NewsBrief October 15, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 15, 2021

Army’s Pittsburgh-based center accelerates development of AI applications

(U.S. Army) The Army Artificial Intelligence Integration Center (AI2C) understands that speed is often a key component of success, particularly in modern warfare settings. Located at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, AI2C leads and integrates Army artificial intelligence (AI) strategy and implementation, synchronizes key development efforts and sets the foundations for operationalizing AI within the Army. The center’s existence enables the Army to increase its familiarity with AI applications and better connect with AI innovators in America’s private sector, including with vibrant AI communities located in Pittsburgh and in Austin, Texas, where Army Futures Command – AI2C’s home command – is headquartered. Read More

Government tech contractors that conceal cyber breaches could be forced to pay triple damages

(fedscoop) Technology contractors that fail to disclose cybersecurity breaches could face hefty fines of up to three times the amount their failure costs the government, under a prosecution push by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ last week announced a new Cyber-Civil Fraud Initiative, under which it intends to use the False Claims Act (FCA) to pursue contractors working with federal government agencies — as well as recipients of federal grants — that fail to report incidents in which their systems are compromised. The FCA was first enacted in 1863 in response to defense contractor fraud during the American Civil War. It was amended in 1986 to increase incentives for whistleblowers to come forward with allegations of fraud.” Read More

Army bets on data as it sets stage for talent management revolution

(Army Times) It’s a data-driven world out there. More and more companies across America are turning to human resources analytics to identify and manage their internal talent. And soon, the Army’s platform to collect, analyze, and harness that data for the uniformed workforce will come online. Ahead of AUSA, Army Times spoke with the service’s senior leaders responsible for developing and implementing personnel policies and talent management — Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, G-1 Lt. Gen. Gary Brito and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston. Read More

Too few DoD program managers using agile methodologies, GAO cautions

(Federal News Network) More than 18 months ago, the Defense Department embarked on what it called a new pathway for acquiring software, one its most crucial commodities. But too few of DoD’s program managers are using agile methodologies and continuous delivery. For what auditors found and how DoD can get on track, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to the director of contracting and national security acquisitions at the Government Accountability Office, Shelby Oakley. Read More

JAIC chief wants AI progress to be ‘slow and incremental’

(fedscoop) The Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is looking to field AI across the military slowly, so products can be broadly usable across combatant commands, the center’s director said Friday. That mindset appears to be different from some innovative upstart organizations within the government that have emphasized the private-sector mentality of speed and agility in finding solutions to pressing challenges. Growth for the center’s AI tools will come from solutions to common challenges that senior leaders across the military face, JAIC Director Lt. Gen. Michael Groen said during the Billington Cybersecurity Summit. Read More

One Army corps sees data education as the foundation of AI-enabled targeting

(FCW) Expanding data education has proven to be foundational and a defining metric as the U.S. Army tests artificial intelligence to improve weapons targeting. Col. Melissa “Molly” Solsbury, the chief data officer for the 18th Airborne Corps and director for Project Ridgway, said one of the most important lessons learned since the first Scarlet Dragon experiment last year has been establishing a solid data education base starting with data training in order to meet its goal of speeding up the time it takes for weapons systems to accurately find, lock in and attack a target with support from artificial intelligence. Read More

The Air Force remakes a squadron into a cyber-focused unit

(fedscoop) The Air Force transitioned a squadron that once focused solely on communications into a unit dedicated to cyberdefense, the latest tactical pivot that mirrors the department’s broader changes to modernize its force. The 55th Communications Squadron transitioned into the 55th Cyber Squadron in September, according to the Air Force. It’s the most recent squadron — the basic unit of the Air Force that can contain a few dozen to more than a hundred airmen — to transition from serving in a network or communications role to a cyberdefense. Read More

NASA’s Webb Space Telescope Arrives in French Guiana After Sea Voyage

(NASA) NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope successfully arrived in French Guiana Tuesday, after a 16-day journey at sea. The 5,800-mile voyage took Webb from California through the Panama Canal to Port de Pariacabo on the Kourou River in French Guiana, on the northeastern coast of South America. The world’s largest and most complex space science observatory will now be driven to its launch site, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, where it will begin two months of operational preparations before its launch on an Ariane 5 rocket, scheduled for Dec. 18. Read More

Five technology building blocks to power customer-centric, data-driven growth

(McKinsey & Company) Regardless of what you call it, unlocking the value from data has never been more accessible, less expensive, and more relevant across industries. When executed well, the elusive concept of personalization at scale becomes reality. Organizations are using customer triggers to optimize the timing, content, offer, and design of every customer experience. Data and technology are critical drivers of customer-centric growth, and leading organizations are those that outperform on five technology building blocks: data, decisioning, design, distribution, and measurement. Read More

William Shatner moved to tears by space launch with Blue Origin

( William Shatner’s flight to space moved him to tears. The actor, best known for his role as Capt. James T. Kirk in the original “Star Trek” series, was overcome with emotion after launching to space and back today (Oct. 13) on a suborbital mission with Blue Origin aboard the company’s New Shepard vehicle. “What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened … it’s extraordinary,” Shatner told Jeff Bezos after landing back on Earth in the New Shepard capsule in West Texas with the help of parachutes. “I hope I never recover, that I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me and life.” Read More