NewsBrief July 10, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: July 10, 2020

Artificial Intelligence Systems Will Need to Have Certification, CISA Official Says

(Nextgov) Vendors of artificial intelligence technology should not be shielded by intellectual property claims and will have to disclose elements of their designs and be able to explain how their offering works in order to establish accountability, according to a leading official from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. “I don’t know how you can have a black-box algorithm that’s proprietary and then be able to deploy it and be able to go off and explain what’s going on,” said Martin Stanley, a senior technical advisor who leads the development of CISA’s artificial intelligence strategy. “I think those things are going to have to be made available through some kind of scrutiny and certification around them so that those integrating them into other systems are going to be able to account for what’s happening.” Read More

After Years In Limbo, GSA Cancels $15B Governmentwide IT Contract

(Nextgov) The General Services Administration is canceling its small business IT governmentwide acquisition contract, with plans to reissue a new solicitation. Thursday, the agency announced the cancelation of Alliant 2 Small Business, the $15 billion companion to the $50 billion Alliant 2 Unrestricted GWAC. The small business pool contract has been in trouble for years, originally awarding 80 spots in December 2017, then swapping some vendors in and out in February 2018, only to rescind all awards in March 2019 after a series of protests and court challenges. “This is to notify interested parties the government is examining and wants to bring to market significant updates and new requirements to A2SB; therefore, solicitation QTA0016GBA0002 is cancelled,” according to a notice posted Thursday to Read More

DIA opens bidding on $12B SITE III contract

(fedscoop) The Defense Intelligence Agency has issued its final request for proposals for the $12.6 billion SITE III multiple-award IT services contract. The DIA CIO Jack Gumtow and his office launched SITE III as an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to “plan, maintain, and sustain” its operations for the next decade. The contract will also support the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. “The DIA CIO’s primary objective with SITE Ill is to support warfighters, policymakers, and acquisition leaders across the Defense Intelligence Enterprise (DIE) by achieving an Information and Communications Technology advantage,” states the RFP, posted Monday. “SITE III provides strategic, technical, and program management guidance and support services to facilitate the operations and modernization of the agency’s infrastructure, systems, and applications.” Read More

DOE Announces New $100M in Energy Research Funds

(FCW)The Department of Energy has allotted funds worth $100M for energy science projects that will leverage multiple disciplines. DOE said Wednesday 10 Energy Frontier Research Centers will receive the funds to pursue collaborative research with national laboratories and members of industry, government, the nonprofit sector and academia. “Through these research centers, the Department is mobilizing America’s scientific workforce to lay the foundation for the nation’s future energy innovation, security and prosperity,” said Dan Brouillette, secretary of energy. Read More

Air Force pushes satellite surveillance to new heights with AI, cloud platform

(fedscoop) The Air Force is adding new artificial intelligence and cloud-based platforms to push its surveillance capabilities to new heights. The Air Force’s Space Vehicles Directorate and Information Directorate awarded a phase two Small Business Innovation Research contract recently to software and analytics company Descartes Labs for “near-real-time actionable analytics” on high-altitude satellites. Descartes will mature computer vision algorithms attuned to high-altitude image collection and bring new cloud-based data services that it started in a Phase 1 grant issued last year. High-altitude satellites generally operate at a maximum of 60,000 feet. Read More

US Air Force ready to test tech for new battle management system

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The Air Force is ramping up its efforts to test and field a suite of new hardware and software that will become the military’s command and control backbone. Since February, the Air Force has published three separate broad area announcements seeking technologies that could be funneled inside the Advanced Battle Management System, the service’s effort to seamlessly connect all of the Department of Defense’s equipment and pool together its data to form a complete picture of the battlespace. Read More

Comet NEOWISE shines in stunning photos from the International Space Station

( Astronauts caught a stunning natural light show this weekend from a comet that has been dazzling skywatchers on Earth as well.That streaker, called Comet NEOWISE or C/2020 F3, first came on the scene at the end of March. At that point, the icy lump was quite faint in our skies, and astronomers weren’t sure that would change. But as time has passed, the comet has brightened immensely, tantalizing skywatchers even after they were disappointed by two other recent comets that faded away. Read More