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DHS, DoD Still Fiddling On UAV Disaster Use

When the next national emergency hits, whether a terrorist strike or a Category 4 hurricane, expect there to be screw-ups and miscommunications between Northern Command and the Department of Homeland Security when it comes time to deploy Unmanned Aerial Systems.

This word comes from Army and Joint UAS experts. They were asked at the Army Aviation Association's annual conference on UAS in Arlington, Va. if the two sides had resolved problems that surfaced during Hurricane Katrina. NorthCom and DHS disagreed about what UAS systems needed to be deployed, according to the UAAS experts here. One of the points of friction occurred when DHS had a UAS in the air and NorthCom wanted to deploy its own system that it believed had better capability

The two sides are talking, along with all the other interagency partners. But Marine Brig. Gen. Glenn Walters, assistant deputy Marine commandant for programs and resources, made clear things aren't quite there yet. During a Q and A session, Walter said he attended a meeting last week at which the participants discussed some of these issues. "They have made progress but they are not there yet," he said.

And he was not alone in worrying about this issue. "I don't think we have that resolved yet," said Army Brig. Gen. Walter Davis, the director of Army Aviation.

The scary part is that Walters made it clear he doesn't think the issue is certain to be fixed before the next disaster strikes: I guess we'll have to wait for the nest disaster to see if it's all worked out."

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