NewsBrief June 12, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: June 12, 2020

DIU looking for robots that can kill coronavirus

(fedscoop) The Defense Innovation Unit, the military’s Silicon Valley liaison for acquiring emerging technology, wants a “automated hardware solution” to decontaminate areas potentially harboring coronavirus particles. DIU’s solicitation seeks tech that can operate in military-specific environments, like onboard a ship or in sleeping quarters. Already, the pandemic has caused readiness setbacks, such as the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s needing to take harbor while the virus spread through the ship and caused the death of a sailor. Other service branches have had to adjust their training and recruitment to account for social distancing. Read More

‘COVID penalty’ could cost Pentagon at least $10 billion in contractor claims

(FCW) The Pentagon could soon be fielding upwards of $10 billion in coronavirus claims from defense companies looking for relief under COVID-19 relief legislation. Ellen Lord, the Defense Department’s top acquisition official, told the House Armed Services Committee the more funds were needed to pay for the “COVID penalty” or added costs to defense contracts resulting from costs incurred during the pandemic, including paid leave, personal protective gear, cleaning materials and services, and restructuring production facilities for social distancing. Lord wouldn’t specify the exact amount during the June 10 hearing on the coronavirus impact on DOD procurement but did say an unidentified prime planned to submit a claim of more than $1 billion in added costs to existing contracts. Read More

Air Force Materiel Command to Digitally Modernize Life Cycle Process

(ExecutiveGov) Air Force Materiel Command has begun to digitally update the system that facilitates the life cycle of technologies used by the service branch. AFMC wants to establish an enterprise-wide digital ecosystem that provides life cycle data needed for system development, maintenance and testing, the U.S. Air Force said Monday. The effort aims to accelerate USAF’s system life cycle including the transition of technologies to warfighters. “Transitioning to a digital AFMC enterprise is a priority for our command and is foundational to our success in today’s adversarial environment,” said Gen. Arnold Bunch, AFMC commander. Read More

Software glitch, mismanagement cost OSHA $92 million

(FCW) Faulty software and poor oversight caused an agency within the Department of Labor to miss out on tens of millions of dollars in uncollected debts. In a June 4 letter to the White House, Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner cites an unnamed whistleblower who reported that officials in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Treasury did not move to correct an error in Treasury’s debt processing software—called Artiva—that prevented the collection of $79 million in OSHA debts related to safety violations in the workplace. Read More

The key to organizing government data for faster decision-making

(fedscoop) The Federal Data Strategy provides agency officials a framework to get more from their data. But agencies will need robust integration tools to master, not just manage, that information, say experts in a new report. That includes automated tools to fully identify and catalog government data, as part of a data management strategy, so that agency and program leaders have greater assurance about the quality of the information they rely on to make decisions. Read More

DOD Announces $250M to Ukraine

(US Dept of Defense) The Department of Defense announced today its plans for $250 million in Fiscal Year 2020 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression. This reaffirms the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Ukraine – a critical partner on the front line of strategic competition with Russia. The United States remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. Read More

The Army AI task force takes on two ‘key’ projects

(C4ISRNET) The Army’s artificial intelligence task force is working on two key projects, including one that would allow unmanned vehicles in the air to communicate with autonomous vehicles on the ground, after securing new funding, a service official said June 10. Gen. Mike Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, said during a June 10 webinar hosted by the Association of the United States Army that the task force has moved forward on the projects through its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, launched in late 2018 . Read More

How the Pandemic Upended Our Perception of Time

(Government Executive) hink back to life before stay-at-home orders. Does it feel like just yesterday? Or does it seem like ages ago – like some distant era? Of course, time is precise. It takes 23.9 hours for the Earth to make one rotation on its axis. But that’s not how we experience time. Instead, internally, it’s often something we feel or sense, rather than objectively measure. It turns out our emotional state tends to play a big role in our perception of time – a dynamic that I’ve studied for 10 years. Much research has shown that relative to an emotional negative state, a positive one makes time appear to pass more quickly. Read More

Quantum ‘fifth state of matter’ observed in space for first time

(SpaceDaily) Scientists have observed the fifth state of matter in space for the first time, offering unprecedented insight that could help solve some of the quantum universe’s most intractable conundrums, research showed Thursday. Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) — the existence of which was predicted by Albert Einstein and Indian mathematician Satyendra Nath Bose almost a century ago — are formed when atoms of certain elements are cooled to near absolute zero (0 Kelvin, minus 273.15 Celsius). Read More

World’s first spherical artificial eye has 3D retina

(ScienceDaily)An international team led by scientists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has recently developed the world’s first 3D artificial eye with capabilities better than existing bionic eyes and in some cases, even exceed those of the human eyes, bringing vision to humanoid robots and new hope to patients with visual impairment. Scientists have spent decades trying to replicate the structure and clarity of a biological eye, but vision provided by existing prosthetic eyes — largely in the form of spectacles attached with external cables, are still in poor resolution with 2D flat image sensors. Read More