NewsBrief October 8, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 8, 2021

All DoD security clearance holders are now subject to continuous vetting to keep them

(MilitaryTimes) Traditionally, the agency that bestows security clearances on government employees re-investigates those candidates on a cyclical basis, checking on their credit reports, criminal histories and so on, once every several years. But a new vetting process means the Defense Department, and employees of dozens of other government agencies, will continuously scan background check databases and have any new events sent straight to investigators. The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency announced Tuesday that all DoD clearance holders are now part of its continuous vetting program. This means that if an employee comes under criminal investigation, or forecloses on a home, multiple agencies will ping DCSA with the news immediately. At the same time, DCSA software will automatically scan those databases for new information. Read More

How the Army is bouncing its supply chain back from the COVID freeze

(Federal News Network) The past 18 months have thrown a wrench in many of the military’s plans, but the supply chain took a particularly hard hit. Deacon Maddox, Army Materiel Command director of supply chain management, said there were a handful of backups that caused issues for the supply chain during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. “When you’re on a multi-year buy plan, you’ve got a lot of capital sunk in contracts and then you’re counting on sales to occur,” Maddox said during a Federal Insights interview sponsored by Infor. “If people aren’t training or leaving the motor pool because they’re doing other things, or they’re isolating or they’re sick or they’re not going on deployments then what you have is the demands that you are counting on that don’t materialize.” Read More

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency boss reveals data strategy

(C4ISRNET) ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has a new strategy for tackling the torrent of data pouring into the organization from all over the world, and it relies on automation, artificial intelligence and improving access to information. NGA is the U.S. intelligence community’s go-to agency for processing and analyzing satellite imagery. It transforms sensor data collected by the National Reconnaissance Office, among other government and military entities, into usable intelligence products. But the environment is quickly changing. Simply put, the agency faces an unprecedented amount of data from new satellite sources. Read More

Army’s new Project Convergence capabilities lack cyber plans, IG says

(fedscoop) A section of the Army’s contribution to the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) military framework lacks plans for how the tech would handle adversarial cyber attacks, an Inspector General report has found. The Department of Defense‘s watchdog highlighted concerns with part of Project Convergence, known as Capability Set 21 Integrated Tactical Network. Ensuring a highly connected battlefield is secure has been a top concern for officials, as the more connected a network the more opportunities an adversary could have to poison data or move throughout a system. Read More

Federal Research: Agency Actions Needed to Address Foreign Influence

(GAO@100) To protect U.S. investments in scientific research from undue foreign influence, federal agencies should have conflict of interest policies and require researchers to disclose foreign interests. We testified that the National Science Foundation has an agency-wide financial conflict of interest policy, but it doesn’t define non-financial conflicts (e.g., for researchers with multiple professional appointments). The policy does require researchers to disclose some non-financial interests in grant proposals—like foreign-provided lab space. We recommended defining non-financial conflicts in agency policies in our report on NSF and 4 other agencies. Read More

FISMA reform bill would require CISA to assign advisers to work with agency CIOs

(fedscoop) The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would be required to appoint cybersecurity advisers from its department to work with each federal agency CIO if draft FISMA reform legislation passes into law in its current form. Each adviser would be responsible for providing ongoing assistance and advice to their assigned CIO and act as the designated point of contact between each department and CISA in the event of a cybersecurity breach. It is understood that smaller federal agencies would be able to share an adviser. Read More

DISA reorganizes cloud office

(FCW) The Defense Information Systems Agency has reorganized its cloud and enterprise service offices to create a new organization called the Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), FCW has learned. The new office is a combination of the cloud computing program office with DISA’s services directorate and ecosystem. Sharon Woods, who leads the cloud program office as its executive director, will lead HaCC as its acting director starting Oct. 1, a DISA spokesperson confirmed via email. The HaCC will be “responsible for providing the warfighter with critical hosting and compute functions using modern data center and cloud capabilities,” which underpin several Defense Department-wide efforts including Joint All Domain Command and Control and improving data analytics, a DISA spokesperson wrote. Read More

Building an Organizational Approach to Responsible AI

(MITSloan) As technology has advanced and become ubiquitous in our lives, a common philosophical question is whether technology itself is neutral. There are many good arguments to be made that it is — and that it is how technology is used and deployed that creates good or bad outcomes for individuals, companies, and society. This question is important for the digital transformation shaping businesses today. With data acting as the fuel for artificial intelligence, the issues surrounding customer privacy and data tracking are increasing. Organizations and governments are recognizing this, as evidenced by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect in 2018 to protect the privacy of European citizens.Read More

Blockchain technology could provide secure communications for robot teams

(ScienceDaily) Imagine a team of autonomous drones equipped with advanced sensing equipment, searching for smoke as they fly high above the Sierra Nevada mountains. Once they spot a wildfire, these leader robots relay directions to a swarm of firefighting drones that speed to the site of the blaze. But what would happen if one or more leader robots was hacked by a malicious agent and began sending incorrect directions? As follower robots are led farther from the fire, how would they know they had been duped? Read More

LEONARDO, the bipedal robot, can ride a skateboard and walk a slackline

(ScienceDaily) LEO carves out a new type of locomotion somewhere between walking and flying. Researchers at Caltech have built a bipedal robot that combines walking with flying to create a new type of locomotion, making it exceptionally nimble and capable of complex movements. Part walking robot, part flying drone, the newly developed LEONARDO (short for LEgs ONboARD drOne, or LEO for short) can walk a slackline, hop, and even ride a skateboard. Developed by a team at Caltech’s Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST), LEO is the first robot that uses multi-joint legs and propeller-based thrusters to achieve a fine degree of control over its balance. Read More