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A nation must think before it acts.
The success of unmanned aerial systems in Iraq and Afghanistan has engendered an expanding set of new missions for them. The main issue surrounding UAS today is not whether, but to what effect, these assets will be nurtured. The UAS’ operational requirements and technology have grown, but there remains no clear responsibility for overseeing development, and the service’s manned and unmanned communities disagree on the legitimacy and effectiveness of UAS. If existing managerial challenges are not addressed, institutionalizing UAS will become mired in intense international, industrial, and inter-service competition; more complex operational requirements; less qualified volunteers; and greater morale problems and career uncertainty.