NewsBrief November 1, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: November 1, 2019

So what problems does JEDI solve, really?

(Federal Times) In the months leading up to the Department of Defense awarding Microsoft a multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract, the Pentagon’s senior leaders described pent up demand for a new enterprise cloud. But how exactly will DoD leaders use the new technology, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program, and what will soldiers be able to do next year that they can’t do today? Until the last few months, top DoD IT officials have struggled to convey a concise and specific answer to that question. Instead, when asked point blank what specific new capabilities the JEDI cloud would offer, Federal Times was told by a defense official that it would shift the focus “from cloud acquisition to cloud maturity in DoD’s business processes,” and address “critical and urgent unmet war fighter requirements for modern cloud infrastructure at all three classification levels delivered out to the tactical edge.” Read More

With JEDI awarded, DOD turns to modernizing software development

(fedscoop) The Department of Defense must decide how to use Microsoft and build secure applications now that the agency’s $10 billion, enterprisewide cloud computing contract has been awarded to the tech giant. Peter Ranks, a deputy CIO at DOD, told reporters after speaking at a Professional Services Council event that awarding the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract was a “prerequisite” to faster software development. But plenty more cloud acquisitions are coming with all the major providers, he added. “Cloud providers give you a set of Legos with no instructions, and you can use those Legos to build really bad applications — or you can use them to build really secure applications,” Ranks told reporters. “And we have not done a good job in providing implementation guidance across the department that says, ‘This is how you build secure things.’” Read More

Civilian Vendor Cybersecurity Certification Would Look Very Different From DOD

(Nextgov) The Defense Department is working on a new policy that will require its vendors to obtain a certification confirming the contractor’s own systems have strong enough cybersecurity to protect the department’s secrets. A civilian agency counterpart to that would look very different than what the Pentagon is developing, according to the second-ranking civilian IT official. While the government does have a method for certifying the cybersecurity of vendors’ products—through the authority to operate, or ATO, process and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP—it does not have a program for assessing the security of the systems used by the vendors. Read More

This laser-equipped dune buggy will destroy drones

(C4ISRNET) Under a clear sky on a distant battlefield in a not-too-distant future, American soldiers may find themselves beset by a surprise swarm of drones. Signalling for help, their salvation may come in the form of a specially equipped dune buggy, its lasers blasting multiple drones out of the sky every minute. The scene, as easily imagined by a child with a G.I. Joe playset, is one set into motion by defense giant Raytheon. On Oct. 22, 2019, the Massachusetts-based company announced the Air Force had accepted delivery of a High Energy Laser Weapon System, or HELWS, to be deployed overseas. Read More

Army Flies New Imagery UAS for Initial Surveying

(ExecutiveGov) U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center has conducted initial survey flights of a new unmanned aircraft system designed to gather intelligence imagery. The center is working to adopt a safer way to capture mapping images for the Army’s missions worldwide, and considers the senseFly eBee X to address this need, the service branch said Tuesday. “Our goal is to utilize it to make us more efficient in how we collect all types of engineering data, specifically surveying data and topographic data,” said A. Wade Doss, chief of the civil structures division of the Huntsville, Ala.-based center’s engineering directorate. Read More

12 Impactful Ways To Incorporate Machine Learning Into Business Intelligence

(Forbes) Business intelligence—the strategies and tech companies use to collect, interpret and utilize data—plays a primary role in informing the strategies, functions and efficiency of a company. However, as essential to a company’s success as BI is, many businesses don’t take advantage of the tools that can improve their BI efforts. Combining machine learning with BI can have a far-reaching impact on the insights a business gets from its available data, making BI a true game-changer in helping companies improve productivity, quality, customer service and more. Below, 12 members of Forbes Technology Council explore the ways businesses can use machine learning to improve BI. Read More

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Passes Vital Sun Shield Test

( NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has reached a major milestone with a successful test of the spacecraft’s sun shield. Engineers fully deployed and tensioned each of the five layers of the sun shield, which will protect the telescope from the sun’s powerful radiation and, in turn, help regulate the temperature of Webb’s optics and sensors. As part of the test, the sun shield was extended to the same position it will be in when it is 1 million miles from Earth, according to a statement from NASA. Read More

A good onboarding experience for new hires requires two key things

(Quartz at Work) In my time as a manger, I’ve encountered quite a few people who were badly onboarded. As a rule it takes as long a time or longer to fix it as it took to poorly onboard them. Sometimes we’re able to re-onboard people and make them successful… and sometimes it’s too late. It’s always baffling to me when companies do all the work to hire someone and then don’t set them up to be successful. Hiring is so time consuming. Managing people who are not delivering in their role is time consuming, too, not to mention emotionally draining. Onboarding people and helping them to be effective is—by far—the easiest option. Read More

The mindsets and practices of excellent CEOs

(McKinsey & Company) A company has only one peerless role: chief executive officer. It’s the most powerful and sought-after title in business, more exciting, rewarding, and influential than any other. What the CEO controls—the company’s biggest moves—accounts for 45 percent of a company’s performance.1 Despite the luster of the role, serving as a CEO can be all-consuming, lonely, and stressful. Just three in five newly appointed CEOs live up to performance expectations in their first 18 months on the job.2 The high standards and broad expectations of directors, shareholders, customers, and employees create an environment of relentless scrutiny in which one move can dramatically make or derail an accomplished career. Read More