NewsBrief: May 27, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: May 27, 2022

Say goodbye to JAIC and DDS, as offices cease to exist as independent bodies June 1

(Breaking Defense) The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, a high-profile focus point for AI adoption across the Pentagon, will cease to exist come June 1, as it and two other offices are rolled under the newly created Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer. Two other key parts of the Pentagon’s technology network will also be subsumed officially into CDAO at the start of the month, when the new office reaches its full operational capability: the Defense Digital Service, which provides rapid technology solutions across the department, and the Office of Advancing Analytics, or ADVANA. In all three cases, the personnel who make up the offices are expected to remain as part of the CDAO staff, but will be diffused with the office stovepipes removed. Read More

DOD isn’t meeting some of the cybersecurity standards it set for contractors

(FCW) The Defense Department has been inconsistent in meeting the cyber standards it holds contractors to when it comes to securing sensitive but unclassified information. But they’re working on it. A recent Government Accountability Office released on May 19 highlights how DOD inconsistently implemented certain requirements for its controlled unclassified information systems from specific controls to authorizing systems to operate. “Our analysis of DOD-reported data determined that DOD components have taken actions to implement selected cybersecurity requirements for CUI systems, but none were fully compliant,” as of January, the report states. Read More

DOD to Debut Virtual Desktops for Certain Highly Classified Programs

(NextGov) The Defense Department is bringing a virtual, cloud-based desktop solution to highly classified program systems with some of the toughest access requirements this summer. John Sherman, the Defense Department’s chief information officer, revealed that the organization’s new office charged with leading policy and oversight of information technology related to certain highly classified, limited access programs would sunset legacy desktop hardware known as “Chinstrap,” according to written testimony submitted to the House Armed Services Committee. It will be replaced by the virtual desktop solution called Compartmentalized Enterprise Desktop (CED). Read More

Defense Business Board Releases DOD Civilian Talent Management Study

(ExecutiveGov) The Defense Business Board performed a 24-week study of the Department of Defense’s civilian workforce and found that talent management within DOD lags behind the commercial sector and that DOD fills short-term vacancies with little attention to future technology requirements and strategy to upskill or reskill them, Federal Times reported Tuesday. The board has recommended that the Pentagon increase training opportunities for civilian employees and improve collaboration with military talent managers to keep pace with the private sector when it comes to aligning talent with work function. Read More

Not ‘cookie cutter’: Navy’s unmanned tech should answer threats, advisors say

(Breaking Defense) A group of Navy experts on unmanned systems plans to provide senior leadership with recommendations not just on what to buy, but how to change the way they think about proliferating the technology throughout the fleet. “What I don’t do is come in and say, ‘Look, I’ve got all this amazing, unmanned technology, go buy stuff,” said Michael Stewart, a senior civilian leading the panel. “It’s the why. Why do you want it? And so what? Why does it matter?” Stewart is the executive director for the Navy’s Unmanned Task Force (UTF), a group of civilian and uniformed officials selected by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday last year to help guide the service’s choices as it looks to rapidly introduce militarily useful unmanned systems into the fleet. Formally established in January 2022, the panel is expected to run for 12 to 18 months, according to documents the service provided to reporters. Read More

Navy Event Highlights Role of Hypersonic Tech in Global Security Environment

(Executive Gov) The U.S. Navy sought to emphasize the potential value of incorporating hypersonic technology into the national security mission at a three-day conference jointly presented by the branch’s Strategic Systems Programs office and NavalX Midwest Tech Bridge. Government, industry and academic sector representatives attended the Hypersonics Innovation Conference to discuss technical factors that could expand the application of hypersonics to address global security challenges, the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Crane Division said Tuesday. Navy SSP and MTB also collaborated with the Air Force Institute of Technology, Defense Strategies Institute, National Security Technology Accelerator and the Indiana Innovation Institute to organize the event. Read More

MDA director unsure if new hypersonic missile interceptor can be fielded before 2030

(FedScoop) Under pressure to develop new capabilities for countering adversaries’ hypersonic weapons, the head of the Missile Defense Agency said he isn’t ready to commit to a timeline for delivering a new glide phase interceptor (GPI). On Monday, MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill was asked if the system will be ready in the 2020s and whether additional funding would help the agency accelerate the schedule for the weapon. “We argue this all the time, right. You’ll have one program manager tell you, ‘Hey, this is going to be a 2030s thing.’ You have others that say, ‘Why can’t you have it now? You know, all you need is a kick stage and you’re there,'” Hill said at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Read More

Pentagon names new chief of responsible artificial intelligence

(FedScoop) The Pentagon has tapped artificial intelligence ethics and research expert Diane Staheli to lead the Responsible AI (RAI) Division of its new Chief Digital and AI Office (CDAO), FedScoop confirmed on Tuesday. In this role, Staheli will help steer the Defense Department’s development and application of policies, practices, standards and metrics for buying and building AI that is trustworthy and accountable. She enters the position nearly nine months after DOD’s first AI ethics lead exited the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), and in the midst of a broad restructuring of the Pentagon’s main AI-associated components under the CDAO. Read More

Pentagon Still not Taking Full Advantage of Rapid Acquisition Authorities, Former Official Says

(Defense News) U.S. defense and aerospace firms are asking Congress for a defense budget for 2023 that exceeds inflation by 3 to 5 percent and challenged lawmakers to pass their annual defense bills by Sept 30. The Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group for defense firms, said in a letter to leaders of the appropriations and armed services committees that Congress should pass defense spending and authorization bills before the start of the fiscal year — a rarity — to signal “resolve in the face of Russian and Chinese aggression.” “Three to five percent growth above the inflation rate is the level of investment required to support America’s global force, maintain our competitive edge over adversaries, and catch up technologically in areas where we are falling behind,” AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning said in the letter. He argued that amount would hew to the 2018 National Defense Strategy and the Biden administration’s unreleased strategy, which is expected to be similar. Read More

How Uranus and Neptune are key to unlocking how planets form

(Planetary Society) In the recent, most important U.S. planetary science report of the decade, scientists have endorsed that NASA undertakes a flagship mission to Uranus, the least-explored planet of our solar system alongside its cousin Neptune. And for good reason: understanding how and where they formed has direct implications for the evolution of our own planet. Earth formed about 4.6 billion years ago as a result of a violent process where thousands of baby planets over 100 kilometers (62 miles) in size collided with each other and accreted over a few million years. Scientists think early Earth would’ve lost most of its water to space due to the high heat from this process. Read More

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