NewsBrief: May 26, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: May 26, 2023

NGA making ‘significant advances’ months into AI-focused Project Maven takeover

(Breaking Defense) Just months after taking over parts of the Pentagon’s flagship artificial intelligence project called Project Maven, the director of the National Geospatial Agency (NGA) said the agency has made “significant advances,” as it gets ready to become a program of record early next fiscal year. “In the mere months since taking over the project, we’ve made important strides,” Vice Adm. Frank Whitworth said Monday at the GEOINT 2023 conference. “We work closely with the combatant commands to integrate AI into workflows, accelerating operations and speed-to-decision. This benefits maritime domain awareness, target management and our ability to automatically search and detect objects of interest.” Read More

Space Force will look at how to hack targets from space

(FCW) Two Space Force troops are helping the Air Force’s information-warfare wing explore the future of offensive space operations, the leader of Space Operations Command said Wednesday. The Guardians are embedded with the 16th Air Force, which, among other missions, supplies cyber specialists to U.S. Cyber Command, he said. “Today, U.S. Cyber Command has offensive cyber capability. And one of the things they think about is how to leverage offensive cyber, cyber for space purposes in the future. Who better to be thinking about that and being the people executing that than cyber Guardians?” Read More

Feds Reported ‘Notable Levels’ of Perceived Banned Personnel Practices in 2021

(Government Executive) Federal employees reported perceptions of prohibited personnel practices at a lower frequency in 2021 than years prior, but there were still “notable levels,” according to a recent report. The Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent quasi-judicial agency, has conducted surveys in 2010, 2016 and 2021 of how federal employees view their workplace, including whether any of the 14 prohibited personnel practices (PPPs) have happened. A recent report compares and contrasts these results. Read More

New federal acquisition rule would straighten out small business rights

(Federal News Network) The Federal Acquisition Regulation Council is out with a new proposed rule regarding small businesses. Specifically, it would align the FAR with the Small Business Administration, when it comes to Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer, together known as SBIR and STTR. For the details, Federal Drive with Tom Temin spoke with Hanes Boone procurement attorney Zach Prince. Read More

Making government an even better place for women to work

(McKinsey & Company) When it comes to women’s representation in the US workplace, the public sector continues to have a clear edge over corporations. However, new McKinsey research finds that governmental organizations may struggle to keep leading the way toward gender parity. The latest edition of our annual Women in the Workplace report reveals that the public sector lags private-sector organizations in critical areas that could help curb burnout and attrition among women managers. But there are steps leaders can take to shore up support for women in management roles to ensure the civil services continue to attract and retain the talented women the nation needs. Read More

The north pole of Uranus has a stormy vortex and we’ve just seen it for the 1st time (photo)

( A vortex of relatively warm air has been detected swirling beneath Uranus’ clouds, providing strong evidence for the existence of a cyclone anchored at the planet’s north pole. The findings add fuel to the fire that Uranus is not as atmospherically inert as it initially seemed when NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past the “ice giant” in January 1986. The discovery of a northern vortex on Uranus was made through the detection of thermal emission in the form of radio waves picked up by astronomers using the Very Large Array (VLA) of radio telescopes in New Mexico. Read More

NASA serves up $750,000 to Deep Space Food Challenge winners in cook-off for astronaut eats

( What will the space food of the future look like? These scientists have answers. On Friday (May 19), NASA announced the winners of phase two of the Deep Space Food Challenge, an initiative to design new food production technologies that could be used by astronauts on extended voyages. The methods could also help address food insecurity on Earth. NASA announced eight winning teams at Friday’s event, including five from the U.S. and three international teams, selected by both NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), who are collaborating on the challenge. In April, the CSA also announced the four winning teams of phase two the Canadian challenge, which is running at the same time as NASA’s initiative. The five U.S winning teams received $150,000 in prize money each. Read More

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