Friday, April 20, 2012

I Don't Want to Believe This is Real

Presenting the U.S. House of Representatives Unmanned Systems Caucus! It's real. Not a joke. Here are the mission statement and goals:

Mission & Main Goals

The mission of the U.S. House Unmanned Systems Caucus is to educate members of Congress and the public on the strategic, tactical, and scientific value of unmanned systems; actively support further development and acquisition of more systems, and to more effectively engage the civilian aviation community on unmanned system use and safety.

As members of this Caucus, we:
  1. Acknowledge the overwhelming value of these systems to the defense, intelligence, homeland security, law enforcement, and the scientific communities;
     
  2. Recognize the urgent need to rapidly develop and deploy more Unmanned Systems in support of ongoing civil, military, and law enforcement operations;
     
  3. Work with the military, industry, the Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and other stakeholders to seek fair and equitable solutions to challenges created by UAV operations in the U.S. National Air Space (NAS);
     
  4. Support our world-class industrial base that engineers, develops, manufactures, and tests unmanned systems creating thousands of American jobs;
     
  5. Support policies and budgets that promote a larger, more robust national security unmanned system capability.

And the message from the Chairmen (remember, these are elected Representatives of actual people, not drones):

Chairmen's Message

We want to thank you for interest in this industry. This is an exciting and existing technology that will continue to grow, and improve our lives as public acceptance progresses. The Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus’ goal is to educate members of Congress on every facet of this industry. We are this industry’s voice on Capitol Hill, and will work closely with industry to ensure we continue to expand this sector through efficient government regulation and oversight. Thank you for visiting our page and please don't hesitate to contact us for further information. 
Sincerely,
Buck_Signature1.JPGCuellar Signature Final.jpg

H/T to James Fallows, who has more thoughts on this. It's nice of these elected representatives of actual people to serve as the industry's voice on Capitol Hill, especially since the Chair on the Unmanned Systems Committee is also the Chair of the Armed Forces Committee.

If the House were getting behind autonomous cars and driverless trains I may be supportive of this...

This is another example where public choice theory is applicable. I near as I can tell the whole plan here is to maximize the spending on and size of the program regardless of benefits.
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