News in Brief

Hires at USDA and AT&L, and drone delivery arrives

New USDA CIO Jonathan Alboum has a wide range of experience in government and industry.

Alboum named CIO at USDA

Jonathan Alboum was named CIO at the Agriculture Department. He replaces Cheryl Cook, who retired in March. Joyce Hunter had been interim CIO for the past three months.

Alboum will assume the CIO duties on June 29, according to USDA.

"I welcome Jonathan into his new role as chief information officer, where his vast experience in formulating IT strategies, policies and initiatives will help USDA continue to modernize its tools and resources, innovate our digital services, improve the way we deliver results and technology to our many customers, and protect USDA's IT assets and information," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

Alboum has a lengthy resume with the federal government. He has held several positions at the General Services Administration and was CIO position at USDA's Food and Nutrition Service. Before joining the government, Alboum worked as a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ventera.

AT&L office gets another acquisition hand

The Defense Department has named Claire Grady director of defense procurement and acquisition policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Grady was previously the Coast Guard’s deputy assistant commandant for acquisition and director of acquisition services.

She has also served as director of strategic initiatives in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer and has held numerous positions at the Naval Sea Systems Command, which her Coast Guard bio describes as “one of the federal government’s largest and most complex acquisition organizations.”

Drone delivery takes to the sky

Australian drone startup Flirtey will beat Amazon to the punch by being the first to use aerial drones to deliver products in the U.S.

The company, based in Sydney, retweeted June 18 Australian news reports about the Federal Aviation Administration's approval of its first product-delivery flight, which will take place on July 17 in Wise, Va., in partnership with NASA and Virginia Tech.

The reports said two unmanned aerial systems will deliver as many as 24 packages of pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies to a free clinic in the area to illustrate how aerial drones can deliver urgent supplies in a quick, efficient and cost-effective manner.

The company's delivery drone is a hexacopter fashioned from carbon fiber, aluminum and 3D-printed parts to be lightweight and durable. Each vehicle has a range of more than 15 miles and lowers its cargo via tether, according to the company.

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