DefenseScoop reports that Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks unveiled a plan to scale the deployment of uncrewed and autonomous systems in the U.S. military, “at a scale of multiple thousands, in multiple domains,” over the next two years.
The program, called “Replicator,” will be led by Hicks, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Christopher Grady, and supported by Doug Beck.
Drone advocacy group the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) commented on the program, saying that Replicator may help both the military and commercial drone industry.
“Support for a strong and secure domestic autonomous systems industry represents a strategic imperative in the new era of strategic global competition. DoD programs across all domains have identified uncrewed systems as essential tools for strategic deterrence and the future of warfare, and we applaud Secretary Hicks for taking bold action to get these tools into the hands of our warfighters,” said Chief Advocacy Officer Michael Robbins.
In addition to benefiting the warfighting capabilities of the United States, DoD investment in these platforms will boost the domestic industrial base, spurring job creation and advanced research and development.
AUVSI strongly supports the announced goals of Replicator to overcome acquisition challenges and swiftly field capable, advanced tools. We are also heartened to hear that the initiative will engage DIU and urge DoD to invest in dual-use commercial and defense systems. AUVSI will continue to work with the Pentagon and leaders across the service branches and Congress to support programs that deliver the benefits of autonomy to warfighters.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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