NewsBrief October 30, 2020

Posted by

Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 30, 2020

AI Projects Progressing Across Federal Government Agencies

(AI Trends) Government agencies are gaining experience with AI on projects, with practitioners focusing on defining the project benefit and the data quality is good enough to ensure success. That was a takeaway from talks on the opening day of the Second Annual AI World Government conference and expo held virtually on October 28. Wendy Martinez, PhD, director of the Mathematical Statistics Research Center, with the Office of Survey Methods Research in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, described a project to use natural language understanding AI to parse text fields of databases, and automatically correlate them to job occupations in the federal system. Read More

US Army plans to extend program that allows teleworkers to access classified information

(C4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has completed its pilot program that would allow teleworkers to access classified information, a capability that military leaders first rolled out over the summer, a top IT officer said Wednesday. Speaking at the C4ISRNET CyberCon event, Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, commanding general of the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command, said the capability was nearly ready to be put into production, where it will be distributed to about 2,000 users. The pilot program included 500 people. It used commercial solutions to access sensitive data and classified data up to the secret level. Read More

An unexpected danger: COVID-19 puts government clearances at risk

(Federal News Network) COVID-19 has created a wealth of different risks for people around the world. But in the United States, another unexpected consequence is the influence of the pandemic on government security clearances. By disrupting the job market, the virus can create difficulties for members of the government and military when it comes to maintaining or advancing authorizations. In the federal government and military, national security and the safety of individuals depend heavily on a person’s ability to focus and make good decisions. Read More

Air Force seeks companies that are shooting for the sky, not necessarily the moon

(fedscoop) The Air Force is looking to open another pot of money up to companies that are ready to think big, but not too big.The department wants to shift some of its “deep tech” acquisition money to what its top procurement official is calling “skyshots” — ideas short of a full moonshot. Funding will come through the AFWERX development program. Will Roper, assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, says the Air Force is interested in ideas that could be game-changers but take years to mature. In this case, the goal is not to acquire specific tech, he said during an online “Ask Me Anything” event hosted by the AFWERX, the Air Force’s tech incubator based out of Austin and Washington, D.C. Read More

CMS untangles its data infrastructure to enable AI-powered fraud detection

(Federal News Network) Agency program offices have found plenty of opportunities to save time and money through artificial intelligence and automation pilots. But unlocking the full potential of those tools requires agencies to spend time improving their data infrastructure. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for example, is looking at using AI and machine learning tools to flag fraud, waste and abuse. But first, Deputy Chief Information Officer Bobby Saxon said the agency needs to make its data systems — made up of 30 data warehouses and three enterprise data lakes — more cohesive. Read More

DOD could get permanent telework capability in 2021

(FCW) The Defense Department wants to convert its key telework tool, the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) environment, to a permanent capability by next summer, according to John Sherman, DOD’s principal deputy CIO. CVR, which is the Defense Department’s version of Microsoft Teams, has been extended for use until June 2021, Sherman said Oct. 28 during C4ISRNET’s CyberCon event, with the goal is to move to a more enduring capability. “We are currently working on a more enduring [Microsoft] Office 365 base capability,” with higher security capabilities, he said. Read More

Making a difference with data: What it can mean for food banks

(McKinsey & Company) The COVID-19 crisis couldn’t have come at a worse time for Second Harvest Heartland, Minnesota’s largest food bank. When the virus first began to spread in the state, Second Harvest Heartland was weeks away from moving into a new warehouse in suburban Minneapolis. In anticipation of the move, the food bank had purposely drawn down its inventory, so there wouldn’t be as much to haul from one place to another. Demand exploded virtually overnight. As the virus spread, businesses closed, and workers were furloughed or laid off. Read More