NewsBrief June 4, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: June 4, 2021

The Air Force wants rocket deliveries to anywhere on Earth in under an hour

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The Air Force Research Laboratory boosted the prominence of its Rocket Cargo initiative to deliver freight on commercial rockets to anywhere on Earth in under an hour, naming it the lab’s fourth Vanguard program. AFRL, which noted the designation in the Air Force fiscal 2022 budget request released last week, uses its Vanguard programs to pursue transformational technologies, including next-generation navigation satellites or a swarm of networked munitions that can autonomously attack multiple targets simultaneously. The Air Force spent $9.7 million on Rocket Cargo in FY21. For FY22, the Air Force asked for $47.9 million. In February, AFRL’s commander said the lab was looking to accelerate development of its three Vanguard programs while adding more in the coming years — and now Rocket Cargo has taken that first new Vanguard spot. Read More

Army Secretary Wormuth says modernization programs remain ‘a top priority’

(fedscoop) The newly sworn-in Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth has said that modernization programs remain “a top priority” in her first message to service personnel. “The army must be manned, trained, equipped and modernized to be ready to fight today, but also to meet the demands of an uncertain and unpredictable future,” Wormuth wrote in a memo sent on June 1. “Seeing our modernization programs through successfully will remain a top priority so that the Army is ready to meet future challenges.” The secretary wrote to service members after last week being sworn in as the first woman to lead the Army. She has previously held several senior DOD positions, including the undersecretary for policy. Read More

Navy projects $133 million in business system reforms savings for 2022

(FCW) Eliminating and updating legacy business systems and processes may have trimmed more than $133 million from the Navy’s $211.7 billion budget request for fiscal 2022. According to budget documents, most of those savings, about $126.5 million, come from cancelling the technical refresh for fleet IT maintenance processes and tools for the Navy Maritime Maintenance Enterprise Solution. Another $5.5 million was reportedly saved from shutting down legacy business systems as the Navy works to “streamline financial management systems and consolidate general ledger systems.” Read More

GSA making ‘significant’ investments to automate FedRAMP processes

(fedscoop) The General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services arm is making “significant” investments in automating security authorization processes for cloud service providers, Director Dave Zvenyach said on Wednesday. Zvenyach said these new investments under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) will focus on automation, process improvements and additional resources to help plug gaps, as well as make agencies more aware of existing authorities to operate (ATOs). FedRAMP approves secure cloud technologies for agencies’ reuse via ATOs. Onboarding new cloud service providers, however, carries significant costs, not only that of the initial authorization but also annual reassessments, significant change requests and continuous monitoring as well. Read More

Unlocking the Full Potential of Edge-AI with a Groundbreaking New Technology Approach

(iot for all) Running AI models at the edge rather than in the cloud offers significant advantages for IoT applications. Edge-AI designs can be simpler, data processing is more secure, and the overall user experience is superior. Furthermore, edge-AI processing is more advantageous for applications like video analytics that require low-latency processing of vast amounts of data in real-time. The challenge for edge-AI original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) – whether they are designing consumer electronics, enterprise equipment, or industrial applications – is to develop low-cost, small form-factor devices with low latency, high performance, and low power. Read More

Pentagon wants to use its biggest IT program to test ‘colorless’ software appropriation

(Federal News Network) The Defense Department is still in the early stages of an experiment to change how it funds software development, but it’s already planning to put that test on rocket fuel, owing mostly to the addition of a huge Navy program. As part of its 2022 budget proposal, the Pentagon is asking Congress to dramatically expand the number of dollars it’s allowed to expend through a pilot effort to test a new “color of money” for software, including by using it for the single biggest IT program in the federal government. Read More

Researchers fine-tune control over AI image generation

(ScienceDaily) Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new state-of-the-art method for controlling how artificial intelligence (AI) systems create images. The work has applications for fields from autonomous robotics to AI training. At issue is a type of AI task called conditional image generation, in which AI systems create images that meet a specific set of conditions. For example, a system could be trained to create original images of cats or dogs, depending on which animal the user requested. More recent techniques have built on this to incorporate conditions regarding an image layout. Read More

The ability to share data could prove key to deterring and defeating adversaries

(C4ISRNET) This month, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. signed a document that could help form the foundation of success in future warfare. He approved the Air Force’s first-ever Advanced Battle Management System campaign plan as a playbook to achieving “decision superiority” in support of the Department of Defense’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative. Gen. Brown identified eight war-fighting capabilities the Air Force and Space Force must develop to achieve decision superiority: data sharing; human capital development; distributed decision-making; advanced communications; advanced sensing; integrated planning; command and control of convergence of effects; and accelerated decision-making. Read More

Leadership at a Time When Every Company Is a Tech Company

(MITSloan) In 2011, Marc Andreessen, cofounder and general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, penned a phrase in The Wall Street Journal that quickly caught fire: Software is eating the world. This pronouncement ricocheted across business and media and was repeated everywhere from board meetings to developer conferences. In five simple words, Andreesen had distilled the technology revolution that was taking place in Silicon Valley and spreading across the globe. Read More

NASA Selects 2 Missions to Study ‘Lost Habitable’ World of Venus

(NASA) NASA has selected two new missions to Venus, Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor. Part of NASA’s Discovery Program, the missions aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world when it has so many other characteristics similar to ours – and may have been the first habitable world in the solar system, complete with an ocean and Earth-like climate. These investigations are the final selections from four mission concepts NASA picked in February 2020 as part of the agency’s Discovery 2019 competition. Following a competitive, peer-review process, the two missions were chosen based on their potential scientific value and the feasibility of their development plans. The project teams will now work to finalize their requirements, designs, and development plans. Read More