NewsBrief September 17, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: September 17, 2021

Air Force software platform expansion stalled by cybersecurity concerns

(fedscoop) Efforts to expand the Air Force’s software development environment, Platform One, have stalled after some senior military IT leaders raised cybersecurity concerns about the platform, FedScoop has learned. The concerns center on officials’ understanding of the architecture, policies of the environment and a perceived lack of security documentation. Some officials have tried to outright ban the use of code stored in one of its repositories, and reciprocity talks with other services have been held up over differences of the risk levels each is willing to take, multiple sources with knowledge of the matter told FedScoop. Read More

DDS to transfer counter-drone capabilities to Air Force

(fedscoop) The Defense Digital Service (DDS) is planning to transfer its technologies to sense and detect small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) to the Air Force Research Lab at the end of the month, FedScoop has learned. AFRL’s NINJA counter-sUAS program will absorb DDS’s drone-sensing capabilities, including its high-fidelity long-range sensor and user interface for integrating sensors, by Sept. 30, a DDS spokesperson told this publication. The transition comes after the two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding in April to collaborate on counter-sUAS work. Read More

AFRL breaks ground on high-tech wargaming facility

(Air Force Materiel Command) KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M (AFRL). – The Air Force Research Laboratory broke ground on a $6 million, 10,685 square foot laboratory, September 8 that will advance wargaming and simulation, and analysis for AFRL’s Directed Energy and Space Vehicles Directorates located on Kirtland Air Force Base. The new building named the Wargaming and Advanced Research Simulation (WARS) Laboratory will house the Directed Energy Wargaming and Simulation Branch and the Space Vehicles Simulation and Analysis Branch. “We in the Department of Defense are concerned about competition with our adversaries across all domains of warfighting,” said Col. Eric Felt, Director of the Space Vehicles Directorate. “The WARS Lab will advance three strategies AFRL is pursuing to deter conflict, which we call ISP– innovation, speed and partnerships.”. Read More

Industry groups press DOD for more information on CMMC

(fedscoop) A collection of government contractor trade groups say the lack of information about the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification from the Department of Defense could soon have serious financial implications for the companies they represent. In a letter sent Wednesday to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, three industry groups asked for more communication with industry and support for small business trying to comply with the new cyber regime, among other recommendations. The missive was sent jointly by the National Defense Industry Association, the Professional Services Council and Information Technology Industry Council. Read More

UK Space Command: Step one for space domain awareness is bringing data together

(FC4ISRNET) WASHINGTON — The first step in improving the United Kingdom’s space domain awareness is bringing existing data together, said the head of the country’s new Space Command. “There are so many different sensors out there already, it is about initially bringing that data together, understanding that data, using that data so we’ve got a single picture and understanding of what is going on,” said Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey at the DSEI 2021 trade show in London Sept. 15. Read More

Defense Budget: DOD Has Adopted Practices to Manage Within the Constraints of Continuing Resolutions

(GAO@100) The Department of Defense started 11 of the last 12 fiscal years under a continuing resolution, which provides temporary funding for federal agencies when Congress hasn’t enacted regular appropriations by the start of the fiscal year. DOD officials said continuing resolutions can delay their ability to pay for goods or services and can lead to repetitive administrative tasks or incremental planning. We found DOD has practices to minimize the effects of this kind of funding. For example, the military services may postpone contracts or nonessential training early in the year—when they’re more likely to be under a continuing resolution. Read More

Building resilience through procurement analytics

(McKinsey & Company) Managing supply chains can be tough for many organizations, whether because of too much organizational complexity, too little spending transparency, or too heavy a reliance on gut instinct—usually resulting from siloed data and manual processes. COVID-19 exacerbated these challenges, even as it made an even stronger case for the analytics-driven future that companies have sought to achieve for years. The promise: by better using a company’s own data, analytics can help organizations spend more intelligently and efficiently, improving their liquidity and cost position. It can increase transparency and speed, giving decision-makers crucial insights for determining when, where, and how to act. And in so doing, it can help organizations become more resilient. Read More

SpaceX shows off Inspiration4’s amazing view of Earth and new dome window

( This window is going to get quite a workout over the next few days. SpaceX’s Inspiration4 became the first-ever all-private mission to reach Earth orbit Wednesday night (Sept. 15), riding a Falcon 9 rocket into the final frontier. Inspiration4’s Crew Dragon capsule, a vehicle called Resilience, soon settled into a circular orbit 364 miles (585 kilometers) above our planet. That’s higher than any Crew Dragon has ever gone, and about 115 miles (185 km) above the path taken by the International Space Station. Read More

NASA Readies James Webb Space Telescope for December Launch

(NASA) NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope into orbit Dec. 18, 2021, to serve as the premier deep space observatory for the next decade. The agency set the new target launch date in coordination with Arianespace after Webb recently and successfully completed its rigorous testing regimen – a major turning point for the mission. The new date also follows Arianespace successfully launching an Ariane 5 rocket in late July and scheduling a launch that will precede Webb. The July launch was the first for an Ariane 5 since August 2020. Read More

Cosmic objects with strange orbits discovered beyond Neptune

( A six-year search of space beyond the orbit of Neptune has netted 461 newly discovered objects. These objects include four that are more than 230 astronomical units (AU) from the sun. (An astronomical unit is the distance from the Earth to the sun, about 93 million miles or 149.6 million kilometers). These extraordinarily distant objects might shed light on Planet Nine, a theoretical, never-observed body that might be hiding in deep space, its gravity affecting the orbits of some of the rocky objects at the solar system’s edge. Read More