NewsBrief: July 7, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: July 7, 2023

GAO Recommends More Planning by DoD on Artificial Intelligence

(FEDweek) In a recommendation on an issue of growing importance government-wide, the GAO has recommended that the Defense Department more thoroughly plan how it is going to acquire and use artificial intelligence capabilities. The department has designated AI as a top area for modernization for uses such as identifying threats or potential targets on a battlefield, GAO said, “and is allocating considerable spending to develop AI tools and capabilities.” “Although numerous entities across DoD are acquiring, developing, or already using AI, DoD has not issued department-wide guidance for how its components should approach acquiring AI. Read More

Defense Acquisition University Upskills DOD Workforce on AI & Data Analytics

(ExecutiveGov) The Defense Acquisition University is looking to upskill over 3,000 military and civilian professionals on artificial intelligence and data analytics to support the Department of Defense’s technology acquisition initiatives, Federal News Network reported Tuesday. David Pearson, director of the DAU’s Engineering and Technology Center, said the university is working to tailor its data and AI skills training courses to an acquisition professional’s specific role and career trajectory. “The emerging technology that’s going to be driving the performance of our defense systems that we send out to the field increasingly rely upon those who have the technical skills to properly manage and acquire them in the future,” Pearson said. Read More

How some agencies used tech to decrease improper payments

(Nextgov) Improper payments have long been a headache for the government, but some agencies have been able to reduce the rates of such mistakes in recent years, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. In fiscal year 2022, there were about $247 billion in improper payments governmentwide, a decrease of about $34 billion relative to the previous year but still over $40 billion more than fiscal year 2020, according to the report. The category of improper payments encapsulates payments that should not have been made or were made for the wrong amount, according to GAO. Read More

Transforming public sector hiring with data-enabled talent ‘win rooms’

(McKinsey & Company) The need for public sector workers has steadily increased over the past several years due to expanded government mandates and funding, including the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These and other initiatives have resulted in a rapid rise in the number of government jobs needing to be filled. In March 2023, there were 1.05 million government job openings—compared with fewer than 700,000 at the end of 20203—accounting for more than 10 percent of open jobs in the United States. Read More

Pentagon review finds no ‘single point of failure’ in Discord leaks, proposes new office to monitor users

(Breaking Defense) After a 45-day review of its security procedures and policies following the leak of hundreds of classified documents, the Pentagon says it can’t point to a single point of failure, but its “ambiguous” policies may have created “inconsistencies” that are partly to blame. “So there wasn’t a single point of failure,” a senior defense official said in a call with reporters today. “I think here the way to think about it is there are contributing factors to any security incident and so this was an opportunity, whilst the other work goes on with the Air Force and the law enforcement investigation, to make sure that we looked at this as quickly as possible to make sure that we made the improvements that we could quickly. Read More

That Time Acronymic Management Fads Were All the Rage

(Government Executive) Government lives by its acronyms. From the simple names of agencies to designations of programs, policies and projects, thousands of these little pieces of alphabetic shorthand bounce around federal offices every day. The Defense Department has an official Terminology Program to keep track of its myriad array of abbreviations. An overview document describing the program contains no fewer than five acronyms in its first paragraph alone. There’s one particular kind of federal alphabet soup, though, that’s different: the management fads that had their heyday in the latter part of the 20th century. In those days, it seemed like every week there was a new brand of elixir aimed at revitalizing the bureaucracy—usually borrowed from the latest private-sector trends. Read More

Cosmic ‘sandwich’ theory could explain how smaller planets are formed

( Smaller planets might be born when gas and dust is squeezed between larger worlds like the filling in a cosmic sandwich. The newly suggested process  —  dubbed “sandwiched planet formation”  —  would occur in the massive disks of planet-birthing gas and dust that swirl around stars in their infancy called “protoplanetary disks.” Around 4.5 billion years ago, the solar system itself would have existed as one such disk around the infant sun from which the planets arose. Read More

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