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August 30 2014

September 3, 2014

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Tax refunds may get hit due to health law credits

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

 
 

WASHINGTON — Taxes? Who wants to think about taxes around Labor Day?

But if you count on your tax refund and you’re one of the millions getting tax credits to help pay health insurance premiums under President Obama’s law, it’s not too early.

Here’s why: If your income for 2014 is going to be higher than you estimated when you applied for health insurance, then complex connections between the health law and taxes can reduce or even eliminate your tax refund next year.

Maybe you’re collecting more commissions in an improving economy. Or your spouse got a better job. It could trigger an unwelcome surprise.

The danger is that as your income grows, you don’t qualify for as much of a tax credit. Any difference will come out of your tax refund, unless you have promptly reported the changes.

Nearly 7 million households have gotten health insurance tax credits, and major tax preparation companies say most of those consumers appear to be unaware of the risk.

”More than a third of tax credit recipients will owe some money back, and [that] can lead to some pretty hefty repayment liabilities,” said George Brandes, vice president for health care programs at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

Two basic statistics bracket the potential exposure: The average tax credit for subsidized coverage on the new health insurance exchanges is $264 a month, or $3,168 for a full 12 months. The average tax refund is about $2,690.

Having to pay back even as little as 10 percent of your tax credit can reduce your refund by several hundred dollars.

Tax giant H&R Block says consumers whose incomes grew as the year progressed should act now and contact HealthCare.gov or their state insurance exchange to update their accounts.

They will pay higher health insurance premiums for the rest of this year, but they can avoid financial pain come spring.

”As time goes on, the ability to make adjustments diminishes,” warned Mark Ciaramitaro, H&R Block’s vice president of health care services. ”Clients count on that refund as their biggest financial transaction of the year. When that refund goes down, it really has reverberations.”

The Obama administration says it’s constantly urging newly insured consumers to report changes that could affect their coverage. But those messages don’t drive home the point about tax refunds.

”What probably isn’t clear is that there may be consequences at tax time,” said Ciaramitaro.

Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the US Health and Human Services Department, said the administration plans to ”ramp up” its efforts.

Concern about the complex connection between the health law and taxes has increased recently, after the Internal Revenue Service released drafts of new forms to administer health insurance tax credits next filing season.

The forms set up a final accounting that ensures each household is getting the correct tax credit. Various factors are involved, including income, family size, where you live, and the premiums for a ”benchmark” plan in your community.

Even experts find the forms highly complicated, requiring month-by-month computations for some taxpayers.

Taxpayers accustomed to filing a simplified 1040EZ will not be able to do so if they received health tax credits this year.

Some highlights:

■ If your refund isn’t large enough to cover the tax credit repayment, you will have to write the IRS a check.

■ The repayment amount the IRS can collect is capped for most people.

■ There is no collection cap for households making more than four times the federal poverty level. Those income thresholds are $45,960 and above for an individual, $78,120 and above for a family of three, and $94,200 for a family of four.

■ If you overestimated your income and got too small a tax credit for health care, the IRS will increase your refund.

 

 

Lawsuits filed challenging stricter FAA rules for model aircraft, commercial drone operations

 

by Press • 23 August 2014

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/08/30773/lawsuits-filed-challenging-stricter-faa-rules-for-model-aircraft-commercial-drone-operations/?utm_source=sUAS+News+Daily&utm_campaign=f394975727-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b3c0776dde-f394975727-303662705

 

By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Model aircraft hobbyists, research universities and commercial drone interests filed lawsuits Friday challenging a government directive that they say imposes tough new limits on the use of model aircraft and broadens the agency’s ban on commercial drone flights.

The three lawsuits asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the validity of the directive, which the Federal Aviation Administration issued in June. The agency said the directive is an attempt to clarify what is a model aircraft and the limitations on their operation.

The FAA has been working on regulations that would permit commercial drone flights in U.S. skies for more than 10 years, but the agency is still at least months and possibly years away from issuing final rules to permit flights by small drones. Regulations for flights by larger drones are even farther away.

Part of the agency’s challenge is to distinguish between planes flown by hobbyists and those used for commercial applications, a distinction that’s become harder to draw as the technology for model planes has grown more sophisticated.

