October 30, 2023

CIA AI chatbot, 20B in satcom awards, CIOSP4 sees surge in protests, WH wants 9.1 billion for broadband, Halloween at parks, ISS, Smithsonian, Capitol


  • From the CIA: Trick-or-Treat the CIA way: Tips for a Halloween spent undercover.

  • History Lesson: Halloween at the White House.

  • Halloween on the Space Station? Here’s how astronauts celebrated last year. (Free, cool NASA Halloween posters for download.)

  • Halloween is a real PITA for poor TSA agents…Try not to travel with swords or fake hand grenades, okay?

  • Spend the night at the Smithsonian, “Night at the Museum” style!

  • Ghost stories at the Capitol: Did you know that the Capitol was supposed to be the final resting spot for Gen. Washington?

  • Federal Employee Halloween Costumes: They’re a thing!

  • From NPS: Park pumpkin carvings challenge, including templates.

Plus we’ve got 10 excellent, interesting Halloween costume ideas in today’s newsletter!


Navy putting AI into practice through low-risk, high-reward uses.

The Navy is putting AI into practice through low-risk, but high-reward test cases. That includes the launch of its first conversational AI program, called Amelia, to answer thousands of help-desk requests in less than a minute. That frees up its IT personnel to handle more pressing matters.
Read more

Navy charts massive transformation in shipboard IT as commercial 5G, satellite links join the fleet.

When it comes to what the Navy can and can’t do while its ships are at sea, one of the biggest considerations is network bandwidth: Right now, everything from operational planning to administrative processes are premised on the fact that vessels are constrained by very narrow data pipes while they’re underway. Halloween costume idea #1 and 2: a navy ship, or floppy disk. Read more.

Only 3D printing can get the Navy’s submarine plan back on track, admiral says.

The Navy must 3D-print more parts if it is to build three submarines per year. Rear Adm. Jonathan Rucker, the Navy’s lead buyer for attack submarines, said additive manufacturing has become essential for meeting construction schedules, and then keeping those new subs operating. Read more.


Defense Contract Awards

  • AN/ALQ-99 jammer contract for U.S. Navy won by CAES.

  • ThayerMahan receives $19M defense contract for maritime-sensing technology.

  • Army extends DCS Operational Support contract with $168M award.

  • CCS Lintech JV won a $86 AF DEAMS Agile Technical Support contract.

  • L3 Applied Tech won a $73M DRTA R&D contract for nuclear work.

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Defense Job Openings




  • Investing in Space: The Pentagon sizes up China’s military strength.

  • CIA’s AI chatbox: It’s here to enhance intelligence operations. Halloween costume idea #4: An AI chatbot.

  • Former principal deputy director of national director, former Secretary of Transportation Department, named to Mitre board.

  • Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp. announces Frontier Technology Inc. to create security facility, creating 200 new jobs.


WH requests $9.1 billion for FCC’s broadband efforts.

The WH is asking for an additional $6 billion to help fund the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and $3.1 billion to fund the removal of outdated communications infrastructure operated by providers. The latter funding would help the agency’s “rip and replace” program that funds the removal of communications equipment and services produced or provided by China-based Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation. Halloween costume idea #4: Utility worker. Read more

Booz Allen views AI and cyber as inherently linked.

Standalone, one-off procurements to acquire AI technologies do not appear to be the primary approach of government buyers looking to use the technology. That is, at least, according to Booz Allen Hamilton's view of the overall landscape. During that firm's fiscal second quarter earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Matt Calderone advised them to take note of "the extent to which AI is now being bundled into large procurements." It is worth noting that McLean, Virginia-headquartered Booz Allen had one of them to tout as a win: The $1.86 billion Thunderdome with DISA. Halloween costume idea #5: Mad Max. Read more

NOAA leverages AI for weather forecast translation.

NOAA unveiled a new use case for artificial intelligence software in the federal government: translating weather forecasts and warnings into other languages. Following years of manual translations, the agency transitioned its series of evolving pilot programs into a mature AI software that translates weather-specific terminology into Spanish and simplified Chinese. Halloween costume idea #6: Meteorologist. Read more


  • CIO-SP4 drives 22% surge in bid protests filed in fiscal year 2023.

  • CBP begins process for IT acquisition.

  • OMB should set office space benchmarks accounting for telework reality, GAO says.

  • Boeing struggles to steer defense unit in another year of losses.

  • NASA’s Voyager gets software tune-up from billions of miles away. Costume idea #7: A NASA vehicle like Voyager or Mars Rover.

  • Legislator endorses guardrails for AI use in elections, considers candidate pledge.

Civilian Contracts Awards

  • FTC Redress Administration BPA award goes to Analytics Consulting, Rust Consulting, Simpluris, JND Holdings, and Epiq.

  • Census Bureau awards $946M Cloud Services BPA.

  • LMI wins $604M CBP recompete for program management and logistics.

  • Protest: DOE HR IT Modernization contract award.

  • Protest: Library of Congress $450M Agile System Development Support contract.

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Civilian Job Openings


L3Harris gets deeper into the supply chain with Aerojet in its fold.

L3Harris Technologies entered the solid rocket motor, engine and munitions product lines this summer through its $4.7B acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne. That means L3Harris also now has more visibility into a supply chain network already stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic's disruptions, plus a demand landscape and world events that bring up questions regarding GovCon industrial capacity. Read more


What are some weird lawsuits involving Halloween?

Costumes set on fire, injuries at a haunted house, nasty neighborhood decoration fights, and corn mazes gone awry….Even our Supreme Court Justices have gone “ghoulish” in their narrative options. Have chuckle at these real-life stories! Costume idea #8: Supreme Court Justice. Read these stories | Even more stories

What are the most haunted federal buildings and parks?

The Capitol Building is haunted by a ghost cat, but several people have died at the Capitol, leading the halls to be considered one of the most haunted on the Hill. And of course the White House has its share of famous ghosts, such as Dolley Madison in the Garden. Other haunted locations include Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Garnet Ghost Town, and the Smithsonian Castle. Costume idea #9: Dolley Madison.  Read more

Did the Salem Witch Trials have any impact on the way the modern day American legal system is structured?

In early 1692, several girls in the colonial Massachusetts village of Salem began exhibiting strange symptoms, including twitching, barking, and complaining of being pinched or pricked by invisible pins. The afflicted girls soon accused several local women of bewitching them, beginning a flood of accusations that threw Salem and the surrounding areas into full-blown hysteria. The real-life court case of the Salem Witches impacted our current legal system, such as the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the inadmissibility of hearsay evidence, and the right for the accused to be represented by counsel. Costume idea #10: One of the Salem Witches. Read more

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