Greater integration of unmanned aerial vehicles would have the biggest payoff in the realm of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, according to Dyke Weatherington, deputy of OSD’s Unmanned Systems Planning Task Force. Better communication relays on UAVs could overcome some of the line-of-sight limitations that some systems are experiencing and better leverage technologies across the service to benefit troops in the field, Weatherington said Jan. 9 during a presentation at a Marcus Evans defense conference in Washington, D.C. A few years ago, fewer than 100 small UAVs were in combat, whereas today there are more than 3,000, Weatherington noted while discussing the Pentagon’s recently issued unmanned systems roadmap. “We haven’t achieved the broad integration that the department is looking for. [Unmanned systems] tend to be, from some degree, stove-piped systems,” he acknowledged.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.