Session Description

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UAS Panel - Where are we headed? A Look at Future Challenges and Trends


1400 - 1500


With questions looming around sequestration, troop withdrawals, access to airspace, privacy and so many other issues that impact the UAS industry, we assembled a leading group of experts to engage in a lively debate about how the UAS industry could evolve over the next decade from both a military and commercial perspective. Discussion items will include a look at key technologies, emerging UAS applications, technological challenges and other emerging issues that will inevitably shape the future of the industry.  For 60 minutes Dr. Missy Cummings, ONR, Dr. P.W. Singer, The Brookings Institute, Dr. Mike Francis, United Technologies Research Corporation and Mr. Dyke Weatherington, OUSD AT&L will be discussing and debating the future potential for the UAS industry including technology challenges to overcome and applications that are just emerging.  



Col. (Ret.) Eric S. Mathewson, director, Business Development for Unmanned Systems, The Boeing Company

As the Director of Strategy and Market Development for Missiles and Unmanned Airborne Systems (MUAS) at The Boeing Company, Eric Mathewson is responsible for developing, implementing and directing marketing and strategic planning activities for all of Boeing’s weapons and unmanned products worldwide. Prior to joining Boeing, Mathewson was the Director of the U.S. Air Force Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force, the focal point for all Air Force unmanned systems’ planning, development and operational employment.  In addition to leading the writing and implementation of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Plan, his organization was the Air Force’s primary interface with the Office of the Secretary Defense and the Joint Staff for all things unmanned. Prior to that assignment, Mathewson served in numerous command positions, to include as the Commander of the 432nd and 57th Operations Groups, where he led six active duty and six Air Reserve Component attack and reconnaissance squadrons that flew the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft in training and combat operations around the globe.  He also served in numerous combat tours in both Central America and Southwest Asia as a Fighter Pilot and Air Liaison Officer.


Dr. Peter W. Singer, senior fellow and director, Brookings 21st Century Defense Initiative

Dr. Singer is the youngest scholar named senior fellow in Brookings' 90-year history. He has received mention on CNN’s "New Guard" List of the next generation of newsmakers, the Smithsonian Institution’s list of 100 “leading innovators in the nation,” and Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list. Singer previously served as coordinator of the Obama 2008 campaign’s defense policy task force, as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense and the FBI, and as advisor to a host of entertainment programs.

Dr. Singer is considered one of the world's leading experts on 21st century warfare. He was named by the President to Joint Forces Command's Transformation Advisory Group and is a columnist for Armed Forces Journal. He has written for the full range of media and journals, including the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Washington Post and Foreign Affairs. He has delivered talks to the U.S. Congress and more than 60 universities around the world. Singer has provided commentary on military affairs for nearly every major television and radio outlet, including ABC-Nightline, Al Jazeera, BBC, CBS-60 Minutes, CNN, FOX, NPR and the NBC Today Show.

His first book Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell University Press, 2003) pioneered the study of the new industry of private companies providing military services for hire. It was named book of the year by the American Political Science Association, ranked in the Gelber Prize’s top five international affairs books of the year, and was featured in Businessweek’s list of “Top Ten Summer Reads.”

Dr. Singer’s next book, Children at War (Pantheon, 2005), explored the rise of another new force in modern warfare, child soldier groups. It was featured as the 2006 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book of the Year Award.

Dr. Singer’s most recent book, Wired for War (Penguin, 2009), looked at the political, ethical and legal implications of robotics and other new warfare technologies. Described as “awesome” by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, Wired for War made The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list in its first week of release and was named a nonfiction book of the year by The Financial Times.
Prior to his current position, Dr. Singer was the founding director of the Project on U.S. Policy Toward the Islamic World at Brookings. He has also held positions at Harvard University, the Balkans Task Force in the U.S. Department of Defense, and the International Peace Academy. Singer received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University and a B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.


Dr. Missy Cummings, program officer,  Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System, Office of Naval Research, U.S. Navy

Dr. Mary (Missy) Cummings is the program officer for the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS)  Office of Naval Research (ONR) Innovative Naval Prototype. A former Naval A-4 and F/A-18 pilot, she is also a professor in the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics department and the director of the MIT Humans and Automation Laboratory.


Mr. Dyke Weatherington, deputy director, Unmanned Warfare, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) AT&L

Mr. Weatherington is responsible for acquisition oversight of DoD Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and manned ISR aircraft systems. UAS programs include the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System (Demonstrator), Global Hawk, Triton, Predator, Gray Eagle, Reaper, Shadow, Fire Scout, many small UAS, and the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance system. For ISR, Mr. Weatherington’s portfolio includes the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, Rivet Joint, U-2, Liberty, and Guard Rail Common Sensor. Mr. Weatherington is also the functional lead for the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed UAS Task Force that serves as a forum for the military departments to collaborate on UAS initiatives and resolve issues. He also serves as chairman of the multi-agency (DoD, FAA, DHS, and NASA) UAS Executive Committee Senior Steering Group that addresses UAS access to the National Airspace System for its members.


Dr. Michael S. Francis, chief advanced programs & senior fellow, United Technologies Research Center

As Chief, Advanced Programs and a Senior Fellow at United Technologies Research Center, Dr. Francis is responsible for leading the center’s Initiative in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems.

Dr. Francis’ experience in unmanned aeronautical systems began during his first assignment at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where then Colonel Francis initiated or led a number of pioneering R&D programs including the Unmanned Tactical Aircraft program, which later became the original DARPA-USAF Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) Program. Almost a decade later, he served as the Program Director of its successor, the $4B Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) Program.

Dr. Francis’ twenty-seven year military career spanned the spectrum of aviation and space research and development. During his last assignment at the Pentagon’s Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO), Francis led the development of the DOD’s first integrated air-space surveillance architecture in collaboration with the National Reconnaissance Office. After retiring from active duty, he became the first president of Athena Technologies. He also served as an executive with Lockheed Martin and General Atomics, as well as a senior executive civil servant during his second tenure at DARPA.