Unmanned Systems Roadmap, 2007-2032Unmanned Systems Roadmap, 2007-2032 (PDF; 12 MB)
Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense
Today's military has seen an evolution in technology that is creating an entirely new capability to project power through the use of unmanned systems while reducing the risk to human life. The contributions of unmanned systems continue to increase. As of October 2006, coalition Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), exclusive of hand-launched systems, had flown almost 400,000 flight hours in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) had responded to over 11,000 Improvised Explosive Device (IED) situations, and Unmanned Maritime Systems (UMSs) had provided security to ports. As a result of these successes, the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) emphasized the importance of unmanned systems in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
Unmanned systems are highly desired by combatant commanders (COCOMs) for the many roles these systems can fulfill. Tasks such as mine detection; signals intelligence; precision target designation; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive (CBRNE) reconnaissance; and communications and data relay rank high among the COCOMs' interests. These unmanned capabilities have helped reduce the complexity and time lag in the "sensor" component of the sensor-to-shooter chain for prosecuting "actionable intelligence." Unmanned systems are changing the conduct of military operations in the GWOT by providing unrelenting pursuit combined with the elimination of threats to friendly forces; including injury, capture, or death.
As the Department of Defense (DoD) develops and employs an increasingly sophisticated force of unmanned systems over the next 25 years (2007 to 2032), technologists, acquisition officials, and operational planners require a clear, coordinated plan for the evolution and transition of unmanned systems technology. With the publication of this document, individual roadmaps and master plans for UASs, UGVs, and UMSs (defined as Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) and Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs)) have been incorporated into a comprehensive DoD Unmanned Systems Roadmap. This integrated Unmanned Systems Roadmap is the plan for future prioritization and funding of these systems development and technology, thus ensuring an effective return on the Department's investment. Its overarching goal, in accordance with the Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG), is to guide military departments and defense agencies toward logically and systematically migrating applicable mission capabilities to this new class of military tools. This Roadmap highlights the most urgent mission needs that are supported both technologically and operationally by various unmanned systems. These needs, listed below, should be considered when prioritizing future research, development, and procurement of unmanned systems technology to ensure an effective return on the Department's investment.