NewsBrief October 16, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 16, 2020

How Organizations Can Build Analytics Agility

(MIT Sloan) In an era of constant change, companies’ data and analytics capabilities must rapidly adapt to ensure that the business survives, never mind competes. Organizations seek insights from their data to inform strategic priorities in real time, yet much of the historical data and modeling formerly applied to predict future behavior and guide actions are proving to be far less predictive, or even irrelevant, in our current normal with COVID-19. In order to survive through crises, proactively detect trends, and respond to new challenges, companies need to develop greater analytical agility. This agility comes from three areas: improving the quality and connections of the data itself, augmenting analytical “horsepower” at the organization level, and leveraging talent that is capable of bridging business needs with analytics to find opportunity in the data. Read More

How the Army’s new pay system upgrade could improve talent management

(FCW) The Army is betting that a commitment to data may prove essential to diversifying and strengthening the workforce. “We’re really focused on data in the Army right now. So one of our key points to all components and to commanders and units is you really have to focus on the correctness of your HR data,” Col. Gregory Johnson, the division chief of IPPS-A’s functional management division, told FCW during the Association for the U.S. Army’s virtual annual conference Oct. 13. “We live and die by data in this program. The better the data is, the easier this test is gonna be and the easier the rollout is gonna be in December 2021.” Read More

DHS’s innovation program brings in 5 more blockchain startups

(fedscoop) Five more companies have been added to the Department of Homeland Security’s contract for developing ways that it can expand its use of blockchain and other distributed ledger technology (DLT) to modernize operations. The awards are specifically for projects on preventing forgery and counterfeiting of certificates and licenses. The department’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) issued the solicitation earlier this year as a followup to a five-year other transaction solicitation (OTS) first presented in 2018. Read More

AFRL satellite program preparing future workforce

(Space War) After more than 20 years and 5,500 graduates, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s University Nanosat Program is still providing college students around the country with a hands-on education in designing, building, and launching a satellite into space. In 1999, the first year of the program, 10 universities participated. Over the years, that number has tripled, and is now being managed by one of its graduates, Jesse Olson. Having entered the University Nanosat Program in 2013, Olson joined the Michigan Tech University, or MTU, Aerospace Team, and the opportunity to be a part of that team was one that weighed on him when deciding which college he would attend. Read More

OMB Behind Schedule on Open Data Initiatives, GAO Says

(Nextgov) The Office of Management and Budget has yet to release required guidance for federal agencies regarding implementing comprehensive data inventories, and it may be delaying agency progress on making government data accessible. OMB also hasn’t published reports on the 24 Chief Financial Officers Act agencies’ performance and compliance with the Open, Public Electronic and Necessary, or OPEN, Government Data Act, according to a recent audit by the Government Accountability Office. The first OMB report on OPEN Government Data Act compliance was due in January, but as of last month, OMB had yet to release a report. GAO said at the time of the audit OMB was determining a format for the report and did not have a timeline for when one may be released. Read More

How DISA is targeting work with nontraditional defense contractors on a traditional contract

(fedscoop) The Defense Information Systems Agency is reinvigorating a legacy contract to better work with small businesses that don’t typically sell their innovative technology to the Department of Defense. DISA’s $7.5 billion Systems Engineering, Technology, and Innovation (SETI) contract vehicle includes nearly two dozen small businesses, half of which are new to the department. While those businesses represent just a tiny sliver of the more than 300,000 contractors in the defense industrial base, DISA officials described awarding them spots on SETI as a major win in working with nontraditional contractors inside existing acquisition frameworks. Read More

Army tests out augmented reality with training

(FCW) The Army is tinkering with augmented reality capabilities to shore up soldiers’ readiness as the coronavirus pandemic makes learning at a distance a necessity. “How do we do collective training when we have to maintain disbursement for safety? It’s the same problem we have with our technical operations commands. How do we make a collective decision, do collective brainstorming, have a collective understanding of a situation,” said Cynthia Bedell, the director for the U.S. Army Research Lab’s Computational & Information Sciences Directorate, during a presentation during the Association of the U.S. Army’s (virtual) annual conference. Read More

How augmented reality for military dogs could change how canine battle buddies operate

(ArmyTimes) It’s not plunging a dog into full-blown virtual reality, but initial stages of testing on a new device could help connect trainers and military dogs by way of laser pointers and augmented reality. The augmented reality goggle for dogs could help military canine trainers better direct their furry helpers in complex, dangerous situations where the trainer can’t be by their side. Dr. Stephen Lee, an ARO senior scientist, first worked years ago with military research personnel to try and develop an artificial nose — like a dog’s — meant for detecting bomb materials. But he soon realized that, in doing so, they would be getting rid of all the other things that make a dog a great combat companion. Read More

How to Beat Analysts and the Stock Market with Machine Learning

(Knowledge @ Wharton) Analyst expectations of firms’ earnings are on average biased upwards, and that bias varies over time and stocks, according to new research by experts at Wharton and elsewhere. They have developed a machine-learning model to generate “a statistically optimal and unbiased benchmark” for earnings expectations, which is detailed in a new paper titled, “Man vs. Machine Learning: The Term Structure of Earnings Expectations and Conditional Biases.” According to the paper, the model has the potential to deliver profitable trading strategies: to buy low and sell high. When analyst expectations are too pessimistic, investors should buy the stock. When analyst expectations are excessively optimistic, investors can sell their holdings or short stocks as price declines are forecasted. Read More

3 ways to get your point across while wearing a mask – tips from an award-winning speech coach

(The Conversation)You wear your mask, keep six feet between yourself and others and are committed to safety. But the measures that help minimize your risk of COVID-19 can also have an impact on your interactions with others. As you stroll the aisle of a supermarket, you approach someone who looks familiar. To avoid an awkward exchange, you flash them a friendly smile. It’s not until you pass you remember: Your smile was hidden behind a mask. Unloading your groceries at home, you see your neighbor. You excitedly ask her how she is, but when she doesn’t respond, you worry your mask has muffled your voice. Read More