Army Foresees Expanded Use of Drones in U.S. Airspace

fas.org | Jan 19, 2012

By Steven Aftergood

The Army issued a new directive last week to govern the growing use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or “drones” within the United States for training missions and for “domestic operations.”

“The Army’s unmanned aircraft systems represent emerging technology that requires access to the National Airspace System,” wrote Army Secretary John M. McHugh in a January 13 memorandum.

Towards that end, the Army produced a revised policy on UAS operations to support “expanded UAS access to the National Airspace System.”  A copy of the new policy was obtained by Secrecy News.  See Army Directive 2012-02, January 13, 2012.

Much of the Army’s UAS activity will be devoted to UAS operator training conducted at or near military facilities, the policy indicates.  But beyond such training activities, the military also envisions a role for UAS in unspecified “domestic operations” in civilian airspace

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