A law passed by Congress in 2012 directed the FAA to issue regulations permitting commercial drone flights by the fall of 2015, but prohibited the agency from imposing new regulations on model aircraft.

The FAA directive is a backdoor imposition of new regulations on model aircraft hobbyists and commercial drone operators without going through required federal procedures for creating new regulations, said Brendan Schulman, a New York attorney representing the groups that filed the lawsuits. Federal procedures require an opportunity for public comment on proposed regulations and an analysis of the potential costs of the regulations vs. the benefits.

“People who have been using these technologies for years in different ways are concerned that they are suddenly prohibited from doing so without having their voices heard, and without regard to the detrimental impact on the commercial drone industry,” he said. Schulman pointed out that hobbyists have been flying model aircraft nearly 100 years, but he knows of no instance in which a model aircraft has caused the crash of a manned plane or helicopter.

“In situations where there really is no safety issue there appears to be not just some restrictions, but an outright prohibition on activities that have been done for a long time very safely,” he said.

FAA officials had no immediate comment on the lawsuits.

The lawsuits were filed by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which represents more than 170,000 model aircraft hobbyists; the Council on Governmental Relations, an association of 188 research universities; and several commercial drone and model aircraft interests. Among them are UAS America, a fund that invests in the commercial drone industry; SkyPan International Inc., an aerial photography company; FPV Manuals LLC, a company that sells video systems for unmanned aircraft operators and an association representing commercial drone operators. All argued that the FAA policy would impede their activities, from hobby use to research and innovation.

 

 

 

Boeing Tanker Problems Don’t Concern U.S. Air Force

The Pegasus Tanker Is One of Three Air Force Priority Programs

By Doug Cameron

Aug. 25, 2014 2:31 p.m. ET

 

http://online.wsj.com/articles/boeing-tanker-problems-dont-concern-u-s-air-force-1408991488

 

A senior U.S. Air Force general said he was unconcerned with development problems on a new aerial refueling tanker being built by Boeing Co. BA -1.32% and even floated the possibility of a future unmanned version.

 

Chicago-based Boeing last month said it would take a $425 million pretax charge to fix wiring problems and other issues on the KC-46A Pegasus tanker, and has delayed the planned first flight of a test jet.

The Pegasus is one of three Air Force priority programs, part of a broader effort to replace hundreds of aging jets that refuel fighters, bombers and reconnaissance planes.

“I don’t see anything of great concern [about the Pegasus program],” said Gen. Darren McDew, who took over as Commander of Air Mobility Command earlier this year.

Gen. McDew said in an interview on Sunday at the National Guard Association of the U.S. that Boeing hadn’t missed any Air Force milestones on the initial contract to develop a tanker based on the company’s 767-200 passenger jet. The first plane is scheduled to be delivered to the Air Force in 2016.

“New airplanes always get the interest of a lot of people,” he said. “The milestones are the milestones.”

Boeing officials said in May that the Pegasus program was “challenging” and last month said it had identified the technical problems that triggered the charge.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said earlier this year that he expected the first test tanker to make its maiden flight in June, but Boeing has since pushed back the flight to the third quarter. Gen. McDew said June was an internal Boeing target that didn’t affect the contract. The first plane equipped with a refueling boom and other equipment is due to fly in the first quarter of 2015.

Boeing in 2011 ultimately won an aerial tanker contract valued by the Pentagon at up to $41 billion over its lifetime after a decadelong contest it initially lost to a team including Airbus Group EADSY -0.03% NV.

Pentagon officials in May forecast that building the initial four jets of the 179-plane deal may cost up to $5.85 billion compared with its initial estimate of between $4.4 billion and $4.9 billion. The fixed-price deal leaves Boeing liable for all overruns above $4.9 billion.

Boeing is also marketing the new tanker overseas, with upcoming competitions in South Korea and Japan.

The Air Force wants to replace the remainder of its fleet of more than 500 airborne refueling tankers in two further stages.

Gen. McDew said given likely changes in aerospace design in the next 30 years, the Air Force ought to consider unmanned tankers as well as manned versions. “We’re right to be thinking about that,” he added.

