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US Senators Form Bipartisan Caucus on UAVs

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AUVSI Welcomes Formation of Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems Caucus

(Source: AUVSI; issued Sept. 28, 2012)

ARLINGTON, Va. --- Today the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) welcomed the announcement from Capitol Hill that Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) formed the Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems Caucus.

The mission of the bipartisan caucus will be to educate senators and staffers on the capabilities of unmanned systems and work closely together to best shape the unmanned systems policymaking process.

“I would like to commend Senators Inhofe and Manchin for their leadership and commitment in establishing the caucus, which 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,” said AUVSI President & CEO Michael Toscano. “It is our hope to establish the same open dialogue with the Senate caucus as we have for the past three years with the House Unmanned Systems Caucus.”

Unmanned systems extend human potential, allowing us to execute dangerous or difficult tasks safely and efficiently. Whether bolstering search and rescue efforts; studying and aiding in natural and man-made disasters; or supporting security missions and protecting the environment, unmanned systems are capable of saving time, saving money and, more importantly, saving lives.

“I am enthusiastic about the announcement that Senator Manchin (D-W.V.) and I were able to introduce and will co-chair the Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems Caucus,” said Sen. Inhofe. “The caucus will help educate senators and staff on the importance of all unmanned systems, including air, land and sea-based platforms. Federal policies and legislation relating to unmanned systems are still in its infancy and concerns of the platforms need to be addressed. This caucus will help develop and direct responsible policy to best serve the interests of U.S. national defense and emergency response, and work to address any concerns from senators, staff and their constituents. I hope that all of our colleagues in the Senate will join and participate in this bipartisan caucus.”

Over the next decade, there will be an exponential growth in unmanned systems technology and operations. Congress will play a critical role in writing and passing laws that will set policy, direct oversight and provide direction for unmanned systems integration, development and utilization. The Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems Caucus will serve as a venue to discuss issues.

“The increased use of unmanned aerial systems carries great potential – and great risk,” Sen. Manchin said. “It’s important for all of us to understand how we can use this advancing technology to strengthen our national security and improve our ability to respond in case of natural or man-made disasters, while at the same time ensuring the privacy of all of our law-abiding American citizens. I am so appreciative of Senator Inhofe’s work on this issue, and I look forward to working together in a bipartisan way to keep our colleagues updated on the emerging policy issues involving this technology.”

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics technology— represents 7,000 members from 60 allied countries and 2,500 organizations involved in the fields of government, industry and academia.