NewsBrief September 24, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: September 24, 2021

As Air Force adopts AI, it must also defend it, intelligence chief says

(fedscoop) With the Air Force increasingly looking to develop algorithms for machine learning and artificial intelligence, it must also get serious about defending them from adversaries, the service’s top intelligence officer said. While many senior officials across service have touted AI and ML as keys to a more effective, data-driven Air Force, there is currently is no organization within the Air Force that serves to defend the underlying algorithms once operational, Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations, said Wednesday at the Air Force Association’s 2021 Air, Space & Cyber conference. Read More

Air Force Secretary wants to boost work with traditional defense industry

(fedscoop) The secretary of the Air Force wants to increase his department’s efforts to acquire emerging technologies from the traditional defense industry, not just Silicon Valley, as other leaders have focused on. Frank Kendall, who was the undersecretary of acquisition, technology and logistics in the Obama administration, said that the Air Force has not done enough to purchase and collaborate with companies familiar with its core mission. His comments contrasted with previous DOD leaders that have made it a priority to reach out to non-traditional defense contractors and Silicon Valley companies. He applauded those efforts, but said companies that sell to the military still have more to give. Read More

Telework is the new normal for Air Force Materiel Command

(FCW) Air Force Materiel Command is preparing to have half of its headquarters personnel working remotely at least some of the time, Commander Gen. Arnold Bunch said. “We have a lot of people that wanted to telework, I had a lot of supervisors that didn’t want to let people telework, and the message that I gave our leaders: we are not going back to what we were doing before,” Bunch said. “We have demonstrated that we can execute the mission. We have demonstrated that we can award contracts, manage programs, get things done.” Read More

Defense industry must buy into open standards for JADC2 to work, executives say

(fedscoop) Defense firms must become more comfortable working together and sharing data in an open architecture if they hope to play a role in successfully delivering the military’s futuristic strategy for interconnected, sensor-driven battlefield operations, top executives said Tuesday. Under the Department of Defense’s Internet of Things-like concept of operations known as Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), no defense contractor should own any of the data that is collected, processed or shared among military services and across the domains of warfare, C-Suite leaders from Boeing, Northrop Grumman and L3Harris Technologies agreed during a panel at the Air Force Association’s 2021 Air, Space & Cyber conference. Rather, that will belong to the services and the larger systems they develop, like the Air Force and its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). Read More

New WH task force asking what shared computing, data could do for AI research

(Federal News Network) Anytime the topic of artificial intelligence comes up, two things dominate the discussion: It’s the technology of the future and China is ahead of the U.S. Whatever the reality, the White House earlier this year launched a National Intelligence Research Resource Task Force. It’s run out of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation. For a progress report on what the task force has been up to, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to the senior advisor for translation, innovation and partnerships at the National Science Foundation Dr. Erwin Gianchandani. Read More

Trade group calls on OMB to provide more guidance on zero trust rollout

(fedscoop) A technology industry trade group has called on the Office of Management and Budget to expand prioritization guidance for agencies as they roll out zero-trust security architectures across government. In a letter sent Wednesday to OMB, the Information Technology Industry Council said it should offer more detailed criteria for departments to follow over which systems – such as high-value data assets – should be migrated to a zero-trust environment first. ITI’s recommendations come after tech officials earlier this month suggested the strategy needs more deadlines to help agencies decide how to prioritize resources. It submitted the evidence as part of a consultation the White House has launched to obtain feedback from industry on its zero-trust strategy. Read More

DoD planning to create big data platform to better understand supply chain risks

(Federal News Network) While the future of the Defense Department’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) initiative is in “wait and see mode,” the Pentagon is far from sitting still when it comes to protecting its supply chain. Publicly, DoD announced a new supply chain resiliency working group on Sept. 3, “to address systemic barriers currently limiting supply chain visibility, conduct resiliency assessments and develop effective mitigation actions.” And privately, Federal News Network has learned DoD is asking vendors for feedback about how to establish a new blanket purchase agreement for supply chain data and information sharing. Read More

Pentagon looks to cement career paths for software acquisition experts

(Federal News Network) The Pentagon’s latest warfighting concepts largely rest on acquiring and integrating new technologies into the military services, especially software-driven capabilities like artificial intelligence and machine learning, but officials say those efforts could struggle without an equally tech savvy acquisition workforce. For the past year, the Defense Department has been piloting “career planning for digital acquisition,” according to Tory Cuff, senior advisor for agile acquisitions within DoD’s acquisition and sustainment office. “How do we provide that multidisciplinary foundational training that is responding to the changing concepts and really relating why and how agile can be applied, not only to your engineering approach, but all the way to your contracting strategy,” Cuff said during a Wednesday event hosted by GovExec. Read More

Government data management for the digital age

(McKinsey & Company) Digital society’s lifeblood is data—and governments have lots of data, representing a significant latent source of value for both the public and private sectors.1 If used effectively, and keeping in mind ever-increasing requirements with regard to data protection and data privacy, data can simplify delivery of public services, reduce fraud and human error, and catalyze massive operational efficiencies. Despite these potential benefits, governments around the world remain largely unable to capture the opportunity. The key reason is that data are typically dispersed across a fragmented landscape of registers (datasets used by government entities for a specific purpose), which are often managed in organizational silos. Read More

NASA’s Artemis Rover to Land Near Nobile Region of Moon’s South Pole

(NASA) In 2023, NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) will land near the western edge of the Nobile Crater at the Moon’s South Pole to map and explore the region’s surface and subsurface for water and other resources. Part of Artemis, VIPER will launch on a SpaceX Falcon-Heavy rocket for delivery to the Moon by Astrobotic’s Griffin lander under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. Read More