NewsBrief October 25, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 25, 2019

As Secret Pentagon Spending Rises, Defense Firms Cash in

(Defense One) Classified spending has edged up faster than overall defense budget requests, and accounts for nearly 11 percent of the $716 billion proposed for 2020. The share of Pentagon spending hidden from public view is rising, as are defense contractors’ revenues from it. The U.S. Defense Department’s overall budget request increased nearly 5 percent from 2019 to 2020, but classified spending rose 6 percent, according to the consulting firm Avascent. It accounts for about $76 billion, or almost 11%, of the $718 billion requested for the current fiscal year. Read More

How GSA plans to capture $6B in under-the-radar spending

(Federal Times) Each year, federal agencies spend billions of dollars collectively making purchases using their federal government purchase cards or other micro-purchase methods, which receive little notice on a governmentwide scale when compared with higher-value contracts. The General Services Administration is currently looking for a way to change that, by offering an e-marketplace platform that not only allows agencies to more easily search for and make those smaller-cost purchases, but also gives GSA and user agencies better data about how their spending stacks up. Read More

House Committee Votes to Increase Funding for Energy’s DARPA by $2.9B

(Nextgov) The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology advanced a bill to significantly increase funding for the Energy Department’s bleeding-edge research office despite several attempts from the administration to cut funding for the program. All totaled, the legislation would add nearly $2.9 billion to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy over the next five years and insert safeguards to ensure the program isn’t duplicating research in other areas of government or the private sector. Read More

New rules of the road for $4B DHS financial management buy

(FCW) The Department of Homeland Security is easing conflict-of-interest rules for a pair of related financial services procurements. As part of a multibillion push to modernize financial systems, DHS is planning two major solicitations: a blanket purchase agreement for financial systems software integration and an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity vehicle to acquire commercial off-the-shelf financial management software. Read More

Pentagon developing JEDI cloud deployment security guidance

(fedscoop) The Department of Defense is drafting cloud deployment security guidance rooted in zero trust for agencies that will eventually move to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud. Though DOD’s $10 billion JEDI contract is currently under review by Secretary Mark Esper and the Pentagon’s inspector general, Paul Jacob, a cybersecurity architect in the DOD CIO’s office, said the department is pushing forward with the cloud security guidance so it will be ready to go when an award is issued. Jacob jokingly referred to the guidance’s 80 requirements across eight categories as a “zero-trust manifesto” at an Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology briefing Thursday. Read More

GAO highlights security threats to federal employees

(FCW) Security threats against federal employees in the government’s four land management agencies — the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service — have escalated in recent years according to a Government Accountability Office report. GAO noted that between 2013 and 2017, the FBI initiated almost 100 domestic terrorism investigations into threats federal employees had received during those four years, including a period during 2016 in which members loosely affiliated with an anti-government group occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon for 41 days. Read More

The Air Force sees progress in a GPS ground station test

(C4ISRNET) Air Force leaders said they are closer to formally accepting a new GPS III satellite and a new ground system program into day-to-day operations after an upgrade allowed the control system to connect to the space vehicle on orbit. The successful test, held Oct. 21, used the contingency operations upgrade to the GPS ground system and was part of an Air Force experiment to determine whether it can accept the GPS III satellite in December. The service subsequently plans to accept the ground system for contingency operations in April 2020. Read More

Artificial Intelligence and the Information Lifecycle

(Nextgov) The year is 1989 and we’re introduced to the World Wide Web. The Berlin Wall is coming down. The Exxon Valdez is spilling oil in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Students are calling for democracy and free speech in Tiananmen Square. Crockett and Tubbs are clearing the mean streets of Miami. A future pop star by the name of Taylor Swift is born. This all occurred 30 years ago, around the same time as—if not more recently than—a number of government systems were put into place. Fast forward to 2019 and consider all the disruption that emerging technology is presenting to the federal government. Blockchain, quantum computing, internet of things, robotics, 5G … the list goes on. What does this mean? Read More

How the Air Force upgraded cyber testing for weapons systems

(FCW) The Air Force is leaning on agile and DevOps methodologies to help boost cybersecurity while testing new weapons systems. Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, commander of Air Force Materiel Command’s 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, told FCW that “agile development, having developers there alongside the testers” was one of the test center’s initiatives, along with increasing partnerships across the Air Force and with its software factories such as Kessel Run. Doing so in conjunction with using common industry techniques allow the service to “rapidly add capability and get it in the field,” he said. Read More

Unlocking Africa’s $100 billion public-finance opportunity

(McKinsey) African governments have made impressive progress in fostering development and improving people’s lives. The continent’s spending on infrastructure has doubled to around $80 billion a year in the past decade, investments in health systems have helped to halve infant mortality rates since 1990, and the average time African children spend in school has nearly doubled over the same period. Will this progress be sustained or stalled in the decade ahead? In large part, the answer boils down to finance. Africa today faces a perfect storm of a slowdown in growth, depressed commodity prices, stagnant tax revenues, and rising public debt. Read More