Just Short of Fireworks

Army, Navy, and Marine Corps officials made it very clear to the House Armed Services air and land forces panel yesterday that they do not believe the Air Force should be the executive agent for medium- and high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles. However, they did not come loaded for bear with on point justifications, instead they raised the ire of several lawmakers by obfuscating answers to simple questions like: Is there duplication? Finally, the panel directed the services to provide written responses specifically outlining their objections to the Air Force plan. The Air Force rep, Lt. Gen. David Deptula, intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance chief on the Air Staff, tried to allay fears, reiterating that USAF sees this move as a benefit to the joint operation and certainly isn’t making a power run. (Deptula’s written testimony.) Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson grudgingly acknowledged that there is duplication, but insisted that the present system works. Joe Landon, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for C3ISR, said the DOD brain trust isn’t yet prepared to make a decision.