There’s A Caucus For That: Unmanned Systems

A Northrop Grumman-made and U.S. Navy operated Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft sits in a hangar on July 31 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. (AFP Photo by Paul J. Richards)

There’s a smartphone app for that. And that. And lots of things. Well, in the United States Congress, there’s probably a caucus for that issue. And that one, too. And most things.

There is a Congressional Bourbon Caucus and a Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus. The House has a Beef Caucus, and Oceans Caucus. Most Intercepts readers probably are well versed in the activities of the House Aerospace Caucus.

Across the Capitol Campus, the Senate has a Special Operations Forces Caucus and a Shellfish Caucus. Since 2010, the upper chamber has had its own Aerospace Caucus.

In short, whenever an issue becomes a big deal for long enough, an ample number of lawmakers and industry officials typically decide that issue needs a group to advocate for it on Capitol Hill.

So we now present to you: The Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems Caucus, launched this week by Sens. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Among the first to announce the news was the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the top trade association for remotely operated systems.

The caucus “will enable AUVSI to work with the Senate and stakeholders on the important issues that face the unmanned systems community as the expanded use of the technology transitions to the civil and commercial markets,” AUVSI President & CEO Michael Toscano said in a Sept. 28 statement.

Over in the House, there already is an Unmanned Systems Caucus.

In late July, Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro told reporters in Washington that there is “an intense interest” among U.S. allies to buy drone aircraft.

The Fairfax, Va.-based Teal Group expects the global unmanned aircraft market should double during the next decade. The consultancy estimates $3.2 billion in global drone sales for 2013, projecting that level will grow to $6.6 billion by 2021.

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett