Department of Homeland Security's Common Unmanned Aircraft System Site opens in Mississippi



The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Common Unmanned Aircraft System Site has opened in Mississippi at the Camp Shelby military post.

Acting DHS Undersecretary William Bryan says that the UAS Support facility, which cost $72 million, is the only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center in the country.

“This is a great day for Mississippi,” Bryan says through the Hattiesburg American.

According to Bryan, the site has several goals, including improving the security and safety of the country’s borders, conducting search and rescue operations, and helping during natural disasters.

The site will also be used to help protect the privacy and rights of U.S. citizens.

The site provides a variety of scenarios for testing, including but not limited to villages, active shooting ranges and maritime situations.

The Navy’s Singing River Island facility in the Gulf of Mexico is also nearby.

Bryan says that it is important for operators to be fully knowledgeable on how to use UAS. Operators have to be able to showcase their skills when controlling UAS, and the UAS must be capable of completing all types of tasks, from simple activities to very complex ones.

During the opening of the site, along with DHS' Science and Technology Directorate and Mississippi State University (MSU), Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center demonstrated how it tests and evaluates small UAS and their operators.

For MSU President Mark Keenum, he is excited about the work that continues to take place within the UAS industry in the state of Mississippi.

“It's an important technology for all of us here in the state,” Keenum says.

“It's a national research center for unmanned technology. And students will have the opportunity to be invested in this new, budding field.”

Customers and partners of the site, which come from the public and private sectors, include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and first responders from around the country and across the world.

Customers and partners of the site have already invested in it, and are expected to continue to do so.