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.

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