NewsBrief: October 28, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 28, 2022

Balancing risk and reward in planetary exploration

(RoboDaily) NASA’s Mars rovers strive for groundbreaking scientific discoveries as they traverse the Martian landscape. At the same time, the crews operating the rovers do all they can to protect them and the billions of dollars behind the mission. This balance between risk and reward drives the decisions surrounding where the rovers go, the paths they take to get there and the science they uncover. Researchers in the School of Computer Science’s Robotics Institute (RI) have developed a new approach to balancing the risks and scientific value of sending planetary rovers into dangerous situations. Read More

DARPA Seeks Proposals for New AI Program to Strengthen Network Security

(ExecutiveGov) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has issued a broad agency announcement seeking technical proposals for a new program that aims to develop automated approaches to conducting cybersecurity assessments on computer networks. The Cyber Agents for Security Testing and Learning Environments program focuses on developing an artificial intelligence toolkit designed to create realistic environments and train AI agents in mitigating advanced persistent cyberthreats, DARPA said Monday. CASTLE will use reinforcement learning to train defensive AI agents in adversarial environments that replicate actual networks and simulate defensive actions of cyber threat actors against counter-APT tools. Read More

How Government Might Work Up to 3D-Printed Buildings

(Government Executive) Government buildings could one day be 3D printed, according to Beth Killoran, deputy chief information officer at the General Services Administration, who spoke on a panel at the Imagine Nation ELC Conference on Monday. “They’re 3D-printing houses,” Killoran said. “We have the Public Building Service, why aren’t we 3D-printing buildings that are better for [the] environment? But we have to start with smaller than that. That’s a little bit of a step too far, that’s a change that they’re not ready for.” Read More

A Defense Policy Bill Amendment Would Establish a Veteran-Focused Cyber Training Program

(Government Executive) A proposed amendment to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act would establish a pilot program to provide veterans and military spouses with cybersecurity training, as part of an effort to address gaps in the nation’s cybersecurity workforce. The bipartisan amendment was put forward by Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, in the Senate. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., introduced the amendment in the House, where it passed with more than 600 other amendments in a July vote. Both amendments are modeled on the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Expansion Act, legislation previously introduced in the Senate by Hassan and Cornyn, and in the House by Houlahan. Read More

Navy to break up some big contracts to increase small business participation

(Federal News Network) The Navy is taking steps to increase small business awards and hold large prime contractors accountable for meeting their subcontracting plans through multiple initiatives. This fiscal year, the Navy will take five large contracts and break them up into smaller awards so small businesses and others can compete for the work. Jimmy Smith, the director of the Office of Small Business Programs at the Department of the Navy, said breaking up the contracts so will also help the service meet the goals of President Joe Biden’s executive order on “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” Read More

That Time a Lawyer Invented the Government Shutdown

(Government Executive) At the end of September, in what has become an annual event, Congress and the president agreed on a short-term funding measure to keep federal agencies from having to close their doors. The ritual often includes going to the brink of a government shutdown repeatedly, while the laborious playacting of negotiating an omnibus funding measure for agencies unfolds. For nearly 200 years of the country’s history, this never happened. Everyone just assumed that if Congress didn’t get around to finishing appropriations bills, then agencies would just continue operating as normal until lawmakers got the job done. Read More

What workers want is changing. That could be good for government

(McKinsey & Company) Labor shortages are causing many problems across industries, but when US government jobs lie vacant, it ripples through the fabric of American life. Think long security lines at airports, stalled highway construction projects, difficulties scheduling an appointment at the local DMV, or teacher shortages at public schools. Many Americans have already felt the impact of these workforce deficits, and the problem is poised to get worse. Increased federal funding to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, boost supply chain resilience, and respond to rising geopolitical tensions promises to create new civil-service jobs at a time when the public sector is falling even further behind the private sector in the talent race. Read More

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