NewsBrief September 3, 2021

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: September 3, 2021

Strong Growth Expected in Federal IT Spending

(National Defense) Federal government spending on information technology has been on the rise, a trend that analysts expect to continue under President Joe Biden. For fiscal year 2022, the White House requested an IT topline of $109.4 billion — the highest ever, according to experts at Bloomberg Government. That includes $58.4 billion for civilian programs, $38.6 billion for Defense Department unclassified programs and an estimated $12.4 billion for the Pentagon’s classified programs. The Pentagon’s request for IT for unclassified programs is 7.5 percent higher than the projected funding for 2021, and 2.3 percent higher than previously forecasted for 2022. Read More

Hicks says DOD will take ‘meaningful action’ to remove barriers for small contractors

(fedscoop) The Department of Defense is working with the White House and other agencies including the Small Business Administration to create more opportunities for small businesses to join federal contracting vehicles, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said Wednesday. Small companies still face major challenges when bidding on military technology contracts, but the DOD will do more to streamline the process, Hicks said during a speech at the 30th Annual Pennsylvania Showcase on Commerce. “I realize that doing business with the DOD is not always easy. Because of our unique security requirements and procurement practices, we can be a challenging customer,” Hicks said. Read More

GAO will release report on pandemic cyber, expand reviews to include supply chain in near future

(Federal News Network) The Government Accountability Office is planning to release a report in early fiscal 2022 about the cybersecurity impacts of technologies adopted in response to the pandemic. When government agencies shifted to mass telework, that presented a whole host of new challenges for IT personnel who weren’t used to having the majority of their endpoints outside traditional network boundaries, and catalyzed the current push to adopt zero trust. “I can’t discuss the findings of the report necessarily,” said Jennifer Franks, director of IT & Cybersecurity at GAO, during an August 31 FedInsider webinar. “But it was obvious to us that the threat surface had indeed expanded for these agencies, with more employees working remotely. And that this was a risk agencies were willing to indeed accept to maintain the health and safety of their employees, among other reasons, during the pandemic.” Read More

White House launches US Digital Corps

(fedscoop) The White House launched a two-year fellowship Monday designed to place early-career software engineers, data scientists and other technologists at federal agencies. Dubbed the U.S. Digital Corps, participants will improve IT service delivery in relation to the federal coronavirus response, economic recovery, cybersecurity and agencies’ individual missions. The Day One Project proposed the fellowship back in December as a way to eventually recruit thousands of recent graduates across technical fields, in what could become the Biden-Harris version of President John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps or President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, said Nick Sinai, former federal deputy chief technology officer under President Obama. Read More

FDA Working on New Way to Approve AI and ML Software in Medical Devices

(aitrends) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February issued an AI and Machine Learning Software as a Medical Device Action Plan, outlining the way forward for manufacturers seeking the agency’s approval for their innovative medical devices incorporating AI. “Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies have the potential to transform health care by deriving new and important insights from the vast amount of data generated during the delivery of health care every day,” state the report authors at the outset. Read More

These Four Challenges In Adopting Machine Learning Can Lower Your ROI And Sabotage Success

(Forbes) By this point, machine learning isn’t some pie-in-the-sky solution. However, there are accurate, measurable results to leverage this technology across organizations. A few good use cases are as follows: UPS saves 10 million gallons of fuel and $50 million each year because of their algorithm-powered Orion (on-road integrated optimization and navigation) platform. With their dynamic parceling processes, they’re on track to save even more. Read More

Using Machine Learning to Help Track Bolides (Really Bright Meteors)

(SETI Institute) Bolides are bright fireballs (although not all fireballs are bolides), incredibly bright flashes of light emitted when a large meteoroid or asteroid enters Earth’s atmosphere and explodes. Until recently, there hasn’t been an effective way to identify and track bolides. Most enter Earth’s atmosphere over oceans, which means ground-based observatories don’t detect them. Further, bolide events are rapid, maybe on 2/10s of a second. As a result, historically, only about a dozen or so bolide events have been detected per year. Read More

US Navy tests second-stage rocket motor for hypersonic weapon

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy has conducted a second-stage solid rocket motor test for a hypersonic weapon in development, the service announced Aug. 26. The Navy deemed the Aug. 25 test in Promontory, Utah, a success, which included firing the first-stage rocket motor. The event also put the thrust vector control system on the missile booster to the test. The event is another step toward the fielding of a Navy and Army co-designed common hypersonic missile. The Navy and Army will each take the missile’s glide body and tailor it for sea-launched and ground-launched use. Read More

Cutting-Edge Science Launches on NASA’s SpaceX Cargo Resupply Mission

(NASA) The latest SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft is bound for the International Space Station after launching at 3:14 a.m. EDT Sunday on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying more than 4,800 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and spacecraft hardware. The cargo Dragon, launched on SpaceX’s 23rd Commercial Resupply Services mission, is scheduled to autonomously dock at the station around 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 30, and will remain at the station for about a month. NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough will monitor arrival of the spacecraft. Coverage of the arrival will begin at 9:30 a.m. on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.Read More

Quantum crystal could reveal the identity of dark matter

( Using a quirk of quantum mechanics, researchers have created a beryllium crystal capable of detecting incredibly weak electromagnetic fields. The work could one day be used to detect hypothetical dark matter particles called axions. The researchers created their quantum crystal by trapping 150 charged beryllium particles or ions using a system of electrodes and magnetic fields that helped overcome their natural repulsion for each other, Ana Maria Rey, an atomic physicist at JILA, a joint institute between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado Boulder, told Live Science. Read More