The U.S. military is engaged in a broader debate over the future of unmanned aircraft. The Navy is expected to launch a closely watched competition in September to build a large pilotless plane that can be launched from aircraft carriers.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin LMT -0.03% Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp. NOC +0.81% and closely held General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. all received development funding for the planned Navy drone and are expected to compete for a program valued by analysts at up to $6 billion.

The Navy deal us expected to set broader technology parameters for future unmanned military aircraft, such as as a version of the proposed long-range bomber that Boeing and partner Lockheed Martin is contesting with Northrop Grumman.

Write to Doug Cameron at doug.cameron@wsj.com

 

 

 

NOAA struggles to fix vulnerabilities in satellite program

 

Aug. 26, 2014 – 03:53PM |

By ANDY MEDICI |     

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140826/CYBER/308260020/NOAA-struggles-fix-vulnerabilities-satellite-program

 

A key satellite operations and data collection system at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has significant security flaws which leave the program open to attack, according to an inspector general report released Aug. 21.

The Joint Polar Satellite System’s (JPSS) ground system at NOAA—which gathers and routs data from several satellites to users around the world—had 23,868 high-risk vulnerability instances in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, much more than the 14,486 it had in fiscal 2012, according to the report.

While NOAA should remove any high-risk vulnerabilities within 30 days of identification it took the agency 11 to 14 months to remediate some of them, according to the report. Software updates that would remediate some of the problems only occurred once a year.

And while the agency promised to release two maintenance patches per year over the last two years it has only released one patch so far, according to the report.

“The remediation of high-risk vulnerabilities is critical to the continued success of the

JPSS mission and should have a high priority. The more high-risk vulnerabilities that exist in the system, the higher the probability is that an attacker could compromise it,” the report said.

The IG recommended that NOAA and the JPSS program should:

■ Review the types of vulnerabilities identified in the IG investigation and correct them as soon as possible.

■ Update system processes and patch high-risk areas in order of the most vulnerable.

■ Require that any new vulnerabilities be remediated within three months.

 

DoD plans overhead cuts

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140826/MGMT02/308260012/DoD-plans-overhead-cuts

Aug. 26, 2014 – 11:33AM |

By ANDREW TILGHMAN |     

 

The Pentagon is gearing up a new effort to cut overhead and administrative costs. Specifically, the initiative will target the “Fourth Estate” — everything other than the military services and combatant commands, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work.

 

Targeted components for cuts include the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the 16 defense agencies, including the Tricare Management Agency and the Defense Logistics Agency. Those account for about 20 percent of the overall defense budget.

While the Pentagon has mounted efficiency reviews in the past, this one will be the first to directly involve private-sector experts from the Defense Business Board and the not-for-profit Business Executives for National Security, Work said in an interview.

Work, a retired Marine colonel who took over the Pentagon’s No. 2 position in May, said he understands why many service members are anxious about the future. As defense spending has begun to fall, training has slowed, falling force levels are making promotions harder and the entire compensation system is under review.

He said the darkest cloud hanging over DoD remains the spending caps known as sequestration. A deal on Capitol Hill last year offered a two-year fix, but with only about 13 months until that deal expires in fiscal 2016, the threat of sequestration remains.

At that point, the doomsday scenarios discussed — an urgent shrink of the Army and Marine Corps, aircraft carriers and fighter jets — may be back on the table.

“The members of the services are asking, ‘Can I continue to serve? Will I still have a job in the armed services?’ That’s the first level of uncertainty … and we’re unable to tell them exactly how far down we’ll go because we hope that sequestration will not be triggered.”

If the budget squeeze does tighten again in 2016, “that is going to be even more of a problem,” he said.

How likely is that to happen? Nobody knows because Congress is unpredictable. For now, the Pentagon is drawing up spending plans that exceed the sequestration budget caps. However, he added, military leaders need to have a Plan B in case Congress does nothing. “We have to prepare for the eventuality that” the sequestration law remains on the books.

CompensationWork said it’s unclear whether the Pentagon will propose further cuts to military compensation. The top brass wants to curb personnel cost growth because it could limit new investment in training, weapons systems and cutting-edge technology. W

In March of last year, when sequestration took effect, “readiness went to hell,” Work said bluntly.

