News in Brief

Tech panels, IoT caucus, a Marine at DIA and CNN’s drones

Comstock tapped to lead key tech subcommittee

Freshman Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) has been named chairwoman of the Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House's Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Comstock is no stranger to Capitol Hill or technology issues. She was a key aide to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who held the 10th District seat for more than 30 years, and she served as chairwoman of the Science and Technology Committee in the Virginia House of Delegates.

The House subcommittee has jurisdiction over a range of technology issues and much of the work conducted by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Issa, DelBene launch Internet of Things Caucus

The possibilities for interactive appliances appear endless, from smart thermostats to self-driving cars to refrigerators that email you when the milk is running low. Likewise, the Internet of Things phenomenon has sparked a range of responses from fears of hacked washing machines to privacy concerns and questions about policy gaps in data use and spectrum.

Now Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) have banded together to launch the Congressional Internet of Things Caucus to provide a forum for policy discussions about the new technology.

"It's critical that lawmakers remain educated about the fast-paced evolution of the Internet of Things and have informed policy discussions about the government's role in access and use of these devices," Issa said in a statement.

DIA to get first Marine director

Maj. Gen. Vincent Stewart will be the next director of the Defense Intelligence Agency starting Jan. 23, the Pentagon’s spy agency announced.

Stewart was most recently commander of the Marine Forces Cyber Command and before that was director of intelligence at Marine Corps headquarters. He will be the first Marine to lead DIA.

David Shedd has served as acting director since Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn stepped down in August. Last month, the agency promoted Janice Glover-Jones from deputy CIO to CIO.

FAA teams up with CNN on drone project

The Federal Aviation Administration signed a technology-sharing agreement with CNN to learn more about how unmanned aerial vehicles can be safely integrated into U.S. airspace for specific applications.

The news company said it has entered into a cooperative research and development agreement (CRDA) with the FAA to advance efforts to integrate UAVs into newsgathering and reporting.

CRDAs offer the FAA a way to facilitate the sharing of information among federal laboratories, industry and academia about technologies, personnel, facilities, methods, expertise and technical information in general.

Under a CRDA, the agency can provide anything but money to collaborating partners, which include engineers, scientists, professional or clerical personnel; facilities and equipment (especially facilities that can't be found in industry and are necessary to the testing and development of aviation technology); and any other resources, with or without reimbursement.

According to CNN, the arrangement will integrate efforts from its existing research partnership with the Georgia Tech Research Institute. CNN, GTRI and the FAA have already begun coordinating efforts.

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