NewsBrief: October 7, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 7, 2022

AI task force aims to expand federal research opportunities beyond big tech

(FCW) A task force developing recommendations for a National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource is focusing on expanding AI research and development opportunities beyond the current scope of big tech companies and wealthy research institutions, according to the founding director of the White House National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office. Lynne Parker, who served as director of the AI initiative office since 2018 before leaving her post in August, said the federal government faces a number of “frustrating” challenges when it comes to expanding data accessibility, from a lack of funding to curation and privacy concerns. Read More

State Department Names DOD Official as New CIO

(NextGOV) The Department of State named Kelly Fletcher as the new chief information officer for the agency on Thursday, after she had served as the principal deputy CIO for the Department of Defense. In her new role as CIO, Fletcher will “establish the strategic direction of information technology, including oversight for $2.5 billion of programs throughout the Department of State.” According to the State’s tech division tweet, she will lead 2,700 IT professionals at the agency. Her appointment comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the modernization of diplomacy. Fletcher is a member of the Senior Executive Service. At her previous role as principal deputy CIO, she supported the DOD CIO in matters of information technology, cybersecurity, communications and spectrum, among other things. Read More

AFRL Commander moderates Future Of Propulsion Panel At AFA Air, Space, Cyber Conference

(SpaceDaily) Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle, Air Force Research Laboratory commander, moderated a future of propulsion panel comprised of Air Force experts Sept. 21, 2022, during the Air and Space Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. “We’re really proud to be a part of telling you about the future of propulsion,” Pringle said. “It’s often an unsung technology, but it’s really helped us achieve the air power and space power that we see today. In the air domain, for example, propulsion is a critical component of our quest to attain faster speeds, greater range, higher altitudes and improved power and thermal management capabilities.” Read More

Army Stands Up New Command to Provide Global Counterintelligence Support

(FEDweek) Soldiers can now use their CAC cards to log into the service’s newly established Google Workspace account. With it, soldiers who don’t need the full spectrum of information-sharing provided by Army365 can nevertheless find comrades, schedule meetings and coordinate other activities. “All new entrants to the Army will be provisioned automatically with a Google Workspace account with a new email address … when they receive their CAC card,” Raj Iyer, the service’s chief information officer, said in a social-media post. “Soldiers will retain their Google account till they fully transition to their first unit after completion of basic training and AIT [advanced infantry training], at which point their commanders will determine if they need an Army365 account.” The directive applies to all active-duty, reserve and National Guard soldiers. Read More

Oversight of DOD Special Operations Forces Requires Better Data, Watchdog Says

(NextGOV) The Department of Defense needs to centralize its data collection mechanisms and standardize terminology across its command and control structures to improve oversight of its special operations forces, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday. Congress requested that GAO review the structure and organization of the U.S. Special Operations Command—or USSOCOM—in a House report that accompanied the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. USSOCOM, which is tasked with overseeing the special operations of all U.S. military branches, had 28 different command and control structures managing special operations forces across the globe in 2021. Read More

DOD Kicks Off Immersive Commercial Acquisition Program

(ExecutiveGov) The innovation arm of the Department of Defense has selected four inaugural members of a program meant to train acquisition professionals on the use of other transaction agreements and a merit-based selection process known as Commercial Solutions Opening when purchasing technology products from industry. The Immersive Commercial Acquisition Program incorporates classroom, on-the-job and experiential learning methods at the Defense Acquisition University to help participants carry out prototype projects, the Defense Innovation Unit said Wednesday. DIU expects the 2022-2023 cohort to create and apply a capstone training framework within their home organizations. Read More

OPM Authorizes Emergency Leave Transfer for Hurricane Fiona

(FEDweek) OPM has authorized emergency leave transfer programs for federal employees affected by Hurricane Fiona. In those programs, employees may donate unused annual leave for transfer to employees of the same or other agencies who are affected by a major disaster or emergency, either directly or through adversely affected family members, and who need additional time off from work without having to use their own paid leave. As is standard with such announcements, OPM left it up to agencies to operate the program, including informing employees of its availability; determining which employees qualify for leave and how much they are eligible for; the period during which leave may be accepted for distribution; and the actual distribution of leave. Read More

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