NewsBrief October 23, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 23, 2020

US and UK navies prepare to sign agreement to merge future tech work

(Defense News) WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy and British Royal Navy are preparing to more closely align their futures in a whole host of warfare areas, the U.S. chief of naval operations announced Tuesday. The U.S. Navy’s chief of naval operations and First Sea Lord Adm. Tony Radakin intend to “sign a future integrated warfighting statement of intent that sets a cooperative vision for interchangeablty,” CNO Adm. Mike Gilday announced at the virtual Atlantic Future Forum, being held on board the RN’s new aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth. “We will synchronize pioneering capabilities, strengthen operating concepts and focus our collective efforts to deliver combined sea power together. Read More

FAA seeks 4 airports to test drone detection and mitigation technology

(fedscoop) The Federal Aviation Administration wants to test drone detection and mitigation technology at four airports prior to permitting its broader use, according to a new solicitation. FAA plans to try out at least 10 technologies and systems for dealing with errant and hostile unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which threaten the safety of airplanes and their passengers, for up to 24 months beginning in early 2021. The tests will represent the arrival of the new Airport UAS Detection and Mitigation Program, fulfilling a requirement of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act that the agency work with the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security to ensure the technology doesn’t interfere with airport operations. Read More

GAO developing secure file transfer capability to share sensitive data during pandemic

(Federal News Network) When the pandemic hit, the Government Accountability Office was one of the agencies that was better-prepared to move to a maximum telework model. But it created new challenges in how best to work with agencies that were less prepared, or had jobs where telework wasn’t an option. “For sensitive data, we often would rely on certain ways to do file transfer, but we sometimes would still use physical medium that was encrypted, and that was obviously not going to work,” said Vijay D’Souza, director of Information Technology and Cybersecurity at GAO during an Oct. 20 Fedinsider webinar. “So we’ve accelerated the development of a file transfer solution that we’re going to deploy to make it easier for agencies to exchange sensitive data with us.” Read More

New chip design lets agencies save big on data center operations

(fedscoop)Federal agencies stand to gain significant savings and performance benefits with a new generation of microprocessors that will allow one server to do the job of five in a typical federal data center, according to a new report. Those savings and performance improvements represent a substantial opportunity for the federal government, which continues to rely on thousands of data centers for sensitive workloads that can’t readily be moved to the cloud. Read More

Data organization is holding back the Advanced Battle Management System

(Federal News Network) The Air Force’s top general says moving data and making it accessible is the most important and most challenging task for the service as it continues its effort to set up the Advanced Battle Management System. That program is a key component of Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) — the military’s attempt at an all-seeing eye for warfare that will incorporate artificial intelligence and real time knowledge to make decisions and facilitate attacks. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown said harnessing the data the Air Force has and getting it to the right areas is much more important than other benchmarks for the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). Read More

Budget for secretive military intelligence program hits nine-year spending high

(Defense News) WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s secret intelligence fund received $23.1 billion in appropriated funds for the recently concluded fiscal 2020 — the highest total for the account in nine years. The increased funding for the Military Intelligence Program, or MIP, comes after FY19 saw a rare decrease in year-over-year spending power for the classified account. The funding, which includes both base dollars and overseas contingency operations money, “is aligned to support the National Defense Strategy,” per a four-sentence statement from the Pentagon. The department annually waits until after the fiscal year ends to announce how much money it was given for the fund. The Pentagon requested less than $23 billion for the MIP in its FY20 budget request, meaning Congress gave the fund a slight increase over requested amounts. Read More

Pentagon Will Move Primary Biometrics Systems to Amazon Cloud

(Nextgov) The Defense Department wants to make major improvements to its biometric surveillance capabilities, starting with moving its databases and entire operational system to a cloud environment hosted by Amazon Web Services. The current Automated Biometric Identification System, or ABIS, environment is split between DOD-owned, on-premise systems and AWS-hosted cloud backups. As part of a new pending solicitation, DOD plans to move the main operational environments to the cloud and begin a set of major capability improvements. Read More

Four ways to assess projects and keep them on track

(McKinsey & Company) This episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast concludes our series on Bias Busters about the techniques that executives can use to overcome cognitive and organizational biases. Over the past year, Strategy & Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown has held four conversations with McKinsey partner Tim Koller and professor of business strategy professor Dan Lovallo as they shared their research on effective decision making. Read More

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Successfully Touches Asteroid

(NASA) NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft unfurled its robotic arm Tuesday, and in a first for the agency, briefly touched an asteroid to collect dust and pebbles from the surface for delivery to Earth in 2023. This well-preserved, ancient asteroid, known as Bennu, is currently more than 200 million miles (321 million kilometers) from Earth. Bennu offers scientists a window into the early solar system as it was first taking shape billions of years ago and flinging ingredients that could have helped seed life on Earth. If Tuesday’s sample collection event, known as “Touch-And-Go” (TAG), provided enough of a sample, mission teams will command the spacecraft to begin stowing the precious primordial cargo to begin its journey back to Earth in March 2021. Otherwise, they will prepare for another attempt in January. Read More

For the Military, Destroying the Earth in Games May Help to Save the Real World

(Nextgov) It all began to crumble for the brave defenders of the United States when a nuclear warhead launched from an undetected submarine obliterated several West Coast cities. But things were going downhill even before that, with our Middle East assets taking a beating from both conventional and nuclear forces. At least we gave almost as good as we got. In the end, the so-called victor inherited a dying world filled with ash and little else other than stone age technology. Thankfully, all of this was just a simulation of a war that nobody wants to fight. Read More