NewsBrief: July 14, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: July 14, 2023

OPM Issues Guidance on Identifying Needed AI Skills in Hiring

(FEDweek) OPM has issued guidance to agencies on identifying skills and competencies needed for positions related to artificial intelligence for filling positions with AI responsibilities. A memo on says the guidance, required by the 2020 AI in Government Act, is the result of a workforce survey, focus groups with subject matter experts and data collected from agencies, academia, the private sector and other sources. “Agencies can use the AI competencies to select, assess, and train AI talent as confirmed by a job analyses. Agencies are responsible for conducting job analyses for work within their agency. Similarly, agencies must determine the applicability of these competencies to positions within their agency,” it says. Read More

What is digital-twin technology?

(McKinsey & Company) What would you do if you had a copy of yourself? A digital doppelgänger, identical to you in every way, in an accurate digital rendering of your home, workplace, neighborhood, or city? Even better: What if the digital version of you—your digital twin—was impervious to injury, pain, or embarrassment? The mind boggles at the possibilities. Suffice it to say, you’d probably be able to make decisions for yourself with a lot more certainty of the outcome. In business, this heightened degree of certainty is extremely valuable—and emerging digital twins may help deliver it. Read More

Does Pentagon need an overarching AI acquisition plan? A key official is wary

(Breaking Defense) While the Pentagon is spending billions of dollars on artificial intelligence, the deputy in charge of the office responsible for the acceleration of data and AI adoption said that it might not be necessary to have department-wide guidance to inform its AI acquisitions. During a RAND Corporation event on Tuesday, Margaret Palmieri, deputy chief digital and AI officer (CDAO), said the office is “not far along in providing department AI guidance, but I don’t know if we necessarily need to.” “What we’ve really been trying to wrestle with inside of CDAO is not to over centralize because the department is so diverse and distributed and so large, that we want innovation to happen at the edge,” Palmieri said. “And so we think we have some best practices, but not necessarily ready for blanket policy guidance quite yet.” Read More

Congress advances SAMOSA bill to overhaul federal software purchasing

(Fedscoop) Bipartisan legislation intended to consolidate U.S. government software purchasing and give agencies greater ability to push back on restrictive software licensing has moved forward in the House of Representatives. The Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act passed mark-up by the House Oversight Committee Wednesday morning, and now moves forward to be debated by lawmakers on the House floor. The SAMOSA legislation has potentially widespread implications for U.S. government software procurement, including mandating more centralized software purchasing and the requirement for independent watchdog audits of agency contracts with big tech companies. Read More

Hackers based in China nab email data from US government agencies

(Cyberscoop) A sophisticated Chinese hacking operation gained access to email accounts associated with roughly two dozen organizations that included a number of U.S. government entities and the private email accounts of individuals associated with the targeted organizations, Microsoft and U.S. government officials said. “Last month, U.S. government safeguards identified an intrusion in Microsoft’s cloud security, which affected unclassified systems,” U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson Adam Hodge said in a statement. “Officials immediately contacted Microsoft to find the source and vulnerability in their cloud service. We continue to hold the procurement providers of the U.S. Government to a high security threshold.” Read More

Air Force to pause bonuses and PCS moves

(Federal News Network) An unforeseen funding shortfall means Air Force families will face a delay in permanent changes of station (PCS) and a pause in retention bonuses for the rest of this year. The Air Force detailed the programs it would curtail in a statement released Monday. About 2,000 bonuses would be affected by the pause along with about 20,000 PCS orders, according to an Air Force spokesperson. “The funding shortfall resulted from higher-than-expected PCS costs as a result of inflation and the addition of recruiting and retention bonuses,” said Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek in an emailed response to Federal News Network. Read More

Building blocks of Mars life? Perseverance rover digs up diverse set of organic molecules on the Red Planet

( NASA’s Perseverance rover has found a diverse menagerie of organic molecules in a Martian crater, a new study reports. Organic compounds are molecules composed of carbon, and often include other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur. Previously, scientists had detected several types of organic molecules of Martian origin — in meteorites blasted off Mars by cosmic impacts that landed on Earth, and in Gale Crater on the Red Planet, which NASA’s Curiosity rover has been exploring since 2012. Read More

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