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NASA Conducts CubeSat Optical Comms Link Experiment

NASA carried out a laser communications pointing test through two deployed CubeSats from space. The satellites recorded a flash of light from a laser communications platform aboard the Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration spacecraft with a short-wavelength infrared camera within the CubeSat Multispectral Observation System payload, the agency said Wednesday.

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NASA Funding Two Additional Space Habitat Research Institutes

NASA will allocate up to $15 million for each of the two new Space Technology Research Institutes to aid studies for sustaining human presence on the Moon and Mars, the agency said on Tuesday. The university-led and multidisciplinary “smart habitat” institutes will support other NASA research initiatives and receive funding from the Space Technology Mission Directorate over a five-year period. 

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U.S. Navy Successfully Completes Developmental Testing of ‘Q-20C Towed Minehunting Sonar

The U.S. Navy concluded developmental tests for a towed sonar designed to track mines underwater. The AN/AQS-20C sonar system detects and categorizes close-tethered, bottom, moored and volume moored mines through the use of electro-optic and acoustic sensory functions, Naval Sea Systems Command said Monday.

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Air Force Lists Six Potential Bases for US Space Command

A U.S. Air Force memorandum named four Colorado bases and two Alabama and California locations as the potential candidates for the U.S. Space Command’s new headquarters, CNN reported Saturday. According to the memo obtained by CNN, the recently established combatant command may be housed at Buckley Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain AFB, Peterson AFB or Schriever AFB in Colorado. Other potential locations include Vanderberg AFB in California and the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. 

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IRS Accelerating Contracting Compliance Process With New Automation Tool

The Internal Revenue Service plans to launch by the end of June an automation tool designed to help contracting officers reduce the time spent on a vendor compliance procedure from hours to minutes, Nextgov reported Monday. The IRS started a pilot test of a bot that works to help contracting officers speed up a compliance process - contractor responsibility determination - that screens vendors for red flags such as business prohibitions and past bankruptcies.

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Mark Nehmer: AI Can Resolve Background Investigation Issues

Mark Nehmer, technical director for the Defense Security Service’s National Background Investigative Services, said that artificial intelligence can significantly help government officials in conducting background investigations, the Department of Defense said Monday. Nehmer told attendees at a Nextgov event held on March 29 in Arlington Va., that AI can quicken the pace of investigations, resolve understaffing issues, decrease case backlog and mitigate a “Snowden-like event” or instances of government leaks. 

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Microsoft Develops Reality Headset for Army Training, Battlefield Tactics

Microsoft is working on a modified version of its reality-based HoloLens 2 headset designed to support the U.S. Army’s military training and combat missions, CNBC reported Saturday. Work on the integrated visual augmentation system is part of a potential two-year, $480M contract the Army awarded to Microsoft in November.

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Army Puts Focus on Protecting Military Bases from Cyber Attacks

The Army Cyber Command is increasing its focus on defending facilities and infrastructures that play a vital role in military installations, Fifth Domain reported Friday. The command wants to transition cyber teams from tasks focused on threat actors, defense and incident response to responsibilities to protect industrial control systems and supervisory control and data acquisition.

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DARPA Unveils Three-Day Annual Electronics Summit

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will hold an annual event intending to grow the creation of a secure, specialized and autonomous electronics industry. The Electronics Resurgence Initiative Summit seeks to gather the electronics sector and provide organizations an avenue to assess technical progress, demonstrate their technologies and share their inputs for potential research pathways, DARPA said Friday.

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