The two-year fix that Congress approved last year has allowed the services to resume training and maintenance, for the most part.

Even so, Work said, “We are in a readiness trough, without question. We’re not as deep as we would have been … Congress’ help in that regard really prevented a crisis.”

For now, there is enough money to fully fund units preparing for deployment and those designated as first responders, like the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

“Where we have a problem is in our surge forces,” Work said. “We are taking significant risk.”

Yet the deputy secretary avoids the term “tiered readiness,” which for many senior officers negatively evokes the post-Vietnam era and concerns of a “hollow force.”

“Instead of tiered readiness, I’d say ‘time-phased’ readiness, where we don’t have enough money to make sure everyone is C-1 or C-2 at any given time,” he said, referring to the internal readiness scale of “capability levels,” which ranges from C-1 for units fully ready for a wartime mission, to C-5 for units that are not trained or equipped properly for a deployment.

“Think of it as a conveyor belt. The guys at the top of the conveyor belt are the guys out on deployment,” he said.

 

Tension in Europe

Work said that if tensions between Russia and the West continue to mount, the Pentagon this fall may launch a far-reaching review of the U.S. force levels and military footprint in Europe.

Current efforts to ramp up readiness in Europe — which include deployments of some small U.S. units closer to the Russian border — are a temporary solution to what may be a long-term crisis.

A “program review” could come this fall as DoD prepares its annual budget request for submission early next year. Military leaders may consider fundamental questions about U.S. troop levels in Europe and how they should be positioned across the continent.

“Depending on how [the crisis] plays out, we would take a look in the [fiscal 2016 budget] and say … ‘Do we have to have more rotational forces in Europe than we have otherwise figured we were going to have? Should we station different types of forces in Europe?’ All those things would be on the table,” Work said.

 

Opinion: No Air Force? No Way!

http://aviationweek.com/defense/opinion-no-air-force-no-way

Aug 25, 2014 By Charles A. Blanchard and Gen. (ret.) Norton A. Schwartz |

Aviation Week & Space Technology

 

A version of this article appears in the August 25 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology.

In early 2001, pundits were challenging the continued relevance of ground forces in the 21st century. The incoming Bush administration was already discussing significant cuts in the size of the U.S. Army in an effort described as transformation. The pundits, of course, were proven wrong just a few months later.

History would repeat itself a decade later, when pundits were having difficulty seeing the relevance of airpower other than as a tool for close air support for ground troops. They argue that the Air Force’s independence was based on discredited theories of the decisive effect of airpower, that an independent Air Force results in an undue reliance on airpower as the solution to military problems and that an independent Air Force distorts procurement decisions by placing an undue emphasis on technology. Some even suggest folding the Air Force into the Army and the Navy to ensure more appropriate procurement decisions and create a more “combined” use of American airpower (AW&ST July 28, p. 50).

A common argument is that airpower alone is rarely decisive in modern warfare, and that there is thus no institutional need for an independent Air Force. This criticism largely rests on the view that airpower is only useful in support of naval and ground forces, for it is only if airpower’s value is in support of the Army and the Navy that folding the Air Force into the other services makes sense.

These views are fundamentally flawed. Most profoundly, they ignore sizable components of the Air Force—its mobility and space forces. Yet mobility and space assets offer some of our most significant advantages over potential adversaries.

But even focusing solely on combat airpower, the argument is flawed. It is true that early optimism about airpower as a panacea has at times proven misplaced, such as in the strategic bombing campaigns during World War II or the Vietnam War. But the unstated assumption that airpower can never be decisive apart from support for ground troops cannot be reconciled with history. Look no further than the NATO air offensive in Kosovo, when Serbia was forced to come to the negotiating table.

There are other, more recent examples. While the intensive bombing campaign against Iraq known as Operation Desert Fox in 1998 was at the time heavily criticized as ineffective, we have since learned that the operation was largely responsible for Saddam Hussein’s decision to end his efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. U.S. military operations in Afghanistan in 2002 and Libya in 2011 were largely exercises in airpower. Simply put, airpower does not obviate the need for ground and naval forces—history has made that point abundantly clear—but in some circumstances, combat airpower is an indispensable tool of national power.

