NewsBrief September 18, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: September 18, 2020

DoD to start live fighter trials with AI pilots by 2024, Esper says

(Robodaily) The Pentagon plans to conduct live trials pitting tactical aircraft controlled by artificial intelligence against human pilots, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday. He also said the United States’ AI will be governed by ethics that power rivals like Russia and China lack, and will coordinate AI strategy with nearly a dozen democratic allies in a new partnership. The comments were made during the Pentagon’s first AI conference, which was held virtually this week, as the military looks to develop and integrate new technology ahead of the country’s competitors. Read More

Software ‘should costing’: A new procurement tool for automotive companies

(McKinsey & Company) Faster, cheaper, better. Those are the words that come to mind when thinking about “should costing.” This method, which incorporates both digital technologies and agile principles, involves using clean-sheet techniques to create a bottom-up estimate of a supplier’s production costs and margins. As its name suggests, should costing helps companies distinguish between the set price of goods or services and their true value. The should-costing method is now the gold standard for hardware purchases at automotive companies, but largely absent from software procurement. While this oversight may seem surprising, the explanation is simple: most automotive procurement groups are familiar with hardware suppliers and their work processes but understand relatively little about software development. Read More

18F instructs federal agencies on ‘de-risking’ agile IT projects

(fedscoop) The 18F team has issued official recommendations for how agencies can reduce risk when adopting agile and user-centered design methodologies for developing software. The De-Risking Government Technology Field Guide, released this week, focuses on what to do when buying software, writing contracts for support, choosing between contractor proposals and establishing metrics for development. The guide represents the first comprehensive attempt by the digital services arm of the General Services Administration to help federal cross-functional teams avoid failed IT projects and compliments the Agile Budgeting & Oversight Guide for State Governments published in 2019. Read More

Pentagon raises AI ambitions

(FCW) The Defense Department wants to accelerate its artificial intelligence efforts with increased personnel training, education and a new, collaborative cloud-based environment for tools and data-sharing called the Joint Common Foundation. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he wants to expand DOD’s in-house AI community by increasing the Pentagon’s Joint AI Center’s nine-week training program available to all components over the next year. The JAIC launched the Responsible AI Committee this year to help DOD leaders “foster a culture of AI ethics” and created “the Responsible AI Champions program, a nine-week training course for DOD personnel directly involved in the AI delivery pipeline,” Esper said at DOD’s two-day virtual AI symposium Sept. 9. Read More

What defense contractors need to know about upcoming CMMC requirements

(Cincinnati Business Courier) The Department of Defense (DoD) is actively working to protect data and stop breaches caused by hackers and cybercriminals. As a result, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) data protection requirements will soon be in place for Defense Industrial Base (DIB) companies seeking contracts. The DIB is the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components to meet U.S. military requirements. The DIB partnership consists of more than 300,000 companies and their subcontractors who perform under contract with the DoD. Read More

DISA takes inspiration from commercial environment for network modernization

(Federal News Network)The Defense Information Systems Agency is on the forefront of federal network development and is considering how Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) can help it provide network capabilities across the Defense establishment. As technical director of DISA’s Infrastructure Directorate Bryon Doyle said, his job is to have an oversight of the organization’s architecture. That means outreach to both vendors and customers to see how services, Defense Department agencies and other federal partners can best use the environment. Read More

GSA adding supply chain requirements to major contracts

(fedscoop) The General Services Administration is working closely with companies to ensure that new supply chain risk management (SCRM) requirements are appearing in major federal contracts, said the deputy assistant commissioner for acquisition. Keith Nakasone said Tuesday that his Office of IT Category (ITC) is taking a “proactive approach” by adding SCRM and cybersecurity language to new and old contracts. The goal is to ensure companies self-certify and comply with crucial requirements established over the last few years. Read More

Employers in D.C. Region Expect Some Remote Work Into Mid-2021, Survey Finds

(Nextgov) Many employers in the region around Washington, D.C. have no immediate plans to call most of their employees back to offices due to concerns about the coronavirus, and some expect that worksites won’t be full again even by next summer, according to a new survey. The Greater Washington Partnership released the results of the poll on Monday. It was conducted between Aug. 10 and 28 and includes responses from about 430 employers in various industries across the metro areas that cover D.C., Baltimore, and Richmond, Virginia. The survey offers clues about the pace at which workers could return to offices after months of working from home. Read More

NASA Missions Spy First Possible ‘Survivor’ Planet Hugging White Dwarf Star

(NASA) An international team of astronomers using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope has reported what may be the first intact planet found closely orbiting a white dwarf, the dense leftover of a Sun-like star, only 40% larger than Earth. The Jupiter-size object, called WD 1856 b, is about seven times larger than the white dwarf, named WD 1856+534. It circles this stellar cinder every 34 hours, more than 60 times faster than Mercury orbits our Sun. Read More

7 Military ASMR videos guaranteed to put you to sleep

(MilitaryTimes) In 2009, a woman named Jennifer Allen went on a mission to discover why, sometimes, she’d experience a tingling sensation in her head and neck when she heard certain sounds. Naturally, she turned to the internet to see if other people might have experienced this same phenomenon. The feeling, nameless at the time, was described on a forum thread titled, “Weird sensation feels good.” Allen would then become the person credited with naming the phenomenon “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response” or “ASMR.” Read More