Remotely Piloted Aircraft: An Integrated Domestic Disaster Relief Plan   [open pdf - 648KB]

From the Abstract: "How should government agencies integrate remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) into emergency response plans in support of relief efforts following a major disaster? […] The Department of Defense (DOD) should coordinate with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to integrate its RPAs into incident management plans in support of domestic disaster relief efforts. Some DOD agencies have developed concepts of operations and employment for defense support of civil authorities (DSCA). Based on a presidential directive in mid-2011, FEMA is reassessing its disaster response system by rewriting its doctrine and developing a full-spectrum preparedness program. With Congress's approval of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the FAA is not only funded, but also energized to substantially improve its efforts to integrate RPAs into the national airspace system (NAS). All these efforts present a critical window of opportunity where agencies should capitalize to integrate RPAs into the NAS, even if only temporarily. First, FEMA should integrate RPA support into its incident management systems, be familiar with their contributions, and be able to interoperate with them during a major disaster response. Furthermore, the FAA should establish RPA deconfliction procedures for immediate and temporary use in a disaster-stricken area. Finally, DOD crews should be trained to successfully complete the mission of supporting civil agencies in any domestic disaster response. These activities combine to ensure that the most capable assets are employed to effectively react to national emergencies."

Report Number:
Wright Flyer Paper no.49
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
The Air University: http://www.au.af.mil/
Media Type:
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