UAV Agreement Signed

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and his Army counterpart Gen. George Casey Jr. have approved the Army/Air Force multi-role unmanned aircraft system enabling concept that seeks to improve how each of the two service’s theater-capable, larger-sized UAVs are utilized in support of joint operations. “This is a major step forward,” said Maj. Gen. Frank Gorenc, Air Combat Command’s director for air and space operations. ACC worked with the Army Training and Doctrine Command over the course of the past year to develop the concept, dubbed Task 11, in response to direction emanating from last year’s Air Force-Army Chief of Staff-level warfighter’s talks. (Incidentally, Schwartz and Casey met earlier this month for the most recent iteration of these talks.) Task 11 provides guidance to both services on how to organize, train, and equip their UAV fleets to provide maximum flexibility in supporting a joint forces commander. At the same time, both will still be able to meet their own service-specific requirements. In the case of the Army, this means the ability to forward-deploy their UAVs as part of an organic ground force. For the Air Force, it is the ability to operate as part of an air-only strike package. Implementation of Task 11 is expected within one year. (Langley report by Elaine Belcher)