NewsBrief October 2, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 2, 2020

Getting Serious About Data and Data Science

(MIT Sloan) Data science, including analytics, big data, and artificial intelligence, is no longer a novel concept. Nor is the important foundation of high-quality data. Both have contributed to impressive business successes — particularly among digital natives — yet overall progress among established companies has been painfully slow. Not only is the failure rate high, but companies have also proved unable to leverage successes in one part of the business to reap benefits in other areas. Too often, progress depends on a single leader, and it slows dramatically or reverses when that individual departs the company. In addition, companies are not seizing the strategic potential in their data. We’d estimate that less than 5% of companies use their data and data science to gain an effective competitive edge. Read More

Future Defense Task Force: Scrap obsolete weapons and boost AI

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON ― A bipartisan congressional panel is recommending that the Pentagon must “identify, replace, and retire costly and ineffective legacy weapons platforms,” and prioritize artificial intelligence, supply chain resiliency and cyberwarfare in order to compete with China and Russia. The House’s Future of Defense Task Force’s 87-page report issued Tuesday echoed the accepted wisdom that the Pentagon must expand investments in modern technologies and streamline its cumbersome acquisition practices or risk losing its technological edge against competitors. Read More

Future of Defense Task Force Releases Final Report

(House Armed Services Committee) WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the bipartisan Future of Defense Task Force released their final report, findings, and recommendations, following a months-long review of U.S. defense assets and capabilities. Co-Chaired by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) and Jim Banks (R-Ind), the Task Force included Representatives Susan Davis (D-Calif), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) and Michael Waltz (R-Fla.). The Task Force was chartered to complete this review and assess the state of the national security innovation base to meet emerging threats. Read More

Air Force Wants Novel Ideas for Building ‘Data Scientist’s Ecosystems’ at Operations Centers

(Nextgov)The Air Force’s military superiority is centered around the service and individual airmen’s ability to ingest new information and act quickly and decisively. But the unending waves of data being collected through modern methods have made that harder, and top Air Force scientists are looking for new ways to streamline the process. In the 1950s, Air Force Col. John Boyd [no relation to this article’s author] developed a method for systematizing the decision-making process for combat pilots: the OODA Loop, which stands for observe, orient, decide and act. Read More

Agencies can’t stop buying duplicate IT services

(fedscoop) Most agencies haven’t fully implemented suggested practices for using existing contracts to avoid buying duplicate IT products and services, according to the Government Accountability Office. Federal agencies are pretty hit or miss when it comes to following the Office of Management and Budget‘s recommended practices for IT spending under category management — using existing contracts for categories of similar products and services — according to a new report from the GAO. Read More

JEDI Delay Doesn’t Derail DoD Cloud: Pentagon CIO

(Breaking Defense) WASHINGTON: After months of delays from a still-unfinished court battle, the long-awaited JEDI cloud contract will be neither irrelevant nor overtaken by events when it finally arrives, the Pentagon CIO said this morning. In fact, Dana Deasy told the Defense Writers’ Group, while JEDI itself is in legal limbo, the Defense Department is doing all it legally can to lay the groundwork for a swift adoption as soon as the judge permits. The big thing the long-awaited Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure can do that alternative clouds can’t, he said: provide rapid access to data, across multiple levels of classification, not just to centralized command posts but out to frontline troops on the tactical edge. Read More

Air Force continues push on virtual training with new contracts

(fedscoop) The Air Force inked $67 million in deals to scale out its virtual training, giving airmen new avenues to train using and maintaining aircraft and other systems, particularly as the military continues to social distance during the ongoing pandemic. The service awarded Mass Virtual two firm-fixed-price contracts — one for $60 million and $7 million — to extend work using the company’s virtual reality training services last week. Read More

All feds could carry over unused time off under new bill

(Federal Times) Federal employees that have been unable to use their annual leave during the pandemic would be allowed to go over the usual caps on year-to-year leave carryover under new legislation introduced Oct. 1 in the House and Senate. “Thousands of dedicated federal workers have been tirelessly responding to the coronavirus pandemic, including U.S. Postal Service employees, Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration workers, and National Institutes of Health researchers,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, a cosponsor of the bill. Read More

New Product Opportunities Seen by AI; Some Follow Pandemic Disruptions

(AItrends) AI is helping companies identify new product opportunities by searching through mountains of data quickly to find patterns that can be analyzed for new product and service opportunities; by iterating new product or service concepts through trial and error virtually, simulating consumer response in a fraction of the time and at a lower cost than real-world testing; and by predicting demand for product offerings and adaptations for local markets by analyzing search and purchase patterns in each geography. Read More

The data on how Covid-19 disrupted summer vacations

(Quartz) It was an unusual summer for travel in the US. The Covid-19 pandemic caused many Americans to stay home out of safety fears. Those who did feel comfortable venturing out didn’t have as many choices. US residents are not able to vacation in the EU, Canada, and a number of other popular foreign destinations due to the pandemic. Read More