Blanchard is a partner in Arnold & Porter and was general counsel and chief ethics officer of the U.S. Air Force 2009-13.

Moreover, the notion that an “airpower can do it alone” culture pervades the Air Force, or that the Air Force is not committed to joint warfighting, doesn’t hold water. To the contrary, during the debates about intervention in Libya and Syria, the Air Force leaders we know were very careful to caution civilian leaders about the costs and limits of airpower. They take great pains to make sure those making force-structure decisions and war plans take full account of the uncertainties and accept that there will be losses and mistakes during conflict. The Air Force of today has a more nuanced and realistic view of airpower than in the past.

Perhaps the most critical combat mission for airpower in the 21st century has been air superiority. In Iraq and Libya, air superiority was achieved rather quickly and largely taken for granted. This allowed all forces—ground, naval and air—freedom of action without concern for attacks from above. Air superiority is something that must still be won and undoubtedly will be contested by conventional state adversaries. In the possible battlefields of the future—against potential adversaries such as China and Iran—achieving air superiority will be a hard-fought battle. Until that battle is won, neither littoral naval nor ground forces can be fully effective. It is this mission—which is becoming increasingly important as more nations develop fifth-generation aircraft and sophisticated integrated air and missile defense systems—that will need to be a continuing focus of the Air Force in the 21st century.

The case for the decisiveness of airpower may have been oversold in the 1940s, but the continued need for airpower of all types—combat, mobility, space and cyberspace—cannot be seriously disputed. Just as the pundits in the late 1990s were profoundly wrong to question the continued importance of ground forces, critics today are wrong to suggest that airpower and the Air Force are anachronisms awaiting a necessary demise.

 

Ohio UAS Conference: Day 1 shows a flurry of unmanned aircraft efforts in short term

by Press • 27 August 2014

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/08/30822/ohio-uas-conference-day-1-shows-a-flurry-of-unmanned-aircraft-efforts-in-short-term/?utm_source=sUAS+News+Daily&utm_campaign=75251ee582-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b3c0776dde-75251ee582-303662705

 

Tristan Navera Staff Reporter

Dayton Business Journal

 

You only have to be in the Dayton Convention Center for a few minutes before someone spells it out; Unmanned aircraft aren’t going anywhere.

In fact, the sense on the expo floor as the Ohio UAS Conference kicks off is that the many programs and demands for unmanned systems are only growing — and quickly.

 

More than 700 people and 73 exhibitors from 27 U.S. states, Israel, Mexico and Australia are downtown this week for the Ohio UAS Conference, which has drawn industry, government, military and academia to a gathering intended to promote unmanned systems industry in Ohio, said Maurice “Mo” McDonald, executive vice president for Aerospace and Defense at the Dayton Development Coalition.

“This week is all about how we can build partnerships,” McDonald said, “The military has been using these systems for years, but on the private side we’re finding limitless uses for UAS. So you’re trying to take the systems into a new element, where there’s a wide range of uses for them.”

Commercial unmanned systems — commonly known as drones — have a potential to change a multitude of industries as they emerge as a mainstream technology. The average commercial drone would cost in the range of $55,000, but people use unmanned systems as inexpensive as a few hundred dollars for recreation and photography.

The question, then, is how the rest of the considerations — legal, financial and ethnical — will catch up to the technology t already available.

Either way, Dayton will play a big part in that, said Deb Norris, vice president of workforce development at Sinclair Community College. Sinclair has half a dozen permissions to fly unmanned aircraft locally, and 600 students have gone through its UAS-related training programs, including 157 who have applied for its coming two-year degree in UAS.

http://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/blog/uas-dayton/2014/08/ohio-uas-conference-day-1-shows-a-flurry-of.html

 

Ohio UAS Conference: Day 2 focuses on FAA regulations

Aug 27, 2014, 4:46pm EDT

http://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/blog/uas-dayton/2014/08/ohio-uas-conference-day-2-focuses-on-faa.html?ana=e_day_rdup&s=newsletter&ed=2014-08-28&u=TPdNotJ4elX4kTrzOjz9Sg074b4f25&t=1409676866&page=all

 

Tristan Navera

Staff Reporter- Dayton Business Journal

 

When unmanned systems experts get together, there’s something of a jaded excitement to them.

