NewsBrief: October 6, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 6, 2023

DHS sees need to be ‘aggressive adopters’ of AI tools to advance cyber mission

(Federal News Network) The Department of Homeland Security is looking to become one of the “early and aggressive adopters” of AI tools within the federal government, and is taking steps to protect critical infrastructure from AI-powered cyber attacks. Defense and national security community officials, speaking Wednesday at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT)’s AI DC conference in Arlington, Virginia, said their agencies see AI as an essential way to maintain an information advantage against malicious actors. Robert Silvers, DHS undersecretary for policy, said that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is setting the department’s own priority areas for AI. Those priorities are meant to align with what the Biden administration has planned for an upcoming executive order on AI. Read More

Continuous Vetting’ Coming for More Federal Employees

(FEDweek) OPM has announced plans to begin replacing periodic reinvestigations with “continuous vetting” for federal employees holding security clearances who are in positions designated as “non-sensitive public trust,” with a goal of having the new policy apply to all of them by the end of the current fiscal year. Continuous vetting involves conducting at any time the kinds of checks done in a periodic reinvestigation to determine whether an individual continues to meet the requirements for a clearance. It already is in common use in intelligence community agencies and for employees with high-level clearances generally. Read More

New ‘Hyperspace Challenge’ aims to pair mature space tech with DOD, Space Force

(NextGov/FCW) For the first time, the Space Force Rapid Capabilities Office is partnering with the 2023 Hyperspace Challenge accelerator in an effort to identify companies with existing, mature space technology solutions and potentially link them up with the Defense Department and U.S. Space Force. This year’s Hyperspace Challenge marks the sixth iteration of the business accelerator, which seeks to build relationships between emerging industry players and the U.S. government to drive innovation for the growing space domain. Read More

Japanese defense minister seeks deal to speed up Tomahawk buy from US

(Breaking Defense) As part of his first trip to Washington, Japan’s new defense minister Minoru Kihara announced his goal of expediting Japan’s planned purchase of Tomahawk missiles by a year. “Japan has been developing domestically manufactured standoff missiles which will be utilized for counterstrike capabilities,” Kihara told an audience at the Hudson Institute today, speaking through a translator. “However, this will take time, so we decided to acquire Tomahawks from the US in the meantime.” The original schedule had Japan purchasing Block V missiles in January 2026 and 2027, but the new plan will see up to 200 Block IV missiles purchased by January 2025, The Japan Times reported. Read More

CISA launches ‘Secure Our World’ Cybersecurity Awareness Month

(NextGov/FCW) October has always been one of the spookiest months. Not only do we have the ghosts and goblins of Halloween starting to creep out of their lairs, but it also starts to turn colder in much of the country. Leaves shine briefly in brilliant fall colors before dropping off of tree branches all together, turning them into skeletal representations of their former selves. Throw in a full moon, which will happen this year exactly on Halloween night, and you have the recipe for a scary month. Perhaps that is what former president George W. Bush had in mind back in 2004 when he designated October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. After all, not much is scarier than cyber threats these days. Read More

AI is already helping astronomers make incredible discoveries. Here’s how

( Whether we like it or not, artificial intelligence will change the way we interact with the universe. As a science, astronomy has a long tradition of looking for patterns by sifting through massive amounts of data, accidental discoveries, and a deep connection between theory and observation. These are all areas where artificial intelligence systems can make the field of astronomy faster and more powerful than ever before. That said, it’s important to note that “artificial intelligence” is a very broad term encompassing a wide variety of semi-related software tools and techniques. Read More

6 Things to Know About NASA’s Asteroid-Exploring Psyche Mission

(NASA) The first-ever mission to study a metal-rich asteroid, Psyche aims to help scientists learn more about the formation of rocky bodies in our solar system. With a launch readiness date set for Thursday, Oct. 12, NASA’s Psyche spacecraft will travel 2.2 billion miles from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to a metal-rich asteroid in the far reaches of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Trailing a blue glow from its thrusters and powered by a pair of massive solar arrays, the orbiter will use its payload of science instruments to learn more about the asteroid Psyche. Here are six things to know about the mission: Read More

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