NewsBrief: October 27, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 27, 2023

An Analysis of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2024 Shipbuilding Plan

(Congressional Budget Office) Each year, as directed by the Congress, the Department of Defense submits a report with the President’s budget describing the Navy’s planned inventory, purchases, deliveries, and retirements of ships in its fleet for the next 30 years. Like the Navy’s shipbuilding plan for fiscal year 2023, its 2024 plan provides three alternative long-range projections of its future fleet rather than one. In this report, the Congressional Budget Office analyzes the alternatives in the 2024 plan and estimates the costs of implementing each of them. Overall, the objectives of the three alternatives in the 2024 plan are similar to those in the 2023 plan, but the costs have increased substantially, largely reflecting higher estimated costs for submarines. Read More

Artemis program could be hindered by supply chain visibility issues, per watchdog report

(FedScoop) NASA is falling behind in tracking its supply chain for the Artemis program, according to an agency inspector general’s report published last week. That ambitious mission series, which aims to return humans to the moon in the coming years and eventually send astronauts to Mars, is dependent on a litany of contractors that the space agency isn’t doing a great job of monitoring, officials warn. The challenge is undoubtedly enormous. NASA spent around $40 billion on agreements with contractors between 2012 and 2022 in order to advance the Artemis missions, according to the OIG report. These contractors, meanwhile, have their own subcontractors. Read More

‘There’s no fat left to trim’: FLRA chairwoman warns of possible furloughs in 2024

(Government Executive) Officials at the federal agency responsible for governing labor-management relations in the federal government warn that unless a decades-long trend of underfunding is reversed, the Federal Labor Relations Authority will need to resort to furloughs to keep the lights on next year. The FLRA is best known for the three-member board atop the agency that metes out decisions resolving disputes between federal agencies and the unions that represent their employees. But that function is buttressed by a corps of attorneys and investigators investigating complaints and grievances, mediators encouraging settling disagreements throughout the process. Read More

Sen. Chuck Schumer’s second AI Insight Forum covers increased R&D funding, immigration challenges and safeguards

(FedScoop) Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., once again Tuesday brought together top artificial intelligence scholars, tech evangelists and civil rights leaders to discuss AI regulation and development, this time focusing the conversation on increased federal research and development funding, tech immigration issues, and ways to find common ground on AI safeguards. In Senate Majority Leader Schumer’s second closed-door bipartisan AI Insight Forum, participants also spotlighted how the federal government in particular can best ensure the U.S. remains a leader in AI innovation while developing better and safer autonomous systems. Read More

CISA hails progress on cyber risk visibility, but lawmakers eye expanded shared services

(Federal News Network) The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is expanding a “no-notice” penetration testing program across federal agencies, allowing CISA to find critical vulnerabilities in agency networks before hackers. The effort is the latest in CISA’s push to expand “visibility” across federal agency networks, hailed by agency leaders as critical to defending the government from cyber attacks. But lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection subcommittee are raising questions about whether CISA should expand the shared cyber services it offers to agencies. Read More

How a defined risk appetite can improve nonfinancial risk management

(McKinsey & Company) Low-Earth orbit is teeming with space junk. This increasingly cluttered area of space could benefit from a network of lasers that nudge objects at risk of colliding with satellites or spacecraft into safer orbits, according to new research. While space debris has been a concern for decades, efforts to address this junk have only recently started receiving serious investment. The latest early-stage idea is to mount artificial intelligence-powered lasers on satellites or other dedicated platforms and have them monitor space debris objects. Read More

NASA Is Locating Ice on Mars With This New Map

( Buried ice will be a vital resource for the first people to set foot on Mars, serving as drinking water and a key ingredient for rocket fuel. But it would also be a major scientific target: Astronauts or robots could one day drill ice cores much as scientists do on Earth, uncovering the climate history of Mars and exploring potential habitats (past or present) for microbial life. The need to look for subsurface ice arises because liquid water isn’t stable on the Martian surface: The atmosphere is so thin that water immediately vaporizes. There’s plenty of ice at the Martian poles – mostly made of water, although carbon dioxide, or dry ice, can be found as well – but those regions are too cold for astronauts (or robots) to survive for long. Read More

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