“The breakthroughs are happening practically every day with this tech,” says David Fletcher, an officer with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as he talks about his groups’ use of the Predator-B drone to catch smugglers at the border. “For us, it doesn’t even make sense to invest in a platform that is built around one kind of sensor, because those change so fast.”

Experts Wednesday talked about the high-end technology that is going to transform UAS into something bigger — the sensors capabilities, advanced automation to help them think more for themselves. And the research on these subjects is making new discoveries all the time.

“The uses for this tech in civil aviation, in so many other spheres, is clear, but unmanned systems are just one piece of where the benefits will be,” said Eric Frew of University of Colorado at Boulder in a panel on autonomy technology. From advanced manufacturing to the world of safer autopilots and driving a car, automation technology will help UAS and other craft identify problems, compensate for human error, and communicate better.

The question with that tech, said Larrell Walters, head of University of Dayton Research Institute sensors division, is how it addresses major questions like how to get the systems to operate efficiently and how to get other operators to trust them — research being hampered by a lack of access to the airspace for field tests.

The Federal Aviation Administration controls drone operations tightly, with schools and industry having to submit individual requests to use aircraft, and only a few hundred active test sites across the country. But the industry has been pushing for it to build a more clear system of rules, which it’s expected to do over the next several years.

And from lighter materials to better batteries and more advanced sensors, the technology is getting better all the time. But the regulations have slowed down investment and prevented the market from launching, especially for drones under 5 pounds, where many see some of the largest commercial uses.

As Frank Beafore, executive director of SelectTech GeoSpatial AMF finished his panel on UAS manufacturing, one person in the audience raised his hand.

“Shouldn’t we get more involved in pushing the FAA on these rules, legally?” he said.

Beafore said the international marketplace has been an asset to the development of unmanned systems — some components like batteries and motors and engines can come from all over the world. But the price for the FAA’s regulation, he said, is that American companies are not pouring into the drone marketplace until they know the rules to play by, as other countries such as China, Germany, and Japan pull ahead in research, development, and manufacture of unmanned systems tech.

And the legal battle is heating up. Late Friday, The Council on Governmental Relations, a group representing 188 universities around the country, was one of three to file suit against the FAA for an order last month further restricting commercial use of unmanned aircraft.

“The Order poses a grave threat to science, research, education, and technological innovation across the United States by purporting to regulate, restrict, or even completely prohibit, use of model aircraft technology by universities, colleges, and research institutions, their faculty, and their students,” states the brief.

The FAA says the rules are for the good of the industry. Robert Pappas, UAS Special Rules Coordinator, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office for FAA, gave a keynote talk explaining the rules, and saying the FAA was making progress in processing the requests.

“We’ve made a lot of progress and there’s a lot of light at the end of the tunnel for some of these regulations,” he said.

But he also acknowledged the FAA realizes the red tape is choking an industry that drone experts content will blossom into an $82 billion-dollar business — once it has rules to play by.

“We are being very deliberate in how we’re processing these first permissions, but it’s because we need to get these first ones right,” he said, “But I think we’ve made some great progress in these rules and I think you’ll see results in the not-too-distant future.”

Ohio UAS Conference: Law remains murky around drone use

Aug 26, 2014, 3:23pm EDT Updated: Aug 26, 2014, 4:33pm EDT


http://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/blog/uas-dayton/2014/08/ohio-uas-conference-law-remains-murky-around-drone.html?page=all

 

Tristan NaveraStaff Reporter-

Dayton Business Journal

 

Drone technology has grown by leaps and bounds, especially in recent years, leaving the legal world running to catch up.

But legal experts say the regulations for UAS, while still muddled by concerns about a lack of concrete policies, may prove easier to regulate in the long run than the public fears.

A panel spoke at the Dayton Convention Center at the Ohio UAS Conference as drone operators wait for more regulations and laws to come forward while the public worries about privacy.

Colin Snow, CEO of Drone Analyst, said his company conducted a study of nearly 350 groups in the drone business. His study found 71 percent thought the current rules are unclear, while 47 percent of companies choose to operate anyway, and 30 percent didn’t believe the Federal Aviation Administration governs the airspace below 600 feet.

