NewsBrief September 25, 2020

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: September 25, 2020

Pentagon easing pandemic travel restrictions

(Federal News Network) The Defense Department is steadily lifting the travel restrictions it imposed in response to COVID-19. This week’s update from the Pentagon shows just over half of the military’s worldwide installations are now in the “green” category — meaning servicemembers can move to and from those bases without special permission. Four bases were added to the unrestricted list in the past week. DoD considers several factors in deciding whether to change an installation’s status, including whether adequate health care services are available at the base and conditions in the local community. Read More

AI Commission Wants to Know How Government Can Help Industry Boost Commercial Innovation

(Nextgov) The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence invited small- and medium-sized AI-focused firms to share their thoughts on how the government should work with industry to fortify commercial innovation of the now widely-used, evolving technology. Information collected through a request for comments, which the commission posted in the Federal Register Wednesday, will inform an upcoming report the group is slated to publish early next year. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2019 established the commission as an independent federal entity, instituting and directing it “to consider the methods and means necessary to advance the development of [AI], machine learning, and associated technologies to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States. Read More

OPM built COVID dashboard on a shoestring

(FCW) The Office Personnel Management (OPM) earlier this year set up an COVID data dashboard for its employees using a credit card, Python, and an initial cloud buy that can be expanded in the future for more detailed data, according to Akanksha Sharma, senior advisor to the agency’s CIO. One of the challenges at OPM in the early days of the pandemic, said Sharma, was the agency’s facilities management operations team needed to find and aggregate data on the disease’s spread. As the pandemic emerged and spread, that team “was manually scraping data off of the Internet, state and federal government websites about COVID cases,” she said in remarks in a Sept. 23 cloud and infrastructure webcast held by the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service. Read More

Air Force schools embracing lessons from telework during COVID

(Federal News Network) There has been a lot of talk recently about how the military is embracing telework during the coronavirus and will continue to after the pandemic is over, but the Air Force is learning how to better teach its airmen during COVID as well. Lt. Gen. James Hecker, commander and president of Air University, and Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos, commander of Second Air Force, told reporters Monday that virtual training has changed the way the service approaches everything from basic training to intelligence classes. Read More

CIA launches federal lab to support innovative intelligence breakthroughs

(fedscoop)The CIA looks to position itself as a player in the larger federal research and development ecosystem with the creation of its first federal lab. The agency launched CIA Labs officially Monday as “a federal laboratory and in-house research and development arm for CIA to drive science and technology breakthroughs for tomorrow’s intelligence challenges,” it said in a release. Read More

The Two Roles Leaders Must Play in a Crisis

(MIT Sloan) The coronavirus pandemic has already proved to be a litmus test of leadership as organizations around the world fight for their survival under unprecedented circumstances. In such dire straits, managing is in many ways dramatic — that is, it shares the qualities of onstage drama. As sociologist Erving Goffman put it, crisis managers need to present different faces at different times. We often expect leaders to perform in predefined ways: Chief executives should be courageous, for example, and financial controllers conservative. Read More

California Marine unit set to receive first amphibious combat vehicle

(MarineTimes) The first batch of 18 amphibious combat vehicles will be delivered to Marines aboard Twentynine Palms, California, in the next month, according to Marine Corps officials. The eight-wheeled amphibious combat vehicle, or ACV, is set to replace the tracked amphibious assault vehicle that the Corps has been using since Vietnam. The first batch will go to a platoon of Marines with 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, John Garner a program executive with Marine Corps Systems Command told reporters at a media roundtable Tuesday during the Modern Day Marine expo. Read More