NewsBrief November 15, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: November 15, 2019

Google Wants More Work from the Defense Department

(Defense One) If you thought that Google was getting out of the national security business, think again. The company’s senior vice president for global affairs said Tuesday that the search giant has Pentagon contracts to work on cybersecurity, business automation, and deepfake detection — and is looking for more. “It’s been frustrating,” said Google’s Kent Walker, referring to rising public perceptions that the company is opposed to doing national security work — and to the narrative pushed by some Google rivals, such as Palantir’s Peter Thiel and their allies in Congress, such as Rep. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri. Read More data improving, but limitations remain, GAO says

(fedscoop) The accuracy and completeness of agency spending data reported to has improved in recent years, the Government Accountability Office finds. However, the watchdog maintains that there is room for improvement in how data limitations are disclosed on the website. These are the top-line findings of a recent GAO audit, which concludes with two new recommendations for the Secretary of the Treasury. The Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act of 2014 requires that federal agencies submit “accessible, consistent, reliable, and searchable data” for publication and use by policymakers and the public. Read More

Blockchain Isn’t as Unbreakable as You Think

(MITSloan) Sometimes it seems as if everyone has bought into the hype: Industries as far-flung as real estate and diamond sales have embraced blockchain without entirely knowing what it is or how its most vaunted features might fail or have unintended consequences. Blockchain assures users that once information has been stored, it can never be deleted or falsified. This means that when people in finance, say, pore over the history of a transaction, they feel content in the knowledge that illegalities have nowhere to hide. It means that people in the supply chain of a product trust that they can check its provenance without fear that misinformation has been slipped in along the way. In essence, blockchain promises not just complete data security but also something more intangible: that we will never be conned. Is it really so important that we understand what’s under the hood? Read More

DISA Previews Big Tech Opportunities for 2020

(Nextgov) The Defense Information Systems Agency plans to award nearly 100 new contracts for tech-related services in fiscal 2020, with a dozen valued at more than $100 million. During an industry day on Nov. 4, DISA officials previewed major IT projects they expect to open up to vendors over the next year. The contracts spanned the broad swath of technologies under DISA’s purview as the military’s IT shop, such telecom infrastructure, satellite networks, cloud platforms, research support and cybersecurity services. Read More

Army Advances Bomb Disposal Tech Modernization With Three Robotic Programs

(ExecutiveGov) The U.S. military has launched efforts to modernize its explosive ordnance disposal technologies and one of the service branches has made progress developing robotic systems in the past year, National Defense reported Friday. Louis Analure, product manager for unmanned ground vehicles at the project manager office for force protection, said the U.S. Army is working on three open architecture-based systems: the man transportable robotic system increment 2, common robotic system-heavy and the common robotic system-individual. FLIR Systems works on the MTRS increment 2 project, while QinetiQ North America develops CRS(I). The CRS(H) program is still in the solicitation phase and is expected to be deployed in fiscal year 2020. Read More

At Long Last, the F-35 and F-22 Might Talk to Each Other

(Defense One) The U.S. Air Force will try to get an F-22 and an F-35 to talk to each other in December, part of a broader effort to link all of its manned and unmanned aircraft, Air Force and military officials announced on Thursday. The service is also testing a new dashboard to help commanders and operators share a picture of the battlefield that shows all ground, air, sea, and even cyber assets. “We’ve got a variety of platforms we would like to be able to share information in ways they haven’t done before,” Preston Dunlap, who was named the Air Force’s first chief architect in March, told attendees at Defense One’s Outlook 2020 conference on Thursday. Read More

Supply Chain Security Requires Acquisition Reform, Security Experts Say

(Nextgov) The government can make significant progress in securing its IT supply chain by following a few basic procurement practices, but most agencies have yet to adopt them, according to federal security experts. While government leaders have recently given a lot of attention to the supply chain security threats posed by foreign vendors, officials must devote equal energy to reforming their acquisition policies so they put those warnings to good use, experts said. Those efforts require an in-depth understanding of both the government’s IT infrastructure and the countless firms in its vendor pool, they said, but today that remains a challenge for most agencies. Read More

Agriculture Funds More than $1 Billion in Projects to Boost Rural Infrastructure

(Nextgov) The Agriculture Department infused rural communities this week with more than a billion dollars in funding to boost broadband and electric infrastructures. The agency announced it’s invested more than $31 million across three states to create and improve rural e-connectivity and $1.4 billion for projects to build and upgrade rural electric infrastructure in 21 states. “Technology and innovation are key in meeting the growing demand in agriculture,” Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said in a statement regarding one of the funding announcements. “We are committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in deploying this critical infrastructure.” Read More

Boeing Announces $10.4M in Charitable Grants to Support Veterans; Dennis Muilenburg Quoted

(ExecutiveGov) Boeing announced on Monday that the company has made a $10.4 million charitable grants package to support 102 veterans nonprofit organizations across the globe. The package exceeds the three-year $25 million commitment the company made back in 2017. Boeing’s investment includes a $500,000 grant to the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) and its sister nonprofit, Corporate America Supports You (CASY) to support the direct placement of 1,500 military spouses and 2,000 unemployed and underemployed National Guard, reservists and veterans over the next three years. Read More

The NASA women who inspired ‘Hidden Figures’ will get Congressional gold medals

(CNN) Four African American women known as the “Hidden Figures” who worked at NASA during the Space Race are being awarded Congressional Gold Medals, the highest civilian award in the US. President Donald Trump signed into law the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act on Friday. Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, as well as mathematician Katherine Johnson and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan were awarded Congressional Gold Medals.
Vaughan and Jackson, who passed away, were both awarded posthumously. Read More