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C4ISR Conference: Lawmaker calls for ‘Goldwater-Nichols' for UAVs

Nov. 1, 2011 - 03:45AM   |  
By Kate Brannen   |   Comments
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Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, wants to see sweeping changes to how the U.S. military owns and operates its vast fleet of unmanned aircraft.

Today, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps each train and operate on entirely different unmanned aircraft systems. With the current budget crisis, the military can no longer work in stovepipes, Ruppersberger said at the C4ISR Journal Conference.

"We need a Goldwater-Nichols for widgets and gidgets," the congressman said.

The Goldwater-Nichols Act, signed into law in 1986, overhauled the way the Defense Department operated, elevating the power and influence of the combatant commanders in an effort to reduce interservice rivalries.

It is time to bring that spirit of cooperation to the management, training and maintenance of unmanned aircraft, which have proliferated across the services over the last decade, Ruppersberger said.

He wants to see common standards for the procurement of all unmanned aircraft systems, Ruppersberger said.

He also called for the services to share their training sites. The military "must cross-train UAV operators in one location," he said.

The services also should co-locate command centers and standardize operations and maintenance, Ruppersberger said.

All new unmanned aircraft purchased must meet these common standards so that the military has "one comprehensive UAV architecture," Ruppersberger said.

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