NASA is expected to make a major announcement this week regarding a discovery by the Kepler space telescope. Google artificial intelligence technology aided in the discovery.
The Defense Department is commencing its first full audit. "Although I do not anticipate a clean opinion initially, I do anticipate that the audit will help us to improve our financial management processes and direct our efforts to the highest-priority areas," writes DOD comptroller David Norquist.
Over Pentagon objections, Congress passed a short-term continuing resolution Thursday, keeping the government open through Dec. 22. "Nothing's had a greater impact on combat readiness than CRs," Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said. "At a time where security threats are high, we really do need the predictability in the budget, certainty that we don't have with CRs."
The Pentagon's time frame for major procurements needs to be cut in half from two years to 12 months, according to Ellen Lord, acquisition chief of the Defense Department. Sen. John McCain of the Senate Armed Services Committee called the current program, which doesn't allow weapon-makers a rapid order pace, a "system of organized irresponsibility."
Japan's military forces want to modernize using the US Foreign Military Sales mechanism, and defense representatives from that country and the US recently met to tackle "problems related to FMS procurement." Streamlining the administrative processes was the primary objective.
Amid increasing security threats in East Asia, Japan will be purchasing long-range missiles for the first time. "We will implement stand-off missiles capable of defending ourselves adequately, when we are outside the range of the opponent, in order to ensure the safety of the Self Defense Force and to defend our nation effectively," Itsunori Onodera, the country's defense minister, said.
Army Secretary Mark Esper wants to cut in half the Army's capability-delivery timeline, under which acquisitions can take as long as 15 years. He hopes "to get it back to where it used to be" -- about five to seven years -- as a starting point.
Part of Boeing's growth stems from millions of people who are traveling for the first time, resulting in a direct increase in aircraft production to meet demand, CEO Dennis Muilenburg said. "Less than 20% of the world's population has ever taken a single flight," he said.
House aviation subcommittee members want US regulators to continue to cooperate with the aircraft industry as commercial drones play a more prominent role in aviation. "We are seeing industry and government work closely together toward the common goal of UAS integration and keeping the United States ahead of the rest of the world in the development and integration of this new aviation technology," Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., said.
Boeing chief Dennis Muilenburg believes his company, not SpaceX, will be the first to carry humans to Mars. Boeing is the primary contractor for the initial stage of NASA's Space Launch System, which is being developed to send astronauts on missions into deep space via the Orion spacecraft.