NewsBrief November 13, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: November 13, 2020

GAO recommends steps to improve Defense Department cost reporting

(Homeland Preparedness News) The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has made several recommendations to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to better improve processes for reporting costs. The GAO said that while the department has made progress in establishing valid and reliable cost baselines for its business operations, some limitations remain. The baselines included only labor and information technology costs because DOD’s financial data do not attribute costs to other specific activities required under section 921. DOD officials told GAO that they are refining baselines for all department’s enterprise business operations, such as financial and human resource management. Read More

Air Force Turns to Machine Learning to Fight COVID-19 Disinformation

(Nextgov) Air Force personnel are set to soon be equipped with machine learning-driven capabilities to better counter COVID-19-connected disinformation. Building on a prior falsehoods-fighting pursuit and as part of a larger solicitation launched in April, the branch recently awarded machine intelligence startup Primer a $1 million, phase II Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, contract that’ll underpin the integration of new solutions. The work is set to be formally announced in November, Nextgov confirmed late last week. Read More

VA Turns to Machine Learning to Automate Prescription Workflows

(Nextgov) Clinical pharmacists within the Veterans Affairs Department are applying machine learning techniques to automate administrative workflows around prescriptions and pharmacy benefits. In doing so, they’re learning firsthand how emerging technology-based solutions can help free up their time, so that more attention can be given directly to patients, according to the Executive Director of the Veterans Health Administration’s Innovation Ecosystem, Dr. Ryan Vega. Read More

GAO says AI oversight framework will help in continuously monitoring agencies

(fedscoop) The Government Accountability Office’s forthcoming artificial intelligence oversight framework will help auditors work with inspectors general to continuously monitor executive agencies’ progress with the technology, says the agency’s first-ever chief data scientist. Right now GAO is developing a “wireframe” of what oversight might look like in the areas of explainability and transparency, bias and fairness, integrity and resilience, and data quality and lineage, said Taka Ariga, who also directs his agency’s Innovation Lab. Federal officials floated the possibility of the AI framework functioning like a scorecard for agencies in September, and Ariga said “practical” principles are needed beyond simply “do no harm.” Read More

Contractors should be less shy telling government what they think

(Federal News Network) Contractors should be less shy about telling the government what industry thinks the government needs. True, agencies often release requests for information from industry. But often agencies with requirements have trouble getting industry input. That happened recently to Federal Drive with Tom Temin guest, federal marketing and sales consultant Larry Allen. Read More

NASA Planning New Ways to Show the World Its Future Moon Missions

(Nextgov) People can’t yet pack their bags and just go to the moon, but America’s space agency aims to offer next-level, virtual spaceflight experiences to audiences worldwide during its forthcoming Artemis missions—and it’s looking to link with partners that can “visually bring the public along for the ride.” In an announcement for proposals released Thursday, NASA voiced its intent to link up with outside entities that can advance and accelerate its use of innovative technologies like virtual reality, as well as novel approaches and imagery applications to excite people across the planet and inspire a new generation of explorers, during its planned missions that are set to unfold in the very near future. Read More

How Gaming Can Help Learners of All Ages

(Knowledge @ Wharton) Imagine a classroom setting where traditional lectures and slides are augmented with interactive games that let students fully immerse themselves in the lesson. That’s the goal at Wharton Interactive, which is dedicated to transforming education through game-based learning. The idea is not to allow teenagers to spend hours playing Minecraft or Among Us; instead, it’s about creating games that intensify the learning process by stimulating the brain in ways that make the subject matter really stick. Read More