DoD Buzz

What to Do With All Those Drones


While the Defense Department is scrambling to field 65 UAV combat air patrols per day in the Middle East by 2013 and isn't even "sure that will meet the demand" for spy planes overhead, the DoD will eventually have to figure out how to better manage its ballooning drone fleet and rapidly growing ISR corps, said Michael Vickers, assistant secretary of defense for special ops and acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence today.

"We probably still have some homework to do down the road, right now we're trying to give all the support we can to our warfighters in Afghanistan, but, over time we will rationalize those," said Vickers about how the ISR fleet may come under the scrutiny of future efficiency efforts.

Vickers was speaking during his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing to be made the official undersecretary for intelligence as well as the U.S. Director of Intelligence. All of this

This came after Vickers described current efforts underway to streamline the Pentagon's intelligence apparatus. Everything from reducing the size of, so called, Joint Intelligence Operations Centers affiliated with combatant commands  such as AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM while adding to the strength of intel ops centers in CENTCOM and PACOM. The Pentagon’s intel apparatus is also consolidating the its counter terror and financial intelligence units under DIA and shaving the ranks of contractors and senior executive service positions, as part of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ efficiency  effort.

"Secretary Gates has been very clear that these rounds of efficiencies are just the first step in looking at eliminating redundancy," said Vickers. "Intelligence is increasingly important to our policy makers and our operators but it's also an area in which the American people and the Congress invest a lot of treasure and we have to make sure it's efficient as possible. So, if confirmed as [US Director of Intelligence] its something that will be on the top list of my priorities."

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