112th Congress                                                  Report
2d Session                                                     112-173

                        ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2013

                              R E P O R T

                         [to accompany s. 3254]

                      COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                  June 4, 2012.--Ordered to be printed


Interagency collaboration on unmanned aircraft systems (sec. 1046)

    The committee recommends a provision that would: (1) amend 
section 1036(a) of the Duncan Hunter National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417) to 
encourage technical collaboration and sharing of personnel, 
resources, and information among the Department of Defense 
(DOD), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); (2) 
direct the Secretary of Defense to collaborate with the FAA and 
NASA Administrators on solutions to the challenges of unmanned 
aerial system (UAS) integration into the National Airspace 
System (NAS); and (3) require the Secretary of Defense to 
provide an annual report for a period of 5 years on the 
progress of research and development for UAS NAS integration 
and future funding requirements.
    UASs have clearly demonstrated their immense value to DOD 
military capabilities in the global war on terrorism. 
Increasingly, UASs are contributing to missions of other 
agencies and departments within the United States. Large 
numbers of UASs now deployed overseas may be returned to the 
United States as the conflict in Afghanistan and operations 
elsewhere wind down in coming years, and new UASs are under 
development. Without the ability to operate freely and 
routinely in the NAS, UAS development and training--and 
ultimately operational capabilities--will be severely impacted.
    As the committee has noted repeatedly in previous years, 
DOD's leadership belatedly realized how important and difficult 
UAS NAS integration would be. While progress has been made in 
the last 5 years, the pace of development must be accelerated; 
greater cross-agency collaboration and resource sharing will 
contribute to that objective.
    DOD has invested significantly in resolving the technical 
challenges of UAS NAS integration, and this research and 
development and associated resources should be utilized for the 
benefit of this government-wide initiative, where applicable. 
The committee is encouraged by the relationship built between 
DOD, the FAA, and NASA for coordinating research and 
development and planning for this integration. The committee 
also recognizes the contribution that the Joint Planning and 
Development Office's (JDPO) report, ``NextGen Unmanned Aircraft 
Systems Research, Development and Demonstration Roadmap,'' 
dated March 15, 2012, has made by providing a multi-agency 
perspective on the technology required to enable UAS operations 
and integration in the next-generation NAS. The committee 
supports and encourages a deeper collaborative relationship 
between DOD and its JPDO partners to expedite development of 
the necessary technologies and to avoid redundant activities.