Good morning tech

Executive Notes

Customs looking for a few good men, remote-control aircraft experience a plus. The increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles at the U.S. border has left the government with yet another personnel shortage: pilots to control the vehicles. According to Customs, there is fierce competition among the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon and the private sector for pilots with experience of controlling aircraft remotely. Customs received funding to hire 24 pilots in fiscal 2009, but only a handful had previous experience with the unmanned vehicles. "The limits aren't related to the aircraft right now. It's really the pilots — the manned portion" of the program, said Maj. Gen. Michael Kostelnik, assistant commissioner of Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Office.

Howard Schmidt uses cyber meeting to tout progress, Obama drops by unexpectedly. White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt held a meeting at the White House Wednesday where roughly 150 industry leaders and cybersecurity stakeholders met to receive an update on the administration's progress since it released its Cyber Space Policy Review one year ago. Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, told FedNewsRadio he sees two major changes: the establishment of the new Cyber Command and a shift away from measuring cybersecurity compliance at agencies periodically via audits towards to continuous monitoring. Paller said President Obama also stopped by and spoke to the gathering, explaining how he was shocked upon taking office at how little had been done about cybersecurity. Internet Security Alliance President Larry Clinton, who was also in attendance, told Hillicon Valley that the most telling comment he heard from the president related to how the interconnected nature of the Internet would make it difficult to regulate cybersecurity. Clinton said industry believes the same thing, which is why the government must be creative in creating market incentives to encourage companies to improve their network security while also raising the cost of attacks.

Pentagon ready to test thought-controlled prosthetic arm on humans. Wired's Danger Room reports that Pentagon-backed scientists are preparing to test thought-controlled prosthetic arms on human subjects by rewiring their brains to fully integrate the artificial limbs. According to the article this will be the first time a human brain is implanted with a neural interface that is then used to operate an artificial limb. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded a team of scientists at Johns Hopkins a $34.5 million contract to manage the next stages of the project. Within two years the scientists expect to test the prosthetics in five patients.


JONATHAN COLLEGIO was hired as communications director for American Crossroads, a conservative fundraising group. He was formerly vice president of strategic initiatives at the National Association of Broadcasts. (Potomac Flacks)

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council has some heavy-hitters coming to its conference on July 19 and 20. FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI and all five FCC commissioners will appear. So will National Cable and Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow, National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith, former top FCC broadband advisor Blair Levin, Rural Utilities Service administrator and former FCC Commissioner Robert Adelstein, and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). (Broadcasting & Cable)

Secretary of Energy STEVEN CHU will be in Kokomo, Ind., to highlight a Recovery Act investment in a battery and electric drive component plant being built by Delphi Automotive Systems. Delphi received an $89.3 million grant from the Department of Energy to build the $178.6 million power electronics manufacturing facility, which is expected to create or save 190 jobs when it hits full production in 2014.


"The English language is something that will never be permanent and will be changed by technology."

—Anthony Burke, a digital consultant at Toronto-based WSI Marketing on the increasing proliferation of Web-speak in everyday conversation. (NextGov)


10 a.m. — HHS meeting via teleconference and webcast of the privacy and security team, held by the office of the national coordinator for Health IT.


ADDING YOUR 2 CENTS, AND 97 MORE. The Attleboro Sun-Chronicle has begun charging a one-time fee of 99 cents to leave a comments on articles. Users have to pay credit. Don't worry, this isn't the Sun-Chronicle's answer to how to monetize print in the digital age. Rather, it's an effort to clean up the comment boards and get rid of anonymity.