries by focusing on electronic or nonkinetic capabilities as opposed to missiles. “In some aspects, an electron is much cheaper than a very expensive missile,” Gen. Charles Brown, chief of staff of the Air Force, said during a Jan. 27 web event hosted by the Association of Old Crows. “We’ve got to think about the cost curve” and be able to do both the kinetic and nonkinetic. Brown acknowledged that the Air Force has been “asleep at the wheel” for the last 25 to 30 years when it comes to operations in the electromagnetic spectrum. Read More

Air Force builds digital twin for weapons with ABMS

(fedscoop) Worlds have collided — the Air Force is using its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) to build digital twins of its weapons systems, using one futuristic initiative to achieve the other. ABMS is the Air Force’s stab at building an Internet of Things for war; a network-of-networks with data flowing from sensors to artificial intelligence-enabled systems for quick decision-making. Now, some of that data is feeding into a related key initiative: building digital twins. Digital twins provide software-defined replicas of physical objects, taking into account the physical toll of operations and giving users a heads up on malfunctioning parts or needed repairs. Read More

AI is Helping Forecast the Wind, Manage Wind Farms

(aitrends) Among all its many activities, Google is forecasting the wind. Google and its DeepMind AI subsidiary have combined weather data with power data from 700 megawatts of wind energy that Google sources in the Central US. Using machine learning, they have been able to better predict the wind, which pays off in the energy market. “The way a lot of power markets work is you have to schedule your assets a day ahead,” stated Michael Terrell, the head of energy market strategy at Google, in a recent account in Forbes. “And you tend to get compensated higher when you do that than if you sell into the market real-time.” Read More

Three critical steps to fast-track agency digital transformation and data management

(Federal News Network) Suppose you’re a scientist with the Food and Drug Administration reviewing data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, a NASA analyst processing data from the International Space Station, or a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist processing weather modelling for developing tropical storms/hurricanes. Over the last several months, employees like these from across the government are performing their work from home while the data at the heart of that work still lives in the onsite data center. Clogged virtual private networks and home bandwidth issues can slow productivity and frustrate users. Read More

HHS Makes Strategic Moves to Achieve Ultimate ‘Artificial Intelligence Ambition’

(Nextgov) A recently produced enterprise artificial intelligence strategy is now in place to guide the Health and Human Services Department’s ongoing and upcoming efforts involving the technology. The 7-page document outlines a strategic approach to broaden tech fluency and accelerate AI-centered pursuits across HHS—and it also establishes an AI Council to help facilitate the massive health agency’s overall implementation. “Ultimately, this strategy is the first step towards transforming HHS into an AI fueled enterprise,” it reads. Read More

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Plans for May Asteroid Departure

(NASA) On May 10, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will say farewell to asteroid Bennu and begin its journey back to Earth. During its Oct. 20, 2020, sample collection event, the spacecraft collected a substantial amount of material from Bennu’s surface, likely exceeding the mission’s requirement of 2 ounces (60 grams). The spacecraft is scheduled to deliver the sample to Earth on Sep. 24, 2023. Read More

NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance is in the home stretch of its journey to Red Planet

( The long deep-space journey of NASA’s next Mars rover is nearly over. The car-size Perseverance rover, which launched on July 30 of last year, is scheduled to land inside the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater on Feb. 18. “I am thrilled to be here today as our countdown to Mars winds down from months to just weeks,” Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said during a news conference on Wednesday (Jan. 27). “Perseverance is closing in on the Red Planet, and our team is preparing for her to touch down in Jezero Crater.” Read More

On nights before a full moon, people go to bed later and sleep less

(Moon Daily) For centuries, humans have blamed the moon for our moods, accidents and even natural disasters. But new research indicates that our planet’s celestial companion impacts something else entirely – our sleep. In a paper published Jan. 27 in Science Advances, scientists at the University of Washington, the National University of Quilmes in Argentina and Yale University report that sleep cycles in people oscillate during the 29.5-day lunar cycle: In the days leading up to a full moon, people go to sleep later in the evening and sleep for shorter periods of time. Read More