NewsBrief September 20, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: September 20, 2019

Are medium-sized contractors getting left behind?

(Federal News Network) A new study by the Government Accountability Office confirms it’s tough to be a medium-sized government contractor. GAO looked at 10 years of contracting data, and found companies that had been getting small-business set aside contracts had a very hard time getting work once they outgrew the “small” size standards. Read More

Catch them if you can: How leaders in data and analytics have pulled ahead

(McKinsey & Company) While it may come as no surprise that data and analytics are reshaping industry competition and organizations’ core businesses at an accelerating pace, the persistently lackluster response to this phenomenon by most companies should raise some eyebrows. In our latest McKinsey Global Survey on the topic, respondents say that since our 2017 survey, the changes data and analytics have brought to their industries are growing in both magnitude and scope. Read More

Can Army Control Costs Of Its New Weapons?

(Breaking Defense) After decades of cancelled programs, the Army is launching its biggest modernization effort since the Reagan buildup — and the cost will almost certainly exceed the current estimates, the service’s top budget planner warned. Neither internal Army reforms like the Night Courts, nor sympathetic Defense secretaries nor congressional committees will deliver enough money to cover the gap. Read More

Thank you not so much, Mr. Roboto — temper excitement for military’s newest exoskeleton

(Military Times) The Marine Corps and Air Force could each receive one or two high-tech exoskeletons within the next year, fully autonomous mechanized suits that brings those used in the classic film, “Aliens.” But before excitement of mechanized warfare skyrockets, sci-fi and futuristic war enthusiasts should temper with a dose of reality. Read More

Air Force announces new information warfare entity

(FCW) The Air Force is merging its cyber and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities in a new information warfare organization: the 16th Air Force. Gen. James Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, confirmed Sept. 18 that the existing cyber and intelligence functions — the 24th and 25th Numbered Air Forces, respectively — would be combined into a single entity headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. Read More

These three weapon systems will face delays under a short CR

(DefenseNews) As Congress heads toward the start of fiscal 2020, potentially under a continuing resolution, the Pentagon has identified three key modernization programs that will suffer under the restrictions of such an approach. At a press briefing Thursday, Jonathan Hoffman, the department’s top spokesman, said Defense Secretary Mark Esper met with congressional leaders this week to urge them to avoid a CR. However, that path appears unlikely, with the House passing legislation to keep the government open under a CR through Nov. 21. Read More

GSA’s TTS is being restructured into two ‘pillars’ of effort

(FedScoop) The General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service is reorganizing itself to be more “client-focused,” Director Anil Cheriyan tells FedScoop. The four existing offices and programs of the tech-focused group will be sorted into two “pillars,” Cheriyan says: “clients and markets,” which will include 18F, the Centers of Excellence and the Presidential Innovation Fellows program; and “solutions and products,” which will house the Office of Products and Programs as well as other digital tools like and that are currently under 18F. Read More

Welcome to the Arctic: Degraded radios, poor satellite geometry and sea charts dating back to Capt. Cook

(Navy Times) As a changing climate melts sea ice and the Arctic Circle opens to ships from all nations, the U.S. Coast Guard and other armed forces will be called to assert American power in the polar region. The U.S. Senate’s Fiscal Year 2020 defense bill calls for the Pentagon to study the best strategic port locations for the Arctic, but experts warned House lawmakers on Thursday that planners will confront many problems building bases there designed to counter growing Russian and Chinese presence up north. Read More

GAO Urges NASA to Take More Action in Major Program Scheduling

(Executive Gov) The Government Accountability Office has assessed the scheduling of NASA’s efforts to manage major human space exploration systems. GAO said Wednesday that it’s looking into the space agency’s development activities of the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System rocket and Exploration Ground Systems. Read More

NOAA, DOE Launch Prize Competition for Energy-Efficient Ocean Observation Systems

(Executive Gov) TThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced a competition to encourage the development of ocean observing platforms that use marine renewable energy. NOAA said Wednesday that it has partnered with the Department of Energy to launch the $3M Ocean Observing Prize under the existing Powering the Blue Economy portfolio. Read More