News in Brief

New job for Norton, plus updates on drones and data breach legislation

Rear Adm. Nancy Norton

Rear Adm. Nancy Norton

Rear Adm. Norton heads to Warfare Integration

Rear Adm. Nancy Norton, a 2015 Federal 100 winner, is leaving Pacific Command to be director of the Warfare Integration Directorate, where she will serve under the deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance.

Norton is currently director of command, control, communications and cyber at Pacific Command. She has helped lead the Joint Capability Technology Demonstration, an IT architecture that is becoming the foundation for how combatant commands participate in Defense Department-wide IT initiatives, she said in a recent interview.

House panel unveils draft of data breach bill

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a draft of the Data Security and Breach Notification Act, which seeks to create a single national standard for notifying consumers whose information has been compromised in a hack.

The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), overrides the patchwork of state rules covering the conditions for notifying compromised individuals and the time frame for doing so.

Two senior Democrats on the committee are not backing the bill. In a joint statement, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said the legislation weakens consumer protections and does not provide solutions to the harm caused by data breaches.

The Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee plans to take up the legislation during a March 18 hearing.

New tool tested to monitor drones

Researchers at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have tested a ground-based sense-and-avoid radar system designed to identify small aerial drones in a specific airspace.

Officials at the university's Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation said the equipment could be used in areas where many drones are coming and going, such as a package delivery hub. As one of six federally designated test sites for unmanned aircraft, the center is conducting research for the Federal Aviation Administration aimed at integrating unmanned aerial systems into U.S. airspace.

The test on March 4 and 6 used a catapult-launched American Aerospace RS-16 with a wingspan of almost 13 feet and a maximum weight of 85 pounds. It assessed the radar's ability to determine whether non-test aircraft or birds had entered the test area.

The exercise involved working closely with a variety of stakeholders, including aircraft operating in and around the airport, the Navy, the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and FAA air traffic control.

FBI wants broader use of NGI

The FBI is encouraging other federal and local agencies to use the iris identification capabilities in its Next Generation Identification (NGI) system.

Jim Loudermilk, a senior level technologist at the bureau, said the FBI began assembling a trial database of iris images in 2012 as part of the NGI effort and is now testing the use of iris scans to track criminals. He made his comments during a panel discussion at AFCEA's Homeland Security Conference on March 11.

However, Loudermilk added that the iris scans are probably more valuable to local law enforcement agencies conducting routine criminal and background checks than they are to FBI crime investigators.

"How many irises do you find at crime scenes?" he quipped.

Local law enforcement agencies already use the NGI system's fingerprint database for background and criminal checks, and Loudermilk said the iris-scanning capabilities have been particularly interesting to officials at prison systems, where they can be used to precisely identify prisoners.

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