“The tech has advanced ferociously in the past few years,” Snow said. “But the law is lagging behind.”

Indeed, the FAA was tasked with coming up with rules in 2012 but has delayed those for several years. Rule making is expected to last through 2016 and in the meantime companies and industry are looking for permissions to use drones sooner for research and commercial use.

The industry is eager to see that happen. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has estimated once the rules are on the books an $82 billion industry that employs 100,000 will start to take shape.

Snow said his survey found 42 percent of companies would “hire two or more people” if those rules are favorable to business.

But the public perception of drones remains to be addressed. A recent Pew poll found, for example, that nearly two thirds of the nation views drones in public airspace as a bad thing.

“The public perception is something that we need to spend time and resources to address,” said Matthew Mishak, an Elyria attorney who works with Dronewerx LLC and the new Northern Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Association. “But the courts are dealing with more technology issues now, and we’re seeing some of these worries in court.”

Privacy remains in the heart of the public concern — but a number of recent court cases have addressed some of those fears. Among them a recent court case that found flying a manned helicopter around 400 feet above a private space was legal because at that level the field’s owner had “no reasonable expectation of privacy” and the contents of the field were visible to the naked eye.

U.S. aviation law also has established the space above 500 feet in the air as public space.

 

But the courts have placed strong controls on technology. They’ve recently ruled that police need a warrant in order to watch a building with thermal imaging because that’s not a common technology. They’ve also ruled a warrant was necessary to place a GPS tracker on a car or go through someone’s cell phone.

“The law gets more strict when dealing with homes and personal property,” Mishak said. “The privacy laws are well established so far, but the question will be if those cases apply to drones.”

Drone manufacturers also have to contend with exporting and importing regulations, said Brent Connor, senior counsel in the transportation practice group for Thompson Hine, so they have to check on which parties will receive the aircraft. Violators can face hefty fines.

Wayne Johnson, vice president of Dayton Aerospace Inc., said unmanned aircraft face many of the same concerns as manned aircraft as far as airworthiness — whether an aircraft is safe to fly — with propulsion and materials being much the same.

“Often in these cases, it’s a yes or a no question whether an aircraft is airworthy,” he said.

In the end Mishak said the legal discussion about UAS will continue — including after the integration of the aircraft into the public airspace. Companies looking at using a drone should follow it.

“There’s every reason for Ohio to be a major leader in the largest-growing sector of aerospace,” Mishak said.

 

 

Al Qaeda magazine suggests Air Force Academy as terror target

by Angela Case

http://www.fox21news.com/news/story.aspx?id=1089700#.VAX4mbV0yUn

Updated: 08.29.2014 at 9:00 AM

 

The U.S. Air Force Academy is on a list of suggested terror targets published in a new magazine distributed by Al Qaeda.

FOXNews.com reports the online magazine was put out by the media arm of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

The magazine features a how-to article on making car bombs, and calls for people around the world to follow “the recipe” provided to set off the bombs in crowded places.

The magazine also includes a list of suggested targets for individually executed terror attacks. The list includes Times Square in New York, casinos and nightclubs in Las Vegas, oil tankers and trains, the Georgia Military College, General Atomics defense contractor in San Diego, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

There is also a list of targets in Britian, including a military academy and the Marks and Spencers chain of department stores. The magazine calls for the stores to be hit on Friday during prayers, so that Muslims won’t be affected, FOXNews.com reports. Globally, the magazine calls for the targeting of tourist resorts frequented by Israelis, Britons, and Americans.

The U.S. Air Force Academy declined an interview for this story, but public affairs officer John Van Winkle provided the following statement:

“We are aware that the Air Force Academy is mentioned in a recent online publication. We remain vigilant and maintain all the appropriate protocols of a military installation to include force protection and being cognizant of existing and emerging threats. Our primary concern is always the security and the safety of the cadets, our personnel and the thousands of visitors who come to USAFA every year.”

 

Rasmussen Reports

What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

Bottom of Form

Saturday, August 30, 2014

We’re off to the races. In nine weeks, America will elect a new Congress. Will it be more of the same, or will there be a new sheriff in town?

