NewsBrief June 11, 2021

Posted by


Cost Estimating NewsBrief: June 11, 2021

US Navy, Boeing conduct first-ever aerial refueling with unmanned tanker

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy conducted its first-ever aerial refueling between a manned aircraft and an unmanned tanker on June 4, with a Boeing-owned MQ-25 Stingray test vehicle performing its first midair tanking mission with a Navy F/A-18E-F Super Hornet. The test mission out of MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, proved the unmanned tanker could successfully use the Navy’s standard probe-and-drogue aerial refueling method. Once fielded, the MQ-25 will operate from aircraft carriers, refueling the air wing operating at sea and relieving the Super Hornet fleet of the tanking mission, which the Navy has said can at times account for more than one-third of Super Hornet flight hours during carrier air wing operations. Read More

DoD calls for whole-of-government effort to improve critical supply chains

(Federal News Network) The Defense Department said it will need at least $1 billion over the next five years to strengthen its stockpile of critical materials. The recommendation comes from a report mandated by the White House that looked at supply chain issues at DoD, the Commerce Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Energy Department. The Pentagon concluded that many of its supply chains for rare earth minerals and other strategic resources are at risk. “These supply chains are at serious risk of disruption and are rife with political intervention and distortionary trade practices,” the authors of the report wrote. Read More

Air Force launches new digital transformation office

(fedscoop) Air Force Materiel Command, the force’s major command in charge of buying and sustaining airplanes and weapons, has opened a new office to work on digital transformation across the Air and Space Force acquisition enterprises. The small office of 12 has big ambitions to work on broad digital transformations in both what the Air Force buys and how it buys it. It is being set up to be an “enabler” for the many new digitally-focused procurement and sustainment offices in the department with the aim to “[create] a digital governance structure” that will reach across specific mission areas, according to a press release announcing the office Tuesday. The goal appears similar to work being done in the Air Force’s chief information officer’s office, but with a focus on acquisition practices. Read More

DHS Needs to Fully Implement Key Practices in Acquiring Biometric Identity Management System

(GAO@100) The Department of Homeland Security started working on replacing its outdated biometric identity management system (fingerprint matching and facial recognition) in 2016. The new system is 3 years behind schedule due to technical and other challenges. DHS modified a major contract and took more steps to address the challenges. But when we compared the program to 14 IT acquisition best practices, officials had only fully implemented 7 of them. For example, officials didn’t fully review the contractor’s work products—making it harder to ensure that all requested changes were made. Read More

Transforming the end-to-end model life cycle through digitization

(McKinsey & Company) At many financial institutions (FIs) the end-to-end model life-cycle environment—encompassing model development, validation, and monitoring—is plagued by inefficiencies, inconsistencies, lack of transparency, and poor controls that frequently slow the response to competitive challenges and regulatory requests. The duress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has put an even brighter light on these challenges in the United States and Europe, and many companies have accelerated their rush to revamp their infrastructure across the end-to-end model life cycle. Read More

New Air Force One Could Be Delayed Another Year

(Government Executive) The arrival of two new $5 billion Air Force One presidential jets could be delayed by 12 months due to a dispute between Boeing and one of its suppliers, Air Force officials told lawmakers Tuesday. Boeing has told the Air Force they need the extra year to finish modifying the 747-8 airliners into flying White Houses. But like everything involved in this high-profile, multibillion-dollar project, that’s up for negotiation. “We will assess all of that,” Darlene Costello, the service’s principal deputy assistant secretary of acquisition, technology, and logistics, said Tuesday at a House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee hearing. Read More

Security clearance demands are exploding and government must keep up

(FCW) Costly security breaches, including the SolarWinds attack and the Colonial Pipeline ransomware scheme, are an increasing threat to national security. The federal government’s frontline defense is a combination of public sector civil servants and private sector contractors who, together, protect both the online and bricks and mortar assets of our nation. The sensitive nature of our nation’s security demands that most members of this workforce undergo a robust security clearance process to ensure they are able and willing to safeguard the nation and its national security information and assets. Read More

NASA to Air Briefing, Spacewalks to Install New Station Solar Arrays

(NASA) Expedition 65 astronauts will conduct two spacewalks – one Wednesday, June 16, and the other Sunday, June 20 – to install new solar arrays to help power the International Space Station. NASA will discuss the upcoming spacewalks during a news conference at 2 p.m. EDT Monday, June 14. Live coverage of the news conference and spacewalks will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app. NASA flight engineer Shane Kimbrough and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will conduct both spacewalks, which will be the 239th and 240th in support of station assembly, maintenance, and upgrades. Read More

Space Force focuses on building a digital workforce

(FCW) The U.S. Space Force is focusing on building its cadre of coders amid a workforce boom with more interested applicants than available positions, according to the branch’s chief of space operations. “We’ve got more people knocking on our door wanting to become a part of the space force than we have positions; we can be very selective of who we bring in,” Gen. John Raymond said during a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on June 8. Raymond testified that promotion rates to colonel and lieutenant colonel had also increased from being 20% below the Air Force average to above par. Read More

‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse 2021: See amazing photos from stargazers

( The first solar eclipse of the year occurred Thursday (June 10) as the moon will passed in front of the sun and create the illusion of a “ring of fire” in the sky in northern Canada, Greenland and the Arctic. Other parts of the Northern Hemisphere saw a sunrise partial eclipse. See stunning photos of the June 10 “ring of fire” solar eclipse from stargazers around the world. Read More