FAA conducting a pilot program that doesn’t include human pilot

In today's Federal Newscast: The FAA is conducting a pilot program that does not include a human pilot. The Defense Department wants to know what creates risk f...

  • The Partnership for Public Service's Best Places to Work ceremony highlighted some of the most successful federal agencies in the 2022 rankings. The Small Business Administration's engagement score increased six points, distinguishing the agency from largely declining results. Communication with employees is key, said SBA Chief Human Capital Officer Elias Hernandez. "We take the feedback of our employees and we make modifications based on that feedback," Hernandez said. "The key thing is for us to always communicate back to the employees that we are listening to their information." SBA also moved up to sixth place in the Best Places to Work rankings for midsize agencies.
  • A much-needed fix is coming to the SAM.gov platform. The General Services Administration is close to rolling out a solution to a problem that has plagued the entity validation service over the last year. GSA said coming later this month it will roll out a software change that will solve the challenge many businesses have been facing that caused delays in their validations. The problem stemmed from changes to certain minor punctuations like periods or commas, as well as abbreviations in a businesses name or address. GSA said these minor changes resulted in a mismatch between an entity's name in SAM.gov and the agency's multiple award schedule systems. GSA is encouraging all contractors to validate their SAM.gov registrations before the fix is implemented.
  • The Defense Department has finished writing its first detailed plan on how it intends to embrace modern software development practices. But the plan is several months late, and members of the public can’t see the details. Defense officials said Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks signed the full software modernization implementation two weeks ago, but so far, DoD has only released a short executive summary. The plan was supposed to have been finished and published last August. The announcement that it’s now been signed comes a week after the Government Accountability Office published a report that critiqued the department for not providing many specifics on exactly how it plans to modernize its software practices.
  • The State Department is looking to make cybersecurity and emerging tech a greater part of its diplomatic mission. The department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy plans to put a trained cyber and digital officer in every embassy around the world by the end of next year. In an effort to elevate these skills across the diplomatic workforce, the Foreign Service this week created a new skill code for its personnel who work on cyber, digital and emerging tech issues. Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy Nathaniel Fick said cyber and emerging tech have cross-cutting implications for other Foreign Service policy areas, and could someday be a core competency for many senior leadership roles.
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is pushing for agencies to test the security of the cell network used by first responders. Wyden is calling on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Security Agency to conduct or commission annual security audits of the “FirstNet” system. FirstNet is run by AT&T under a federal contract, and it’s used by law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and other public safety officials. But Wyden said the network is susceptible to the same security flaws as commercial cell networks. He also said a CISA official had previously expressed a lack of confidence in the security of FirstNet, due in part to a lack of security testing.
  • The FAA is conducting a pilot program that doesn't include a human pilot. The administration plans on demonstrating a highly automated flight control system to deliver supplies to remote areas in Alaska. In partnership with the FAA designated University of Alaska Fairbanks UAS Test Site and Everts Air Cargo, the FAA hired Merlin under a $1 million contract to test out the first autonomy system integrated into the National Airspace System. Flight trials will run along three test routes serving five destinations. All test routes will originate from the FAA designated UAS Alaska test site later this year.
  • The Defense Department wants to know what creates risk factors for military families, as it launches a new survey this week to look at stress points in the military career lifecycle. It's meant to identify risk factors associated with domestic abuse and its impact on military housing, children’s education and the overall health of military families. Some 300,000 service members and 100,000 military spouses will receive an email inviting them to complete the web-based survey. The RAND National Defense Research Institute will conduct the study for the Pentagon.
  • A group of former Pentagon officials say they have solutions for not only speeding up the defense acquisition process, but implementing it in the fiscal 2024 budget. The Atlantic Council’s Commission on Defense Innovation Adoption released a report on Wednesday, with a list of 10 ways the DoD can immediately modernize acquisition. The commission wants the government to modernize SAM.gov so it's easier to use and functions more like a search engine. The group also advocates for modernizing the requirements system and creating incentives for tech companies to work with DoD.
  • The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to use psychology to thwart cyber hackers. IARPA released a new Broad Agency Announcement this week seeking proposals for the Reimagining Security with Cyberpsychology-Informed Network Defenses program. The ReSCIND effort aims to improve cyber defenses by leveraging an attacker’s human limitations, such as innate decision-making biases and cognitive vulnerabilities. The 45-month, three-phase program will kick off later this year. Proposals are due by May 26.
  • The top Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee said the VA isn’t doing enough to fire employees accused of misconduct. Committee Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.), along with Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-Calif.), said the VA hasn’t removed a supervisor at a medical center in Loma Linda, California after years of allegations that the employee created a hostile work environment. The lawmakers said the VA substantiated these claims and that its Administrative Investigations Board recommended firing the employee. The lawmakers are asking the VA if it has the authority it needs to fire poor-performing employees.

Copyright © 2024 Federal News Network. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Related Stories