Army Drone Branch Gains Traction in House Subcommittee

Proposal for New Army Branch Advances

A new proposal from the House Armed Services Committee's Tactical and Land Forces Subcommittee suggests creating a dedicated Army drone branch. This move aims to professionalize drone operations and elevate their importance within the Army's organizational structure.

Elevating Drone Operations

The U.S. Army, which currently has 22 branches covering various military specialties, may soon add a 23rd focused solely on drones. This proposed branch would not only handle drone operations but also counter-drone activities. A congressional staffer reportedly explained, “The branch would address not only small UASs—unmanned aerial systems—but also counter-small-UAS capabilities,” reflecting lessons from and aligning with international trends.

Lessons from Ukraine

The idea draws heavily on experiences from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, where drones have played a crucial role. Ukraine established its own drone branch in February, setting a precedent that the U.S. Army is now looking to follow.

“It's reflective of the lessons learned in Ukraine and also reflective of what our international partners are doing,” the staffer noted.

Enhancing Training and Innovation

Designating drones as a separate branch is expected to improve specialized training, foster innovation, and enable targeted recruitment of drone operators. Senior officers would lead this new branch, focusing on training and modernizing drone capabilities. Currently, drone training occurs at various locations, including the Maneuver Center of Excellence and the Joint Counter Small Unmanned Aerial Systems University.

Funding Unfunded Priorities

The subcommittee's NDAA proposal also aims to fund three critical counter-drone initiatives from the Army's unfunded priority list, totaling $350 million. These investments are crucial for enhancing the Army's counter-drone capabilities in the face of evolving threats.

Establishing an Electronic Warfare Center

In addition to the drone branch, the proposal includes establishing an Electronic Warfare Center of Excellence within the Army Training and Doctrine Command. This move underscores the growing importance of electronic warfare, particularly highlighted by the vulnerabilities exposed in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, where U.S. precision weapons have been compromised by Russian electronic warfare.

The proposed Army drone branch represents a significant step toward modernizing military capabilities and addressing contemporary warfare challenges. By professionalizing drone operations and enhancing counter-drone measures, the Army aims to stay ahead of emerging threats and maintain its competitive edge on the global stage. The proposal's adoption seems likely, signaling a shift in military strategy and training focus for the future.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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