NewsBrief: June 3, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: June 3, 2022

How the Pentagon Plans to Manage Inflation Costs in Contracts
The Defense Department knows cost increases due to inflation may begin to affect contracts. But, according to recent guidance, defense contracting officers are urged to “limit the scope” when using clauses for pay adjustments. “The current economic environment requires we understand the impacts of inflation to existing contracts and consider various approaches to manage risk of inflation to prospective Department of Defense (DOD) contracts,” John Tenaglia, the principal director for Defense Pricing and Contracting, wrote in a memo dated May 25. “Against this backdrop, DOD contractors and contracting officers (COs) alike have expressed renewed interest in using economic price adjustment (EPA) clauses.” Read More

This is How ‘Cultural Artifacts’ Impede the Defense Department’s Ability to Go Big on AI
(Government Executive)
The Defense Department has many predicaments to untangle when it comes to adopting emerging, and existing, technologies from workforce to acquisition. But when it comes to artificial intelligence, cultural and budget issues are the largest obstacles to widespread implementation, officials say. “Implementation is the key to successful transformation” but is also “extraordinarily challenging” because it cuts across nearly everything the Defense Department does such as educating the workforce, acquisition,” Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, the outgoing director of the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, said during a keynote at the Atlantic Council event on May 26. Read More

Pentagon announces new leadership for chief digital, AI office
The Pentagon’s new Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) has hired nearly a dozen senior leaders to serve in its top positions — and met its June 1 deadline to reach full operating capability, FedScoop learned Wednesday. This news comes nearly six months after the Department of Defense launched a major organizational restructure to place a number of technology-driving components under this newly established office, with the ultimate aim to better scale digital and Al-enabled capabilities across its massive enterprise. Read More

Pentagon recovered millions from contractors using tip line, report shows
(Federal Times)
The Pentagon recovered $13.2 million in six months from private contractors who committed violations in connection with awards, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General said. The figure, which represents the majority of the $13.9 million recovered through investigations of allegations initially reported to the DoD Hotline for fraud, waste and abuse, comes from the OIG’s semiannual report to Congress that highlight the audits and investigations conducted from October through March. Read More

DoD-commissioned study finds Pentagon has largely neglected its civilian workforce
(Federal News Network)
The Defense Department’s non-uniformed workforce is comprised of some of the smartest people in the world. That might not be true forever. DoD’s current policies and practices for managing its civilian cadre are far behind the times, and the department isn’t doing nearly enough to plan its future workforce and find ways to make sure those plans come true, according to a new study by an influential advisory group. The Defense Business Board review found that DoD doesn’t have the structures or tools to manage its civilian talent as a “strategic asset.” Almost all of its important H.R. functions are handled by individual military services and agencies. DoD’s nominal chief human capital officer is a relatively junior official with no real access to meaningful workforce data. And across the board, training dollars and career-broadening opportunities for civilians are relatively scarce. Read More

The Challenges of Calculating a Lab Leak Risk
(Government Executive)
On a sunny September morning in 2011, at a conference on the Mediterranean island of Malta, virologist Ron Fouchier made an announcement that shook the scientific world. His lab, he said, had taken H5N1 avian influenza virus — which kills around 60 percent of people with known cases, but which cannot spread easily from person to person — and altered it to transmit among mammals. He had created, he told a reporter later that year, “probably one of the most dangerous viruses you can make.” Fouchier and others have said such research can help scientists prepare for future pandemics. But several thousand miles away in Massachusetts, Lynn Klotz reacted with concern. A physical biochemist, Klotz was on the Harvard University faculty in the 1970s, during contentious disputes about recombinant DNA research. Since 2005, he has been a senior science fellow at the nonprofit Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, where he has written about biological weapons. Read More

How a WW2 banana shortage changed the course of Twinkie history
(Navy Times)
Is there anything sweeter — literally or figuratively — than biting into the plastic-wrapped chemical compound of luxuriously spongey cake with vanilla cream that is a Twinkie? Perhaps not. But the original Hostess delicacy was once something else entirely. The preservative-filled dessert that many once believed could withstand nuclear war got its start as a banana cream shortcake, until World War II changed everything. Read More