GovConJudicata Weekly Debrief (4/11–15)
This week's Weekly Debrief covers threats to space-based systems, NASA's continued embrace of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, moon mining and satellite collisions, VA soft-testing AI, and equity action plans.
"Threats to space-based systems, from navigation to communications, are increasing, defense intelligence officials warn. Officials from the Defense Intelligence Agency said there's been a "dramatic" increase in the pace and scope of operations since 2019 primarily from China and Russia, but also North Korea and Iran."
"NASA’s embrace of reused rockets continued with an agreement this month to switch the upcoming launch of an Earth science satellite from a new to a previously flown Falcon 9, a change whose full terms remain proprietary. A contract modification published April 6 for the agency’s NASA Launch Services 2 contract with SpaceX changes the upcoming launch of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite from a new Falcon 9 booster to a previously flown own. The contract modification did not explain that change."
"Outer space is becoming increasingly militarized as China, Russia, the United States and other countries continue to vie for dominance in the domain and even consider mining off-planet assets. The Defense Department identified it’s two biggest competitors, along with increasing congestion in the area just outside the Earth’s atmosphere as some of the largest threats to the United States’ space interests."
"The Department of Veterans Affairs is soft-testing an open-source artificial intelligence tool that agency technology leaders are hoping could improve the diagnostic process for veterans with skin cancer. The new tool is intended to help staff identify whether a patient’s skin lesion may be cancerous without patients needing to return for a second appointment. Veterans in rural areas across the U.S. often have to drive up to 90 miles for each medical appointment."
"The General Services Administration is making federal procurement a key focus of its first-ever equity action plan, aiming to increase investments in small disadvantaged businesses as the White House seeks to address systemic issues impacting underserved communities."
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