Update: 22Mar2013: FAA allows Arlington, Texas police to join countless others flying drones domestically


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FAA allows Arlington, Texas police to join countless others flying drones domestically

(EndTheLie) – Thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), police in Arlington, Texas have been cleared to fly two small helicopter drones, joining the countless other public entities that have already been given permission to fly drones over the United States.

Domestic drone use is disturbingly common already with Customs and Border Protection flying eavesdropping-enabled dronesUS Marshals using dronesNational Guard units using drones, the military using drones in concert with law enforcement and so many more that universities and colleges are offering more drone piloting programs to keep up with the drone boom.

Leptron-Avenger-300x200

The drones had been tested by Arlington police all the way back in 2011 after they purchased the drones with federal grant money, but only after getting the FAA authorization were they allowed to fly outside of the training area along with the many others flying drones domestically.

While Gizmag points out that there are restrictions on the drone flights, in that they “must fly under 400 feet, only in the daytime, be in sight of the operator and a safety observer, and be in contact with the control tower at the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth airport – one of the busiest in the country,” one must wonder how much they will stick to those restrictions given that commercial drone operators regularly flout federal regulations.

The federal grant came from the Department of Homeland Security – itself quite fascinated with small drones – to support Superbowl security, according to Gizmag.

Gizmag cites the “more than 80 entities” figure when talking about how many entities have applied to the FAA for authorization to fly drones – based on the most recent documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation – but in reality the number is much higher.

“Citing privacy and security concerns, the FAA does not disclose information about which government entities or publicly funded universities have certificates of authorization,” wrote Susan Schrock for the Star-Telegram in an article discussing Arlington’s drones.

“But spokesman Les Dorr said 327 certificates of operation are active in the U.S.,” Schrock added.

While that higher number is more accurate, there are many discrepancies between the various publicly known lists and most notably, it does not include the unknown number of classified drone authorizations. That number has not even been released to individuals in Congress.

These particular drones, Leptron Avengers, are made in Utah and capable of flying for about an hour on one battery change.

They’re only five feet long, leading Arlington police spokeswoman Tiara Richard to emphasize that they “aren’t military grade. They’re somewhere in between that and remote-control helicopters that are used recreationally.”

According to Arlington police department’s Sgt. Christopher Cook, the drones will “only be used in situations that a manned helicopter would be used, and will not be used for police pursuits or for traffic enforcement.”

Instead, they will be used in situations like looking for a missing person or taking aerial photographs of a crime scene, according to the department.

“We basically have permission to operate our small helicopter program in certain areas of the City, generally south of Interstate Highway 30, once a clearly defined incident perimeter has been established,” Cook said, according to Gizmag.

“We are working with our local airports which have airspace within the confines of the City of Arlington to create letters of agreement so there will be a seamless transition once a decision is made to deploy the equipment,” Cook added.

Gizmag notes that the authorization drone use in Arlington is quite important because Arlington is a major urban area with a large population and is home to Dallas-Fort Worth International, one of the U.S.’s largest airports.

If the program in Arlington is successful, or at least claimed to be, it is not hard to see it used as an argument for wider integration in other urban areas with large airports as well.

More at EndtheLie.com – http://EndtheLie.com/2013/03/20/faa-allows-arlington-texas-police-to-join-countless-others-flying-drones-domestically/#ixzz2OGzF0w9b

More at EndtheLie.com – http://EndtheLie.com/2013/03/20/faa-allows-arlington-texas-police-to-join-countless-others-flying-drones-domestically/#ixzz2OGyUKodX

(NextGov) – Cyber Command aims to deploy by September all 13 cyberwarrior teams capable of striking adversary networks to deflect assaults on U.S. private computers, Pentagon officials said this week.

Last week, Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the command, provided lawmakers with a vague timeline for fleshing out three cyber forces, each with distinct functions.

“The intent is to roughly stand up one-third of those, the first third, by the end of September of this year; the next third by September of the next year, 2014; and the final third by September of 2015,” he testified at a Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart now tells Nextgov that “the general was referencing the 13 cyber national mission forces teams when he said the ‘first third’ will be established by September 2013.” National mission forces will thwart incoming digital threats to American “critical infrastructure” sectors through offensive cyberattacks.

The Defense Department wants to focus resources on guarding power grids, financial institutions, and other vital commercial services before fully launching combatant command cyber forces, Pickart said.

This prioritization is being made public following a spate of assaults on U.S. bank websites and in the midst of a suspected cyberattack on South Korean automatic teller machines and broadcast TV stations.

By fall 2014, Pickart said 27 teams of combat mission forces will take shape, providing offensive planning, as well as defensive capabilities and options to geographical combatant commanders. By fall 2015, more than 60 protection forces teams will be established to defend dot-mil networks, which are targeted millions of times per day.

While the roughly 100 teams will not be fully assembled until 2015, Cyber Command must recruit for all three organizations now, Pickart said. Alexander wants to increase the size of the 900-member command by more than five-fold. And there is a fierce fight for computer talent among U.S. companies and government agencies. The North American unemployment rate for new graduates with computing Ph.D.s dropped from 1.6 percent in 2011 to 0.4 percent in 2012, according to a March study by the Computing Research Association.

This does not seem to deter Alexander. “We can take kids, young adults with great aptitude — they don’t have to be cyber experts. We can help them get there,” he said at the hearing. “We have a machinist mate from the Navy — a machinist mate. You know, you thought, well how — you know, I talked to him, and said, “Well, how did you get here?” And he goes, ‘Well, I really wanted to do it.’ He is one of our best. So we’ve asked the Navy to give us all their machinist mates.”

cyber-attack

Photo: talglobal

Read More: http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/cybersecurity-report/2013/03/military-cyber-strike-teams-will-soon-guard-private-networks/62010/

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