Former Marine General Will Run US Navy’s UAV Efforts

The Navy's unmanned X-47B receives fuel from an Omega K-707 tanker while operating in the Atlantic Test Ranges over the Chesapeake Bay. This test marked the first time an unmanned aircraft refueled in flight.

U.S. Navy photo

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The Navy's unmanned X-47B receives fuel from an Omega K-707 tanker while operating in the Atlantic Test Ranges over the Chesapeake Bay. This test marked the first time an unmanned aircraft refueled in flight.

The new deputy assistant secretary will work closely with the new rapid development, prototyping and demonstration directorate.

Frank Kelley, a retired Marine Corps brigadier general, will lead U.S. Navy efforts to develop and deploy unmanned systems, Navy officials said Tuesday.

Kelley, whose military career included a stint running unmanned programs at Marine Corps Systems Command, will become deputy assistant Navy secretary for unmanned systems, a new post announced four months ago by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. He will work closely with Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, who runs the service’s new directorate for rapid development, prototyping and demonstration of unmanned warfare systems.

Mabus is expected to announce Kelley’s appointment today at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems Defense 2015 conference at Pentagon City. He will also highlight the growing role of unmanned technology by both allies and enemies, according to prepared remarks provided by the Navy.

“This technology is being developed swiftly in the commercial world around us, both for good and of course, with more nefarious intentions, by our adversaries. We absolutely cannot afford to lose in this realm,” the secretary will say.

Read Mabus’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, here.

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