NewsBrief October 9, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: October 9, 2020

Make Your Data Insights Visually Consumable

(MIT Sloan) Earlier this year, my company worked with the executive team at a major health care provider to reimagine the way it delivered its story to new audiences. The CEO of this company was a real numbers guy — and rightfully so. The numbers clearly proved that his company was the right choice for patients, providers, and the health care system at large. He understood the value of this data set and saw how it could persuade his audience. He had an entire research team dedicated to gathering data and readying new materials in advance of any meeting with a prospective partner. Read More

GSA Wants a Feedback Machine to Help Agencies and the Public Navigate Policies

(Nextgov) The General Services Administration’s central office for helping the rest of government comply with a bevy of federal policies is looking for an IT solution to improve how the program intakes, manages and responds to questions. The Office of Governmentwide Policy, or OGP, “coordinates several activities for all federal agencies and is relied upon to provide accurate and prompt guidance,” according to a request for information published Monday seeking “a technical solution and cost estimate for a product that can manage route, and resolve inquiries from federal agencies and the public.” Read More

Data analytics and security platforms play key role in cloud migration

(fedscoop) Even though cloud migration has been a mantra for federal agencies over the past decade, the pandemic made it starkly clear that all agencies have not modernized at the same pace. Third-party research compiled by Splunk indicates that cultural barriers among public sector leaders may be keeping government from taking full advantage of cloud benefits. However, the research also shows that agencies are looking more to FedRAMP-authorized cloud services to help them speed up digital services. Read More

DHS Continues Efforts to Integrate AI Into Contractor Performance Assessment System

(ExecutiveGov) The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is continuing a prototyping effort focused on using artificial intelligence to help improve a system designed for managing data on contractors’ past performance. The DHS Procurement Innovation Lab will work with 10 agencies to assess seven AI technologies intended to modernize the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) and simplify its data management operations, FedScoop reported Tuesday. DHS will allocate $50,000 for phase 2 awards which will cover further development of the selected AI tools to meet requirements for software-as-a-service (SaaS) and security accreditation. Read More

With DoD’s fleet of 2045, the US military’s chief signals he’s all-in on sea power

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy must rapidly grow its attack submarine force, field smaller manned and unmanned combatants and examine changing the role of aircraft carriers in the coming decades as part of a massive expansion of the fleet to maintain American dominance on the seas, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Tuesday. To compete with China’s plans to be a first-rate military power by 2049, the United States must grow its fleet to more than 500 ships by 2045, and more than 355 ships by the mid-2030s, Esper announced, confirming a report last month from Defense News. Read More

Army cutting costs by sharing services with local communities

(Federal News Network) Five years ago, faced with tightening budgets for the funds needed to operate and support its bases, the Army began a push to save money by sharing services with the communities that lie outside its bases’ fencelines. That effort is beginning to pay off. Last month, the Army signed the 66th of what are known as Intergovernmental Support Agreements (IGSAs): Public-public partnerships between military installations and adjacent municipal governments. The latest, at Fort Stewart, Georgia, will put local government officials in Long County in charge of animal control services on the garrison. Read More

State Department is looking for tools to manage its global supply chain risk

(fedscoop) The State Department is faced with a pressing challenge: It wants to better understand its supply chain of IT vendors and be able to rapidly discover or anticipate risks to its networks. Essentially, the department wants to maximize its confidence that its supply chain is safe from the bad guys, according to a new request for information published Monday. It calls for existing market capabilities that can help the department better monitor its supply chain and react to threats. Read More

The journey to agile: How companies can become faster, more productive, and more responsive

(McKinsey & Company) In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, Simon London speaks with McKinsey senior partners Sherina Ebrahim and Shail Thaker on how companies can use agile practices to transform their organizations. An edited version of their conversation follows. Read More

3 Research-Based Ways to Cope with the Uncertainties of Pandemic Life

(Route Fifty) It’s 1:36 a.m. and I’ve just gotten my daughter back to sleep after she threw up violently. She has no fever, no cough, no shortness of breath, but what if…. I think it’s food poisoning and not Covid-19, but I can’t know for sure. Not knowing is hard. I’ll call the pediatrician in the morning, but for tonight I’m left with racing “what if” thoughts. Most people hate this all-too-familiar type of uncertainty. I find it fascinating. As a psychologist, I’m interested in how people think differently when they’re anxious. That means I study what happens when people don’t handle uncertainty well and get lost in that bottomless pit of currently unanswerable questions. Read More

There’s too much gold in the universe. No one knows where it came from.

( Something is raining gold across the universe. But no one knows what it is. Here’s the problem: Gold is an element, which means you can’t make it through ordinary chemical reactions — though alchemists tried for centuries. To make the sparkly metal, you have to bind 79 protons and 118 neutrons together to form a single atomic nucleus. That’s an intense nuclear fusion reaction. But such intense fusion doesn’t happen frequently enough, at least not nearby, to make the giant trove of gold we find on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system. And a new study has found the most commonly-theorized origin of gold — collisions between neutron stars — can’t explain gold’s abundance either. So where’s the gold coming from? Read More