NewsBrief March 6, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: March 6, 2020

Space Force offers sneak peak at agile acquisition plans

(fedscoop) The newly formed Space Force has aspirations to be an “agile” and “lean” force. To turn that into a reality, it’s intentionally building out a risk-friendly culture and making its own software acquisition process. Gen. John Raymond, the force’s first chief of the space operations, told Congress on Wednesday that a draft of the force’s acquisition policies will be completed next week. The draft will include recommendations for how to reduce requirements lists and work with non-traditional defense companies, Raymond said. The Space Force will also lean on the Air Force, the department it is housed under, for “80 percent” of its support services. Beyond specific changes to how the Space Force will structure its acquisitions, it wants to establish a culture that is risk-tolerant, Raymond told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday. Read More

Accelerating AI impact by taming the data beast

(McKinsey & Company) Artificial intelligence (AI) has the power to dramatically enhance the way public-sector agencies serve their constituents, tackle their most vexing issues, and get the most out of their budgets. Several converging factors are pressuring governments to embrace AI’s potential. As citizens become more familiar with the power of AI through digital banking, virtual assistants, and smart e-commerce, they are demanding better outcomes from their governments. Similarly, public servants are pushing for private sector–like solutions to boost on-the-job effectiveness. At the same time, AI technology is maturing rapidly and being incorporated into many offerings, making it increasingly accessible to all organizations. Most government agencies around the world do not yet have all of the building blocks of successful AI programs—clear vision and strategy, budget, high-quality available data, and talent—in place. Even as AI strategy is formulated, budget secured, and talent attracted, data remains a significant stumbling block. For governments, getting all of an organization’s data “AI ready” is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming (see sidebar, “AI-ready data defined”), limiting the impact of AI to pilots and projects within existing silos. Read More

Hyperconverged Infrastructure for AI, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics

(Meritalk) When you hear the terms “artificial intelligence” (AI) and “machine learning” (ML) (and let’s be honest, if you have even a sliver of interest in technology, it’s difficult not to), hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, HCI is beginning to play an important role in high-performance use cases like AI and ML with its ability to capture, process, and reduce vast quantities of data at the source of creation in a small form factor. In this blog, the third in a 3-part series on hyperconverged infrastructure, we’ll examine the role HCI is playing in deploying a complete AI solution. If you’d like to read the previous blogs, you can read about the role that HCI plays in enabling a disaster recovery solution and how it is changing the dynamics for edge computing and remote offices. Hyperconverged infrastructure at the core of a hybrid multi-cloud model bridges the gaps among public cloud, on-prem private cloud, and existing data center infrastructure, enabling organizations to manage end-to-end data workflows to help ensure that data is easily accessible for AI. Read More

CBP successfully tested an ‘interoperable’ blockchain system for protecting intellectual property

(fedscoop) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a new strategy to help expand the application of artificial intelligence in its missions. The NOAA AI strategy sets five goals to improve coordination, understanding, application and awareness of AI across the agency and one of the goals is establishing efficient organizational processes and structure to advance AI. There are five supporting objectives for the first goal, including the establishment of an AI center or a similar entity to facilitate coordination of AI research, data acquisition and algorithm development, among others. Read More

F-35 program head pushes back on Elon Musk’s critique of the Joint Strike Fighter

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — Days after billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk shocked the defense community by criticizing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s head of the F-35 program countered that the jet will be relevant for decades to come. “I guess I’m not all that interested in engaging in a battle of words with Elon Musk. I don’t necessarily share his opinion,” Lt. Gen. Eric Fick told attendees at McAleese & Associates’ Defense Programs Conference on Wednesday. “I think the F-35 is a remarkable capability and will continue to be a remarkable capability with the initiatives and the process, procedure and transformation that we see within the program. I’m happy to see what comes next, be it manned or unmanned, but I think the F-35 is going to be here for a long time.” Read More

How Government Program Management Took a Cue from The Big Screen

(Government Executive) The federal government provides critically needed services across the nation each day, to millions of people. Families receive Social security checks, students receive support to attend college, small businesses receive loans—the list goes on. The very scale of government services means that a problem in program delivery can impact a significant portion of the population. And such problems reverberate as advocacy groups, oversight bodies, and media raise legitimate questions about what went wrong. Longstanding concerns about program management have been a recurring theme of the Government Accountability Office’s high-risk list, and the issue was raised by Don Kettl (then with the University of Maryland, now with the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas) in this IBM Center report. Read More

How to secure the U.S. government’s technology supply chain

(Fifth Domain) Fears of a full-on cyberattack, or more insidious scattered technical invasions, have escalated since the 2016 U.S. presidential election was found to be influenced by foreign hacking. More recently, unrest in the Middle East following U.S. threats of war against Iran, as well as the 2020 elections have fueled concerns about vulnerability in the American government’s technical supply chain. At the same time the U.S. government is working to prevent foreign telecommunications firms like China-based Huawei from building 5G networks in the United States, as well as for allies’ networks that they could breach, the country could face a more menacing risk from its own IT supply chain exposure. Read More

AI Being Applied to Optimize Electric Battery Recharging

(aitrends) A team of researchers from Stanford University, MIT and the Toyota Research Institute have used AI to dramatically speed up the time required to test and optimally charge batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). As recently reported in Nature, Stanford professors Stefano Ermon and William Chueh sought ways to charge an EV battery more quickly while maximizing the overall battery life. The study showed how a patented AI program could predict different ways batteries would react to charging methods. The software also decided in real time what charging approaches to focus on or ignore. The researchers cut the testing process from two years to 16 days by reducing the length and number of trials. Read More

Robot uses artificial intelligence and imaging to draw blood

(RoboDaily) Rutgers engineers have created a tabletop device that combines a robot, artificial intelligence and near-infrared and ultrasound imaging to draw blood or insert catheters to deliver fluids and drugs. Their most recent research results, published in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence, suggest that autonomous systems like the image-guided robotic device could outperform people on some complex medical tasks. Medical robots could reduce injuries and improve the efficiency and outcomes of procedures, as well as carry out tasks with minimal supervision when resources are limited. Read More

Voyager 2 is gathering science data again after recovering from a glitch in interstellar space

( All five remaining instruments on NASA’s venerable Voyager 2 spacecraft are back to gathering science data after power overuse in late January interrupted the probe’s operations. NASA made the announcement yesterday (March 3), over a month after the incident occurred. Troubleshooting for the spacecraft is a slow process because of its distance from Earth; it takes 17 hours for each command to reach the probe and for data indicating its efficacy to reach engineers. Read More