Now There’s a Federal Committee for That, Too

Some interesting history here about the historical origins of domestic use of drones / unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”):

The story of how drones became a robust niche in domestic law enforcement – and part of the commercial world as well – is rooted in Washington DC. Indeed, the rise of the drone can be traced in part to one man, Howard “Buck” McKeon.

Now in action is the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus, the mission of which is clear – education about the versatility of UAVs in civil applications:

The mission of the U.S. House Unmanned Systems Caucus is to educate members of Congress and the public on the strategic, tactical, and scientific value of unmanned systems; actively support further development and acquisition of more systems, and to more effectively engage the civilian aviation community on unmanned system use and safety.

As members of this Caucus, we:

  1. Acknowledge the overwhelming value of these systems to the defense, intelligence, homeland security, law enforcement, and the scientific communities;
  2. Recognize the urgent need to rapidly develop and deploy more Unmanned Systems in support of ongoing civil, military, and law enforcement operations;
  3. Work with the military, industry, the Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and other stakeholders to seek fair and equitable solutions to challenges created by UAV operations in the U.S. National Air Space (NAS);
  4. Support our world-class industrial base that engineers, develops, manufactures, and tests unmanned systems creating thousands of American jobs;
  5. Support policies and budgets that promote a larger, more robust national security unmanned system capability.

This is not without criticism that links the actions of federal lawmakers with lobbying efforts.  Still, this brings attention to the issue of UAVs and contributes to a needed debate about the technology.