U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) will play host to a national summit for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) stakeholders next week in Colorado.
Air Force Gen. Victor Renuart Jr., NORTHCOM’s commander, told Congress recently that the gathering is being called to help determine “the best way forward on employing UAS capabilities in the National Air Space.”
Renuart added that NORTHCOM was eager to team with the Homeland Security Department as it expands UAS operational capabilities “to achieve synergy with our homeland defense and homeland security efforts.”
In 2007, NORTHCOM dispatched an R-Q4 Northrop Grumman Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to southern California to provide state and local officials with high altitude imagery of wildfires.
Photo: Northrop Grumman
And last year, another Global Hawk was used to take before and after photos of coastal areas in the path of Hurricane Gustav.
Invitees to the March 23-24 UAS summit at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., are expected to include representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees the National Air Space, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine unit, which operates the only civilian agency fleet of UAVs. CBP Air and Marine, a unit of the Homeland Security Department, uses General Atomics Predator B UAVs to patrol the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada.
The summit is an outgrowth of the recent UAS Airspace Integration meetings in Grand Forks, N.D.