NewsBrief October 22, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 22, 2021

US Air Force teams with UK on machine learning demo

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The Air Force Research Laboratory successfully demonstrated new joint machine learning algorithms with the United Kingdom, showcasing the countries’ ability to collaborate on deploying artificial intelligence in support of war fighters. The cooperation between the Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.K.’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is part of a four-year Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence Collaboration (AAIC) Partnership Agreement signed in December 2020. While AFRL is the lead agency for the partnership, the Office of the Under Secretary for Research and Engineering, the Navy and the Army are also participating. This was the first event in a series of planned demonstrations. Read More

Army looks to increase oversight, centralization of IT spending

(fedscoop) The Army has established two new councils to oversee IT spending with the goal of helping the service centralize its purchasing of services and visibility of digital modernization. As part of a new digital strategy published Wednesday, the Army announced the creation of an IT Oversight Council and Army Digital Oversight Council. It has also introduced a new tool for managing software licenses. Increased oversight and reform of IT acquisition is one of the three pillars to the Digital Transformation Strategy, the other two being “modernization and readiness” and “people and partnerships.” Read More

Army Could Test New Ramjet Weapon From Boeing Next Summer

(Breaking Defense) WASHINGTON: A Boeing-led team will demonstrate a new high-speed air-breathing projectile for the Army as soon as next summer, a company official said last week. The Ramjet 155 — which Boeing is co-developing with BAE Systems and Norwegian munitions company Nammo — is progressing through development and will be ready for its first launch from an L39 cannon next year, said Dan Palmeter, Boeing’s capture team lead for the project. Boeing expects that the Ramjet 155 will travel some 250 meters per second “based on projected time of flight to a target,” a spokesperson said, and to distances in excess of 70 kilometers, about double the 40 km range of the XM1113 Rocket Assisted Projectile when fired from a M109 Paladin howitzer. Read More

Kessel Run signs first agreement implementing new software acquisition policies

(fedscoop) The Air Force’s Kessel Run software factory has signed the first user agreement that implements the Department of Defense’s new software acquisition policies. The agreement between the factory and Air Combat Command (ACC), announced Wednesday, solidifies Kessel Run as the command’s go-to source for code and sets in stone the new software buying practices. The software acquisition pathway allows Kessel Run to navigate around red tape that has stymied development on programs. The new policy permits agile development and removes the need to write long lists of requirements before tech can be bought. Read More

HHS AI chief sees promise in emulating the DOD

(fedscoop) The Department of Health and Human Services wants to mimic the Department of Defense as it matures its artificial intelligence office by focusing on a set of use cases that can benefit the entire enterprise, said its Chief AI Officer Oki Mek. Mek runs HHS’s AI office, launched almost a year ago, and sees value in establishing a virtual sandbox like the DOD Joint AI Center‘s for small-scale experimentation. The challenge for Mek is the JAIC has far more funding, a bigger team and convening authority — all of which he’s seeking in fiscal 2022 as HHS implements the trustworthy AI executive order issued last December. Read More

How the DLA pivoted to work supply chains during COVID

(Federal News Network) The Defense Logistics Agency is in charge of moving $40 billion worth of goods around the world per year, but when COVID hit and supply chains started moving in fits and starts, the organization had to start changing to get goods delivered on time. DLA works on delivering everything from food to fuel generators to respirators, all important components of the supply chain during COVID. “When COVID came along, initially, the early efforts were really focused on the operational support,” Rear Adm. Doug Noble, director of logistics operations for DLA, said on Federal Insights: Supply Chain. Read More

Researchers argue National AI Research Resource will entrench Big Tech

(fedscoop) Artificial intelligence research groups are urging the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force to reconsider investing in shared computing and data infrastructure, which they say will subsidize the tech giants that control it rather than democratize access. The AI Now Institute of New York University and Data & Society Research Institute submitted a joint response to the task force’s request for information, encouraging it to pause efforts to establish NAIRR until it explores alternative investments in AI research and puts controls in place to ensure the accountable and ethical use of government data. Read More

Breakthrough proof clears path for quantum AI

(ScienceDaily) Convolutional neural networks running on quantum computers have generated significant buzz for their potential to analyze quantum data better than classical computers can. While a fundamental solvability problem known as “barren plateaus” has limited the application of these neural networks for large data sets, new research overcomes that Achilles heel with a rigorous proof that guarantees scalability. Read More

Astronauts capture stunning aurora from International Space Station

( Astronauts got to see an amazing display of southern lights over New Zealand and Antarctica earlier this month. Spectacular images and footage of the green-hued aurora flowed from the International Space Station, where the Expedition 66 crew got a view of the Indian Ocean show and shared it on social media. “I caught this aurora just as orbital sunrise was beginning. Breathtaking!” wrote NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough on Oct. 12, two days after the show took place. With his tweet came a sweeping view of auroras over the barely lit limb of the Earth. Read More

NASA, ULA Launch Lucy Mission to ‘Fossils’ of Planet Formation

(NASA) NASA’s Lucy mission, the agency’s first to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, launched at 5:34 a.m. EDT Saturday on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Over the next 12 years, Lucy will fly by one main-belt asteroid and seven Trojan asteroids, making it the agency’s first single spacecraft mission in history to explore so many different asteroids. Lucy will investigate these “fossils” of planetary formation up close during its journey. Read More