News in Brief

Writing advice from 18F, DOD staff changes and a flying motorcycle

The Army is working with Malloy Aeronautics and Survice Engineering to develop full-size prototypes of a Hoverbike that soldiers could use on the battlefield.

18F's 'How to Write 101'

In a July 6 blog post, the General Services Administration's 18F announced a "Content Guide" for agencies.

The goal: making government products readable for the average person.

"This guide helps writers create content that's easy to use and meets citizens where they're at," it opens, violating an age-old grammar rule in appropriately colloquial fashion.

Feds should aim to talk "to" readers rather than "at" them, the guide exhorts, championing brevity, gender-neutral "conscious style" and plain language.

Kill legal jargon and use clear English instead, the guide advocates, though technical terms get a pass. "Where you need to use technical terms, you can," the guide states. "They're not jargon. You just need to explain what they mean the first time you use them."

Pursuing plain language, the guide rejects a host of D.C.'s favorite words, including "collaborate," "innovative" and David Foster Wallace's "noxious puff-word" "utilize."

Carter announces DOD staff changes

Two of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's close associates are moving to different roles at the Pentagon. Eric Fanning, who was Carter's chief of staff, will be acting undersecretary of the Army, while Eric Rosenbach will replace Fanning as chief of staff.

A former Army intelligence officer, Rosenbach served as secretary of Defense for homeland defense and global security and spearheaded the Pentagon cyber strategy that Carter announced in April.

"As the principal architect of DOD's cyber policy, [Rosenbach] has already left a lasting imprint on our military," Carter said in a statement.

Carter also announced a trio of Senior Executive Service appointments.

James Galvin, a former senior project leader at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will be deputy director for portfolio management and outreach at the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Clothilda Taylor will be principal deputy director for administration at AT&L, and Richard Pino will be principal deputy director for command, control, communications, cyber and business systems, and deputy director for command and control programs.

Army developing a 'flying motorcycle' for the battlefield

In a few years, U.S. ground forces could be zipping around battlefields on Hoverbikes that might bring to mind the speeder bikes in "Return of the Jedi," Defense Systems reports.

The Army Research Laboratory recently completed a nine-month feasibility study on using a Hoverbike, which it calls a tactical reconnaissance vehicle, for a variety of purposes, including helping soldiers escape ground threats. Officials said the results were promising.

ARL will work with U.K.-based Hoverbike maker Malloy Aeronautics and Maryland-based defense company Survice Engineering to produce full-size prototypes in the next three to five years.

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.