Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, says he agrees with the idea that operational control of unmanned aerial vehicles flying above 3,500 feet should rest with a Joint Force Air Combat Commander, “normally an Air Force [officer].” Speaking with defense reporters in Washington Tuesday, Pace said that it’s “not a bad idea to take a look at all UAV operations, just to see who ought to be on the control stick, so to speak, for those operations.” He added that it makes “absolute good sense to me” that UAVs be deconflicted with other aircraft by virtue of being on the air tasking order. However, he avoided saying he agrees the Air Force should become DOD’s UAV executive agent. Instead, he expressed sympathy for other services that worry a move to eliminate duplication of effort will inadvertently “override the needs of the troops on the ground” by forcing all UAVs to carry “some kind of generic package” of sensors and other capabilities.
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.