NewsBrief July 2, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: July 2, 2021

Artificial Intelligence: An Accountability Framework for Federal Agencies and Other Entities

(GAO@100) As a nation, we have yet to grasp the full benefits or unwanted effects of artificial intelligence. AI is widely used, but how do we know it’s working appropriately? This report identifies key accountability practices—centered around the principles of governance, data, performance, and monitoring—to help federal agencies and others use AI responsibly. For example, the governance principle calls for users to set clear goals and engage with diverse stakeholders. To develop these practices, we held a forum on AI oversight with experts from government, industry, and nonprofits. We also interviewed federal inspector general officials and AI experts. Read More

CISA predicts cyber EO will drive progress on zero trust

(FCW) Federal officials said Wednesday they see a path to “meaningful progress” on zero trust across government agencies in three years with the help of tight deadlines featured in President Joe Biden’s cybersecurity executive order. Most agencies were just beginning to create zero trust implementation plans in response to a 60-day deliverable within the cyber EO, according to Matt Hartman, deputy executive assistant director for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), who spoke at an ACT-IAC panel about the order’s impact on improving national cybersecurity. Read More

Intel agencies, armed services push for more data and capability sharing to win future fights

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The military and intelligence services are working closer together to share data and capabilities in order to stay ahead of pacing threats, but work remains. In the burgeoning information sphere and future operational environment, senior military leaders predict the U.S. will fight against sophisticated adversaries, and rapid integration as well as data and capability sharing will be crucial. “[Am I] satisfied with where we sit right now? No. Am I bullish that we are absolutely headed in the right direction? Yes,” Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and director of naval intelligence, said June 30 during a virtual presentation at the WEST 2021 conference. Read More

DOD to send AI data teams to combatant commands this summer

(FCW) The Defense Department will start sending out teams of data and artificial intelligence experts in the next month to help combatant commands speed AI implementation efforts as part of a new initiative. “Our combatant commanders have some of the most intense decision-making environments, but have yet to have the opportunity to apply the latest tools to responsive decision support. And we want to correct that. And we want to do that in a repeatable way,” Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, the director of the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, told reporters June 24. Read More

Census Bureau training 5 agencies to run ‘do-it-yourself’ data sprints

(Federal News Network) The Census Bureau’s Opportunity Project matches agencies up with tech teams from the private sector to create digital projects that benefit the public and unlock new benefits from federal data. This year’s sprints focused on addressing COVID-19 and post-pandemic recovery. But for the year ahead, the bureau is also working with five agencies to facilitate these data sprints on their own. Opportunity Project Director Drew Zachary told Federal News Network her team is working on developing a “do-it-yourself model” for partner agencies, while the bureau serves as an accelerator for larger projects. Read More

Fully vaccinated feds get more travel freedom

(Federal Times) Federal employees that have received the full course of a COVID-19 vaccine and have completed the two-week efficacy period can now travel for personal and professional reasons without going through self-quarantine and testing before returning to work, according to guidance issued Jun 24 by the White House COVID-19 Response Team. According to the guidance, there is no governmentwide restriction on official travel for fully vaccinated feds, though agency policy and collective bargaining agreements may place individual restrictions on official travel. Read More

Pentagon UFO Report: No Aliens, but Government Transparency and Desire for Better Data Might Bring Science to the UFO World

(Government Executive) On June 25, 2021, the Pentagon released a much-anticipated report on UFOs to Congress. The military has rebranded unidentified flying objects as unidentified aerial phenomena –UAPs – in part to avoid the stigma that has been attached to claims of aliens visiting the Earth since the Roswell incident in 1947. The report presents no convincing evidence that alien spacecraft have been spotted, but some of the data defy easy interpretation. Read More

Pricing and promotions: The analytics opportunity

(McKinsey & Company) he scenario is a familiar one to e-commerce retailers: a supplier increases prices on an item, so a category manager increases the item’s selling price. But this effort to make sales of the item more profitable is promptly undermined by a well-intentioned marketing manager, who lowers the price of the item by 20 percent as part of a promotion. Such uncoordinated and counterproductive decisions happen much more often than most retailers realize, and they are expensive. Many promotions don’t turn a profit at all, or at least they don’t add nearly as much profitable revenue as retailers expect. Read More

Mars may have dozens of lakes beneath its south pole

( Much more liquid water may lie beneath the south pole of Mars than scientists had thought — or there may be something going on down there that they don’t fully understand. In 2018, researchers analyzing radar data gathered by Europe’s Mars Express spacecraft announced they’d found evidence of a big subsurface lake in the Red Planet’s south polar region. The lake appears to be about 12 miles (19 kilometers) wide, and it lies about 1 mile (1.6 km) beneath the dry, frigid surface, the scientists reported. Read More

NASA Software Benefits Earth, Available for Business, Public Use

(NASA) Many of NASA’s computational innovations were developed to help explore space, but the public can download them for applications that benefit us right here on Earth. The agency’s latest software catalog has hundreds of popular programs, as well as more than 180 new ones, all available for free download. “From operations here on Earth to missions to the Moon and Mars, software is integral to all that NASA does,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. Read More