NewsBrief: September 8, 2023

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: September 8, 2023

Air Force research arm plans AI prototypes contract for command and control efforts

(NextGov/FCW) The Air Force Research Laboratory is prepping for a new contract to test and prototype artificial intelligence applications that could ultimately strengthen its Joint All Domain Command and Control operations. In an Aug. 31 presolicitation notice, the Air Force’s research and development arm detailed a planned broad agency announcement to develop C2 AI applications that can operate in a distributed and contested environment. “Key to the [Air Force] transitioning from a single monolithic C2 node to multiple distributed C2 nodes is the ability [to] orchestrate operational processes, while optimizing for limited resources,” the notice said. Read More

AFRL’s Digital Security Enterprise Software Streamlines Data for Tracking Personnel With Security Clearances

(Executive Gov) A digital security enterprise platform developed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is showing promise as a primary tool in streamlining data consolidation and processing while safeguarding classified information for the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa. AFRL reported Tuesday that the software known as the Security Enterprise Communication and User Reporting Environment helped the command accurately track foreign travel and contacts to ensure that employees with security clearances were in compliance with reporting requirements. Read More

How NASA, NOAA and AI might save the internet from devastating solar storms

(NextGov/FCW) If you are reading this article on the Nextgov/FCW website, then the good news is that the internet has not been destroyed by a powerful solar storm. But the bad news is that devastating space weather is still in the forecast for us and could be arriving any time over the next couple of years. On the one hand, the scientific community is excited about the approaching solar maximum — the point when the sun’s solar activity is greatest — during which time certain solar activities, as well as events like auroras, will be more easily observable. NASA, for example, has declared a Heliophysics Big Year starting in October and running until December 2024. Read More

Pentagon IG to examine how DoD discovered billions more for Ukraine after ‘valuation errors’

(Breaking Defense) The Pentagon’s inspector general plans to audit the military’s books to make sure everything was above board related to the department’s determination earlier this year that it had essentially discovered $6.2 billion due to “valuation errors” for weapons bound for Ukraine, according to a new IG letter. “The objective of this audit is to determine the extent and impact of the March 2023 estimation change for valuing assets provided under Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), determine whether DoD components followed the current policy when updating the value of items provided to Ukraine through PDA, and assess whether the current PDA valuation policy complies with federal laws and regulations,” the Pentagon’s IG office wrote in a letter dated Sept. 5 and addressed to the Pentagon’s comptroller, along with several of the services’ auditor general offices. Read More

The Space Force needs a brand-new culture of its own

(Government Executive) The nearly-four-year-old Space Force has taken pains to emphasize its uniqueness as a military service, especially vis-à-vis the Air Force. Leaders have introduced new uniforms, organizational structure, fitness test, enlisted ranks, basic training, and professional military education. However, these initiatives are not meaningfully connected to a deeper, organizational culture. Such efforts will succeed only when Space Force leaders understand they are responsible for a new, different type of national security organization—not a military service. The Space Force needs an organizational culture that reflects this reality. Read More

How data models may shape the future of wildfire response

(Government Executive) Last month, destructive wildfires blazed across Maui, Hawaii, killing at least 100 individuals and destroying some 3,200 acres of land. Residents criticized government leaders, especially those within the Maui Emergency Management Agency, for their ineffective response to the wildfire and evacuation. Maui isn’t the only community, however, that has been caught unawares by wildfires. As they increase in frequency and severity, it’ll be even harder for local governments to respond to unpredictable blazes on the fly, said Alexander Maranghides, a fire protection engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST. Plus, a lack of federal, state or local standards on fire management and response can leave communities scrambling with makeshift plans when wildfires hit. Read More

Hubble Space Telescope sees lonely galaxy looming in isolation (photo)

( Observations of IC 1776 suggest the galaxy recently hosted a violent star explosion, also known as a supernova. Data from the Lick Observatory Supernova Search — a robotic telescope that scours the night sky in search of transient phenomena such as supernovas — revealed remnants of the stellar explosion, named SN 2015ap, with observations collected in 2015. Hubble then followed up with observations of the supernova’s aftermath as part of two different projects, both of which were designed to investigate the debris left behind by such stellar explosions. The ESA shared Hubble’s latest view of IC 1776, in which the supernova SN 2015ap occurred, on Sept. 4. Read More

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