NewsBrief: March 15, 2024

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: March 15, 2024

AUKUS critics jump on Virginia-class sub budget plan, but Canberra sanguine

(Breaking Defense) News that the US Navy plans to build only one Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack sub next year sparked AUKUS critics here to decry the trilateral agreement as a bust, with former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claiming his country had been “mugged by reality” when the news broke. The US needs to build 2.33 Los Angeles-class boats each year to meet both the requirements of the US Navy for 66 boats and to provide three to five boats to Australia. Despite a stated goal by the Navy to grow to two subs per year, production rates have been stuck at just over one each year. Read More

CISA rolls out secure software attestation form

(NextGov/FCW) DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released its long-awaited software development attestation form that requires federal contractors to detail minimum required security standards used in software that interacts with government systems. The form, born out of a sweeping 2021 cybersecurity executive order and an OMB software supply chain memorandum, is meant to enforce secure by design principles frequently pushed by CISA that encourage software makers to blueprint their products with strong, built-in baseline security features. Read More

Lawmakers debate the role of an overworked and under-resourced FEMA

(Government Executive) Amid growing recognition the Federal Emergency Management Agency is struggling to keep pace with its new, permanent state of response, some lawmakers are questioning whether the organization has bitten off more than it can chew. FEMA employees in recent years have deployed to natural disaster sites, wildfires, the U.S.-Mexico border, in support of the resettling of Afghan evacuees and for pandemic assistance, all while dealing with a staff 6,000 workers short of the agency’s goal. Read More

I’m disappointed’: Pentagon CIO cybersecurity chief asks industry, where’s my AI?

(Breaking Defense) For years, Pentagon leaders have argued that cybersecurity, like missile defense, was a natural place to start using artificial intelligence: high-speed, high-stakes, with too much data coming in too fast for a human mind to comprehend. But, amidst the current AI boom, have algorithms materialized that can help cybersecurity today? “So far, not really,” lamented David McKeown, the Pentagon’s senior information security officer and deputy CIO for cybersecurity, when the question came up at an AFCEA TechNet Emergence panel Monday. “I’m disappointed.” Read More

Ukraine: DOD Should Improve Data for Both Defense Article Delivery and End-Use Monitoring

(U.S. Government Accountability Office) Since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022, the U.S. has provided more than $42 billion in security assistance, including defense articles, training, and services, to the government of Ukraine. U.S.-origin defense articles have been provided primarily using Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which allows the President to transfer articles and services from U.S. stocks, and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which the U.S. government may use to provide articles and services to Ukraine. Read More

Implementing generative AI with speed and safety

(McKinsey & Company) Generative AI (gen AI) presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for companies, with the potential for transformative impact across innovation, growth, and productivity. The technology can now produce credible software code, text, speech, high-fidelity images, and interactive videos. It has identified the potential for millions of new materials through crystal structures and even developed molecular models that may serve as the base for finding cures for previously untreated diseases. Read More

House Backs Bills Aiming to Consolidate Office Space, over White House Opposition

(FEDweek) The House has passed, over the objections of the White House, a set of bills pressing for consolidating federal office space in light of a 2023 GAO report finding low rates of usage in many federal headquarters buildings and saying that agencies differ in how they define occupancy rates and how they measure employee presence onsite. The primary bill, HR-6276, would require the GSA and OMB to “establish standard methodologies and identify technologies available for measuring occupancy in public buildings and federally-leased space.” Read More

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