News in Brief

Drones, DCGS and a GPO promotion

drone stock art

Amazon takes drones to Canada for testing

After voicing concerns over sluggish U.S. policy for testing drone technology, Amazon revealed it is testing the unmanned aerial systems just over the U.S. border in Canada.

The online retail giant has been frustrated by what it sees as plodding U.S. efforts to accommodate drones in commercial airspace. Paul Misener, the company's vice president of global public policy, told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Aviation Subcommittee last week that his company has already been flight testing its Prime Air drone-borne delivery service in multiple locations overseas. Misener told the panel that even though the Federal Aviation Administration granted flight approval for one of its test drones, that model had become technically obsolete waiting for that approval.

One of the international locations the company has chosen to test its delivery drone technology, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper, is at a secret site in British Columbia. The company has assembled a team of roboticists, software engineers, aeronautics experts and pioneers in remote sensing -- including a former NASA astronaut.

Amazon wants to eventually deploy lightweight delivery drones that operate between 200 feet and 500 feet, where general aviation begins. The FAA has been tasked with coming up with plans to safely integrating drones into U.S. airspace.

AP: Military commanders clinging to Army intelligence system

Requests by U.S. soldiers to use private intelligence software have been overruled by commanders who favor a troubled Army intelligence system, the Associated Press reported.

Of six requests made by Army special operations units for software made by Palantir over the last four months, just two have been approved, according to the AP report. The story cited emails and military records it said showed Army and special operations command officials have urged troops to use the Distributed Common Ground System-Army over Palantir software.

DCGS-A is a $5 billion program that has been dogged by delays and criticism from Capitol Hill. In August 2012, about four months before DCGS-A was approved for full deployment, the Army Test and Evaluation Command deemed the system effective only "with significant limitations, not suitable and not survivable."

GPO promotes Hall

Longtime employee Laurie Hall was named managing director of the Government Publishing Office's Library Services and Content Management Department. Hall has been with GPO since 1985.

Hall was serving as acting director. She previously was director of Library Technical Information Services at GPO.

She will oversee the Federal Depository Library Program, the Cataloging and Indexing Program, the International Exchange Service, and the By-Law Program.

Prior to arriving at GPO, Hall worked in a variety of corporate, public and academic libraries.

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