Republicans are highly unlikely to lose their control of the House of Representatives, and if the GOP makes a net gain of six seats, it will take charge of the Senate, too. Twenty-one of the 36 Senate seats up for grabs this November are held by Democrats, so President Obama’s party is clearly at greater risk.

Here’s where we stand right now in the Rasmussen Reports 2014 Senate Balance of Power rankings. Twenty of the 36 seats are out of play entirely, with 14 Safe Republican and six Safe Democrat. If these numbers hold through Election Day, the GOP is guaranteed to pick up three of the six it needs in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Three states – Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina – are leaning the Republicans’ way, but only North Carolina is now held by a Democratic senator. Two – Michigan and Minnesota – are leaning toward reelecting their Democratic incumbents.

Six states are Toss-Ups – Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Louisiana. All but Kansas are now held by Democrats.

New Hampshire is a wild card: We’re waiting for its September 9 GOP primary before measuring where that race stands.

In short, if the Republicans hold onto all their existing Senate seats and pick up the three states that appear to be safe, they need three more wins to control the entire Congress.

Thirty-six states are having governor’s races this year, and here’s where the Rasmussen Reports 2014 Gubernatorial Scorecard stands.

Nine governorships are Safe Republican, five Safe Democrat, with the only likely turnover being Pennsylvania going Democrat. We looked at three of those races this week – Alaska, South Carolina and Vermont.

Six governor’s races are leaning Republican, including two now held by Democrats, Connecticut and Illinois. Minnesota is leaning toward reelecting Democrat Mark Dayton.

Eight states are Toss-ups – Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico and Wisconsin.  All but Arkansas and Colorado are now held by Republicans.

We still have several governor’s races to poll after their September 9 primaries finalize the match-ups.

Republicans have edged ahead of Democrats again on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.  But the two parties have been separated by two points or less for most weeks this year.

House Speaker John Boehner remains Congress’ most unpopular leader, but House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, his predecessor as speaker, is right on his heels.

The president’s daily job approval rating has been hovering around -20 for much of the summer.

Just 23% of voters think the country is heading in the right direction. Sixty-nine percent (69%) now think the country is headed down the wrong track.

Consumer and investor confidence are up from post-meltdown levels but haven’t moved much over the past couple years.

Some things haven’t changed in surveys for a long time. The national health care law, for one thing, remains unpopular, and the number of voters who say their insurance coverage has changed because of it is at its highest level in well over a year.

Most voters have told us for years that they favor spending cuts in every program of the federal government, but they now think it’s less likely than ever that government spending will be cut anytime soon.

The police shooting and subsequent events in Ferguson, Missouri also have raised concerns other than ones about race. Voters have long been skeptical of the federal government, but now most believe the nation’s chief law enforcer, the U.S. Department of Justice, is more interested in politics than in serving justice.

Americans also doubt that the media is playing it straight in its Ferguson coverage.

Voters see a pretty grim picture abroad, too. Five years ago this summer, the president gave a highly-publicized speech in Cairo, Egypt reaching out to Muslims, but 46% now believe our relations with the Islamic world are worse than they were at that time. Forty-four percent (44%) think U.S. policies are to blame.

But Americans also recognize that religious tolerance is a one-way street when it comes to the Muslim world.

They’re pretty angry, too, about the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley on a video posted online and strongly believe his killer should be brought to justice and sentenced to death.

In other surveys last week:

Americans overwhelmingly count on their local water supply, but they’re not nearly as confident that it’s well protected.

— Most voters continue to consider global warming a serious problem but remain unwilling to pay much to do anything about it.

— Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans expect higher interest rates next year. Americans also continue to wonder if the Federal Reserve Board has the ability to keep interest rates down and inflation under control.

— Many students around the country are already returning to school, but Americans still prefer waiting until after Labor Day before sending them back.

Most Americans like the idea of sales tax holidays especially just before school starts and say they are more likely to buy things during such periods.

— Americans think the “ice bucket challenge” has raised awareness and funds for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

— More Americans said they would take a vacation this summer, and it looks like they did.

Subscribers to Rasmussen Reports receive more than 20 exclusive stories each week for less than a dollar a week. Please sign up now. Visit the Rasmussen Reports home page for the latest current polling coverage of events in the news. The page is updated

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