Newsbrief May 24, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: May 24, 2019

As federal AI spending nears $1B, 2nd wave of agencies consider use cases

(Federal News Network) Buzz about artificial intelligence has led to increased spending and put several Trump administration directives in motion, but only a handful of agencies have gotten into the early stages of AI adoption. However, a second wave of agencies may soon launch their own AI tools if they can overcome some common hurdles. The Professional Services Council Foundation, in a report released Wednesday, highlighted some of the challenges and opportunities agencies face in using AI to deliver on their mission. Read More

House Appropriators Take Aim at Some of the Pentagon’s Most Ambitious Tech Ideas

(Defense One) The new Congress is cold on many of the Pentagon’s most elaborate projects and plans. A $10 billion data cloud, giant ray guns in space, a sixth-generation fighter jet — these are just some of the biggest ideas out of the Pentagon in the last several years. But they’ve failed to impress the House Appropriations Committee, which released its version of the 2020 defense spending bill report yesterday. Read More

The Navy wants a jammer that will help when flying into enemy airspace

(C4ISRNET) The Navy has awarded $27 million in contract extensions to two companies working to demonstrate a proof of concept for the service’s next phase of its premier airborne electronic warfare system. Northrop Grumman and L3 were awarded $13.5 million and $13.6 million, respectively, to continue working on the Next Generation Jammer Low Band program, according to a May 8 Department of Defense announcement. The funds will expand the analysis and design of the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer low band pod. Read More

Space Force Clears Senate Committee After House Attempt to Stall

(Defense One) The Senate Armed Services Committee’s legislation “greatly increases the odds that we end up with some sort of a Space Force,” one expert says. One week after a House subcommittee rejected new funding for President Trump’s new Space Force, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted in favor of the new service branch for the U.S. military, but scaled back some of the administration’s proposal. Senior committee aides speaking to reporters on Thursday were short on details, but the move marks the first time a Senate panel has voted to support a separate service for space. In the same measure, senators also called for an overhaul of how the military buys satellites and launch services. Read More

New ID policy looks to leverage government credentials

(FCW) An updated credentialing policy from the White House looks to tap agency-issued identifiers like Social Security numbers to secure digital transactions. A new memo from the Office of Management and Budget directs agencies to set up teams for each agency to govern identity management efforts. It also stresses the importance of making valid identities interoperable across agency boundaries. To that end, the memo directs agencies to accept existing personal identity verification credentials rather than issue new ones and to use PIV credentials as “a method to encrypt information in transit and shared between two or more federal employees or contractors.” It also tasks the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Federal CIO Council and the Federal Privacy Council to collaborate with agencies to pilot alternatives to managing identities. Read More

Estonia signs defense agreement with the US

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — Estonia on Tuesday signed a new defense cooperation agreement with the United States, becoming the third and final Baltic nation to reach an agreement with the Pentagon on future defense planning. The agreement, signed at the Pentagon by Katie Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, and Kadi Silde, Estonia’s undersecretary for defense policy, covers defense cooperation between the two nations through 2024 — although the details of the two-page document are, admittedly, still to be fleshed out. Read More

OPM offers guides for handling automation’s effect on federal workforce

(fedscoop) The Office of Personnel Management released a new set of tools Wednesday in its ongoing effort to reskill federal employees as technologies like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence begin to displace people from their current jobs. The emphasis of OPM’s latest effort is the blending of technological know-how with social skills. “Federal workers can be upskilled to high-value work that really engages them and has a direct impact on our mission,”said Margaret Weichert, acting director of OPM, in the announcement. “Federal agencies will have greater capacity to redeploy workers, through reskilling efforts, to meet their most pressing, mission-critical needs.” Read More

Agencies Could Stretch Budgets By Embracing Drones

(Nextgov) In recent years, the government and hobbyists alike have begun using unmanned aerial vehicles for everything from battlefield surveillance to videography. The Federal Aviation Administration predicts the number of UAVs in existence will more than double from 1.1 million in 2017 to 2.4 million units in 2022. Many applications of drone technology remain untapped, and some overlook its most prominent benefit: cost savings. Read More

How People Analytics Can Change an Organization

(Wharton University of Pennsylvania) Increasingly, HR departments are becoming people analytics departments. More than 70% of companies now say they consider people analytics to be a high priority, according to Harvard Business Review. Firms in nearly all industries are exploring how data can be applied to improve recruiting, hiring, training and development, performance management, and more. Read More

How an Inflating Universe Could Create a Multiverse

( It’s a perennial sci-fi favorite: other worlds, other universes, other possibilities, right beyond the bounds of the known cosmos or just a flick of a magic device away. Maybe the other worlds are eerily similar to own except for some quirky little change in history. Maybe they’re radically different, with new and weird and wonderful kinds of life. Maybe they’re so different that the basic rules of physics don’t even apply there. I’m talking, of course, about the multiverse — the possibility that there are other distinct universes somewhere out there. Read More