NewsBrief: November 4, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: November 4, 2022

Fixing DoD’s broken budgeting system a big reform topic for 2023

(Federal News Network) Over the past several years, Congress and DoD have instituted numerous reforms meant to make the acquisition process work faster, from new other transaction authorities and a “middle tier” of acquisition, to a rewrite of DoD’s acquisition instructions and a new software acquisition pathway. But even if all of those changes to the mechanics of DoD procurement are moving the department in the right direction, it can only go so far if the system it uses to plan and budget for what it buys is stuck in the 1960s. And there’s now a fairly broad consensus that that’s the case. Read More

EXCLUSIVE: With new ‘scorecard,’ Space Force’s acquisition chief talks changing culture

(Breaking Defense) Space Force acquisition head Frank Calvelli is working on a “scorecard” to grade the progress of major programs as a next step towards improving space acquisition processes — with the ultimate goal of keeping ahead of surging Chinese and Russian capabilities. The scorecard is “really to look at sort of the classic schedule, cost, performance, [the] project management metrics that I want to track at my level,” he told Breaking Defense in an exclusive interview today. “I haven’t found exactly the formula yet — I’ve got my team looking at it. But I want to really kind of look, for all of our major programs, at a sort of red, yellow, green scorecard for cost, schedule, performance.” Read More

It’s official: Space Force sets sights on smaller satellites

(FCW) The U.S. Space Force will buy cheaper, smaller satellites in the future instead of the bespoke, multi-billion dollar behemoths it has relied on for decades, according to the service’s acquisition chief. The long-anticipated move to smaller satellites is now official policy, according to an Oct. 31 letter from Frank Calvelli, the Space Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition and integration. Calvelli’s letter also urges the service’s acquisition officials to move quickly and buy satellites via fixed-price contracts, which puts the onus on companies to deliver innovative products on time and budget. Read More

Transportation Department Looks to AI to Help Modernize Highways

(Nextgov) As part of Department of Transportation’s plans to modernize the U.S.’s highway infrastructure, the agency issued a new contract opportunity seeking artificial intelligence and data analytics-based solutions. A program under the agency’s Federal Highway Administration called for proposals featuring artificial intelligence technology to improve the current national highway design system. The technology developed within this contract will impact the planning, construction and maintenance of the nation’s highways. Read More

Christopher Lowman: DoD Eyes New Strategies to Help Address Long-Term Sustainment Costs

(ExecutiveGov) The Department of Defense is working on a new project that seeks to tackle long-term sustainment costs upfront in weapons systems development, Federal News Network reported Tuesday. Kathleen Hicks, deputy secretary of DOD and a two-time Wash100 AWard winner, approved the initiative called “rapid sustainment execution reserve” meant to help address the problem with long-term costs. “We want to provide the upfront investment to procure a commercially-available solution, something that can be executed in a single fiscal year, get the military services past that initial investment, and then scale it within the services,” Christopher Lowman, assistant secretary for sustainment at DOD, said at a conference. Read More

Data Foundation recommends installing federal chief data officer

(FedScoop) The Data Foundation recommended installing a federal chief data officer in the Office of Management and Budget to vouch for the resources agencies need to meet data requirements, in a report released Tuesday. Based on its 2022 Survey of Federal CDOs conducted with Guidehouse, the Data Foundation holds a federal CDO within the White House would improve the visibility and capabilities of the entire community. While the survey found more than 60% of agency CDOs have at least five Federal Data Strategy (FDS) 2021 Action Plan items in progress or completed, less than 20% reported they have most or all of the resources needed for full implementation. Read More

AI’s Value to Organizations Parallels Value to Individuals, Report Finds

(NextGov) Organizations are more likely to gain value from artificial intelligence when their workers also feel personally benefited by the technology, according to a report from MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group. Tuesday’s report, “Achieving Individual – and Organizational – Value with AI,” had three main findings: organizations benefit from AI when individuals also benefit from the technology; individuals feel they gain from using AI when it helps their job performance, autonomy and relationships at work; and managers can improve the use of AI at work by fostering trust in and understanding of how to use the technology. Read More

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