News in Brief

Trinity returns, DCS debuts, senators back IGs and DOD metrics

DOD users have until May 30 to switch to the new cloud-based collaboration tool that will replace Defense Connect Online.

A new Trinity at Los Alamos

Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories took possession of the initial hardware for the Trinity exascale supercomputer project that will run extremely complex nuclear simulations for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

NNSA officials said in a blog post that three test beds for Trinity were delivered (two to Los Alamos and one to Sandia) as part of the New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale.

NNSA manages the Trinity joint effort as part of the Advanced Simulation and Computing Program. The agency said Trinity will be used by Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia and will be optimized to run the largest and most demanding nuclear weapons simulations without having to resort to physical underground testing.

Officials said Trinity's application performance is at least eight times greater than Cielo, NNSA's current supercomputer at Los Alamos.

The Trinity site in New Mexico is where the first atomic bomb was tested on July 16, 1945.

DOD moving to new collaboration platform

The Defense Department is in the final stages of moving to a cloud-based collaboration tool and is giving DOD users three months to switch to the new system, Defense Systems reported.

The current service, Defense Connect Online, has allowed DOD users to communicate and share information securely via instant messaging, low-bandwidth text chat and Web-based conferencing.

But DOD will shut down DCO in late June and replace it with a system called Defense Collaboration Services. Users are being advised to move to DCS no later than May 30.

Senate bill would empower IGs

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation that would give inspectors general more authority to subpoena contractors and former federal employees and probe computer files without first checking with agency leaders.

The bill would also limit the ability of the president and agency heads to place IGs on indefinite administrative leave. It is sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and backed by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), ranking member of the committee's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

"For years now we have heard from inspectors general about what they need to do their work well, and this week, inspectors general testified in front of our committee on the ways that agencies and overly burdensome legislation continue to prevent or delay their investigations," Johnson said in a prepared statement. "We should not delay any longer."

DOD slow to set metrics for major IT programs

An audit of 20 Defense Department major automated information systems (MAIS) programs found that a majority of them didn’t have cost and performance metrics in place within two years of the program's launch.

The two-year time frame is recommended by the Defense Science Board, but the Government Accountability Office study found that 12 of 20 programs spent an average of five years and two months, and $452 million, prior to establishing baselines for life-cycle cost, scheduling and performance targets.

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