NEWSBRIEF July 5, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: July 5, 2019

Norway To Spend 10,000 Working Hours To Estimate Cost Of F-35s After Newspaper Alleges Price Gap Of $1.9 Billion

( A core team consisting of ten people will be assigned 10,000 working hours to estimate the price of the F-35 aircraft after a Norwegian newspaper alleged in April that the government inflated the cost of the fighters by NOK 16 billion (almost $1.9 billion). Frank Bakke-Jensen, the country’s defense minister was put to task by Nowegian parliament’s control and constitutional committee to evaluate the price of the fighters based on the current dollar exchange rate after the newspaper Bergens Tidende, claimed that the government paid nearly $2 billion extra over 2012’s estimation of the jets. Read More

Army awards key contracts to build virtual trainers

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — The Army has awarded several key contracts to build virtual trainers, which make up a critical part of the service’s developing Synthetic Training Environment (STE). Cole Engineering Services, Inc. (CESI) was selected from a pool of vendors with solutions for ground and air virtual trainers on June 28 to build a prototype of the Army’s Synthetic Training Environment’s Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainer (RVCT). Read More

Report: FAS mismanaged the transition to $50B EIS contract

(fedscoop) The Federal Acquisition Service improperly managed a task order supporting the governmentwide move to a new network services contract, according to a recent audit. A hotline complaint was placed to the General Services Administration concerning FAS’s oversight of the Transition Ordering Assistance (TOA) task order, meant to assist agencies’ adoption of Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS). Read More

A few months ago I wrote about Kessel Run, the Air Force effort to both promote agile and bring more Air Force software development in-house. After the blog came out, I was contacted by Lt. Luke Sutherland of the 517th software engineering squadron at Hill Air Force Base in Utah (part of the Ogden Air Logistics Center, recently renamed from the 517th maintenance squadron), who wanted to talk about things they were doing in these areas. I wanted to focus in our discussions on how the Air Force is looking at in-house software development. After some delays on my end and a number of conversations, I am ready to report what I learned. Read More

Karem, Northrop, Raytheon team for Army’s future attack recon helo competition

(DefenseNews)WASHINGTON — Karem Aircraft has forged a team with Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to compete in the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) competition, according to a July 1 company statement. Karem was one of five companies awarded a prototyping development contract in April. Read More

DOD tweaks acquisition strategies for unmanned systems

(FCW) The Defense Department is trying new acquisition strategies when it comes to unmanned aerial systems. Kevin Fahey, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, said his office is trying to steer DOD away from the habit of developing new technologies and training requirements at the same time. Read More

MIT Drag-and-Drop Data Analytics: Machine Learning for Everyone

(Synced) From Andrew Ng’s “AI for everyone” courses on Coursera to tech giants’ open-sourced tools that lower the tech bar for building machine learning models, we are seeing a wide range of efforts aimed at simplifying AI to make it accessible to everyone. Northstar is an interactive data science cloud platform introduced last year by MIT and Brown University. It enables users without programming experience or a background in statistics to easily explore and mine data through an intuitive black-and-while user interface on touchscreen devices such as smartphones, tablets or interactive whiteboards. The drag-and-drop interface allows users to easily discover patterns inside the data and build machine learning pipelines.
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Government wants public help with its online shopping problem

(Federal Times) The General Services Administration is on a mission to change how federal agencies buy commercial products by establishing a commercial e-commerce portal that would simplify and streamline the government’s estimated $6 billion open market purchases. The agency announced July 2 that it wants industry input on the proof of concept of that e-commerce portal, which would test for a larger scale offering by starting with just a few agency customers.Read More

Pentagon Eyes Military Space Station

(breakingdefense)WASHINGTON: The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit wants options for an unmanned orbital outpost to support space experiments and operations — a logistics hub that might even grow, DIU’s solicitation suggests, to a larger manned space station. Read More

Google Just Made Machine Learning More Accessible And Portable With Containers

(Forbes) Google has announced the availability of preconfigured container images with deep learning frameworks and tools. Though it may sound seemingly simple, this is a certainly a big deal for the data science and machine learning community. Read More