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Reps. McKeon, Mollohan host inaugural UAV Caucus event

Posted: March 25, 2010 1:12 p.m.
Updated: March 25, 2010 5:00 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C - Today, Reps. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) and Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Co-chairs of the Congressional Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Caucus, hosted an inaugural meeting with Admiral Gary Roughead, the Chief of Naval Operations, and four additional members of Congress.

"Today's event was a great beginning for the UAV Caucus, with a meaningful discussion by all parties," said McKeon. "I'd like to thank Admiral Roughead for his candor, expertise, and insight, and I look forward to our next event - a roundtable to discuss UAV operations and airspace integration."

Roughead outlined the direction of unmanned systems in the Navy, and his plans for the integration of surface, air, and underwater systems to expand the Navy's capabilities and reach.

"Anytime you can sit down and talk with the Chief of Naval Operations about cutting edge military technology is going to be time well-spent," said Mollohan. "Admiral Roughead outlined his views on the important role unmanned systems play in today's military and intelligence-gathering operations, and he shared his thoughts on where the technology and application might be headed in the coming years. He is obviously a knowledgeable ‘user' of the technology, and I think that all of us appreciated the opportunity to spend some time with him."

Roughead noted one challenge in advancing Navy unmanned systems will be breaking through the power issue. The Navy requires systems that can be self-sustaining for up to a fortnight while underwater.

When asked by Congressman McKeon whether the Navy was pursuing larger UAVs for distant surveillance or smaller UASs for armed reconnaissance, Roughead responded that the acquisition of UAVs was more driven by the size and capability of the surface platform they would be launched from. One of the things the Navy was most excited about with UASs was a dramatic reduction in the time to train for carrier deck landing qualifications.

Roughead also announced that the Navy will start flying the carrier-based Unmanned Combat Aerial System (UCAS) by the end of the 2010.

Roughead concluded by quoting Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, saying that "It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." The Navy, as with the Congressional UAV Caucus, clearly recognizes the value in the new order represented by unmanned systems.

The Congressional UAV Caucus serves to educate Members of Congress and the public on the strategic importance of the unmanned community.

Other UAV Caucus members attending today's event are as follows:
Michael Turner (OH-03)
Ander Crenshaw(FL-04)
Ken Calvert(CA-44)
Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06)


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