NewsBrief: September 29, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: September 29, 2023

Pentagon declares second Nunn-McCurdy cost breach for F-15 electronic warfare kit

( Breaking Defense ) A new electronic warfare kit for the Boeing F-15 fighter jet incurred its second “significant” cost breach due to a decision to slash its procurement, according to a new Defense Department report. The breach was triggered specifically by the Air Force’s decision to cut its planned purchase of Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) kits from 217 to just 99 to go on F-15E fighter jets, matching a planned downsizing of the fleet. That 118-kit reduction resulted in what’s known as a Nunn-McCurdy breach, as the per-unit cost of the kits jumped since their overall price, including R&D, will be spread over fewer units. Read More

DOD to Establish AI Battle Labs in EUCOM, INDOPACOM

( U.S. Department of Defense ) Two BRAVO AI Battle Labs will be established at U.S. European Command and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in collaboration with the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office’s Algorithmic Warfare Directorate and the Defense Innovation Unit, to expedite learning from Department of Defense (DOD) data. Over the next year, the labs will organize multiple U.S. federal government-wide BRAVO Hackathons, including some with coalition partners. “BRAVO Hackathons represent an opportunity for DoD to practice and proliferate the fundamentals of user-centered design and agile software development,” said Joe Larson, the Defense Department’s Deputy Chief Digital and AI Officer for Algorithmic Warfare. Read More

Energy Department working on preliminary generative AI initiatives

( FedScoop ) The Department of Energy is working on a pair of projects related to generative artificial intelligence, Energy CIO Ann Dunkin told FedScoop in a recent interview. These initiatives, which are still in development, include a user guide focused on how the technology correlates with the department’s existing IT guidelines as well as an AI Discovery Zone “sandbox” for working with these systems. Both initiatives are focused on generative AI, said Dunkin, and come as other federal agencies wrestle with how to deploy, and monitor, these kinds of systems, which include OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard tools. Read More

‘An ocean of fraud.’ Industry offers biometrics and data exploitation solutions after sweeping COVID-19 fraud

( FedScoop ) As the federal government tries to grapple with just how much money was lost to fraud during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, industry leaders believe advances in identity verification and biometrics technology and data protection could prevent it from happening again in the future. The House Committee on Small Businesses hosted a hearing Wednesday morning with private-sector leaders to discuss recovering stolen pandemic loan funds and establishing safeguards against digital fraud in the event of another national emergency. Read More

Unleashing the power of AI to track animal behavior

( Science Daily ) Movement offers a window into how the brain operates and controls the body. From clipboard-and-pen observation to modern artificial intelligence-based techniques, tracking human and animal movement has come a long way. Current cutting-edge methods utilize artificial intelligence to automatically track parts of the body as they move. However, training these models is still time-intensive and limited by the need for researchers to manually mark each body part hundreds to thousands of times. Now, Associate Professor Eiman Azim and team have created GlowTrack, a non-invasive movement tracking method that uses fluorescent dye markers to train artificial intelligence. Read More

How to Have Better Strategy Conversations About Monetizing Data

( MIT Sloan Management Review ) Companies can’t manage what they don’t measure. They also can’t manage what they can’t discuss. Take the term data monetization: Definitions range from the narrowly focused “selling data sets” to the overly broad “creating benefits from data.” Too little consistency among curricula in academia and too much siloed business thought leadership only add to the proliferation of data babel. When leaders try to have productive conversations about a data monetization strategy within a complex business environment, they often reach an impasse. They need a simple, common language to break through. Read More

Reminder: Standard Per Diem Lodging Rate Rising

( FedWeek ) Effective with the start of fiscal year 2024 on October 1, the standard lodgings rate for federal travel destinations without their own rates will rise from $98 to $107 while the rates for some destinations with their own rates also will increase. Lodgings rates vary for what will be 302 destinations in fiscal 2024; in some, those rates vary seasonally, as well. Two destinations will gain specific rates—Huntsville, Ala., and Charles Town, W.Va.—while 16 destinations previously with their own rates will move into the standard category. Read More

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