NewsBrief: October 14, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 14, 2022

US arms sales rebound back to $50B in fiscal 2022

(Breaking Defense) US arms sales to allies and partners bounced back with a total of about $50 billion in sales cases cleared in fiscal 2022, a big jump from the total of about $35 billion last year. The boost to Foreign Military Sales deals approved by the State Department — roughly $15 billion over FY21’s totals — brings FY22 in line with annual cleared sales from before the COVID-19 pandemic, said Defense Security Cooperation Agency director James Hursch, who announced the total today at the Association for the US Army conference. “I would say that we have enjoyed a rebound in arm sales,” he said. “I think that there will, over the next three years or so … be continuing increases. I’m not sure how steep the slope will be.” Read More

Agencies should make internal workforce investments to improve AI implementation, experts say

(Federal News Network) As the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act nears its two-year anniversary, some federal leaders are looking at more ways to invest in their agency’s workforce to better implement AI tools. For agencies looking to use AI more often, first understanding the talent and skills needed is key. But there are some barriers to implementation. “What we have is a large number of federal agencies that are struggling with antiquated architectures and a lack of skills and talent,” said Chakib Chraibi, the National Technical Information Service’s Chief Data Scientist at the Commerce Department, at an Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC) event on Oct. 6. Read More

After months of waiting, Army finally unveils its updated cloud, data plans

(Breaking Defense) The Army this week rolled out a new plan for how it will leverage its cloud, and for the first time publicly released another plan to develop a data-centric service. Both strategies, which officials have discussed for the past several months, were unveiled Monday at the annual Association of the US Army conference. Speaking at the conference, Army Chief Information Officer Raj Iyer said the cloud plan “builds on the capabilities that we built in the last 18 months and focus[es] on how we’re going to operationalize that capability for the warfighter.” The cloud plan, for the first time, includes the implementation of zero trust architecture — a security framework in which it’s assumed a network is always at risk of being exposed to threats and requires all users to be authenticated and authorized. Read More

Nobel-winning Quantum Weirdness Undergirds an Emerging High-tech Industry, Promising Better Ways of Encrypting Communications and Imaging Your Body

(NextGOV) Unhackable communications devices, high-precision GPS and high-resolution medical imaging all have something in common. These technologies – some under development and some already on the market all rely on the non-intuitive quantum phenomenon of entanglement. Two quantum particles, like pairs of atoms or photons, can become entangled. That means a property of one particle is linked to a property of the other, and a change to one particle instantly affects the other particle, regardless of how far apart they are. This correlation is a key resource in quantum information technologies. For the most part, quantum entanglement is still a subject of physics research, but it’s also a component of commercially available technologies, and it plays a starring role in the emerging quantum information processing industry. Read More

What Recent Vaccine Guidance Updates Mean for Federal Contractors?

(FEDweek) In August, the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) announced new guidance that will change COVID-19 testing, reporting, and safety protocols for federal employees and agencies. According to the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”), federal agencies should no longer require or request that current or prospective federal employees provide their COVID-19 immunization status. This news was shortly followed by updated Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance regarding the federal government’s intent to take no action on or enforce Executive Order 14042, which dealt with COVID safety protocols for federal contractors. Read More

Reminder on Revised Leave Policies for Voting

(FEDweek) As a reminder, OPM earlier this year revised and expanded previous policies on administrative leave–paid time off without charge to any other form of leave–for federal employees to vote or to serve in certain types of work at polls. The March 24 memo told agencies that they should allow up to four hours of paid time off per “election event”—including primaries and caucuses in addition to a general election—for elections at the federal, state, county, municipal, tribal or territorial level. “This administrative leave may be used for voting on the established election day or for early voting, whichever option is used by the employee with respect to an election event,” it says. Read More

Why You Should Make Friends at Work

(MIT Sloan Management Review) The past few years have been tough and chaotic for many working people. Assumptions, habits, and ways of working have changed, and as we look forward, many of us realize that building personal resilience will be key. One of the crucial elements of personal resilience is friendship. It helps if we have a trusted confidant at our organization — someone who makes us feel worthwhile and whom we can celebrate and commiserate with. Friendships at work matter. When so many hours are spent working, having someone who understands our situation — the players involved, the office dynamics, and the general organizational culture — can help buffer routine stress. When we share our experiences, it often reminds us that others have gone through similar ones. Read More

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