Skydio Launches National Security Advisory Board with Top Defense Experts

Skydio, a US-based drone manufacturer, has announced the formation of its National Security Advisory Board, featuring a group of experts in defense and military technology. The board aims to guide 's strategy and tactics in the rapidly growing defense sector.

Skydio's Role in the Future of Autonomous Drones

As a pioneer in autonomous flight, Skydio claims to recognize the critical role it can play in shaping the future of battlefield tactics. CEO and co-founder Adam Bry emphasized the importance of the advisory board, stating:

“It is a distinct honor to welcome this incredible group of veterans, experts, and leaders as founding members of Skydio's National Security Advisory Board. Their expertise and perspective will play an important role as Skydio expands its business in the global defense sector, bringing autonomous drones to US and allied soldiers on the battlefield and bases around the world. The best way to predict the future is to invent it, and with this stellar advisory board we're well-equipped to invent and build the future of flying robots here in America.”

Advisory Board Members

The Skydio National Security Advisory Board includes:

  • General ( Ret.) Austin “Scott” Miller, a legendary combat leader who served in the U.S. Army for nearly four decades
  • Dr. Nadia Schadlow, a preeminent strategist and former Deputy National Security Advisor
  • Peter W. Singer, a visionary military futurist and senior fellow at New America
  • Lieutenant General ( Ret.) Kirk Pierce, former Commander of the Continental U.S. NORAD Region and First Air Force
  • Major General (Royal Australian Army Ret.) Mick Ryan, AM, an internationally recognized expert on the future of warfare

These members bring invaluable experience and collective wisdom to guide Skydio's development in the defense space.

DroneXL's Take

While Skydio's formation of a National Security Advisory Board is a significant development for the U.S. , it's important to take a closer look at the company's lobbying efforts and the potential implications for the broader drone market.

Skydio has been actively lobbying for policies that favor American-made drones, such as Representative Elise Stefanik's Countering CCP Drones Act. While the goal of reducing reliance on Chinese-made drones is understandable from a national security perspective, it's worth considering whether such policies could lead to a less competitive and innovative drone industry in the long run.


By positioning itself as the go-to American drone manufacturer for military and government contracts, Skydio may be able to secure a significant market share. However, this could come at the cost of reduced competition and potentially slower technological advancement in the industry as a whole.

It's also crucial to consider the ethical implications of autonomous drones in warfare. As the technology continues to evolve, there must be ongoing discussions about the appropriate use of these systems and the potential risks they pose.

While Skydio's National Security Advisory Board brings together an impressive group of experts, it remains to be seen how their insights will be applied in practice. Will the company prioritize transparency and accountability in its dealings with the military, or will commercial interests take precedence?

As the future of warfare continues to evolve, it's essential that the development and deployment of autonomous is approached with caution and a commitment to ethical principles. Skydio's actions in the coming years will play a significant role in shaping this landscape, and close scrutiny of their lobbying efforts and military partnerships will be necessary to ensure that the public interest is being served.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, 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 @ or @hayekesteloo.

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  1. I think you need to find a different straw man because DJI spent more on lobbing last year ($1.6M – link below) than Skydio has in the past 4 years combined. In the past 5 years Skydio has spent $1.77M on lobbying whereas DJI spent $6.48M. If anyone spent 5 minutes researching Skydio’s US Government efforts you’d see much is spent on the highly regulated beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) functionality so that their customers can fly drones out of docks autonomously and without a pilot, which is the core of their business. I’m also positive that Skydio’s involvement in AVUSI and other US Government business is to stay ahead of all of the crazy rules, regulations, and laws that are being proposed so that their customers can stay flying.

    Meanwhile, DJI has had several security and privacy issues that had their customers side-loading apps onto their phones because DJI got banned from the Google and Apple apps stores in 2017 for bypassing security and privacy controls in their DJIGo app. DJI was then; removed from all US DoD in 2019, added to the US Security Entity list in 2020, and categorized as a Chinese military company in 2022 by the US DoD. DJI has done little to nothing to address multiple security and privacy issues other than sending out their PR people to say verifiably false information, and threatening security researchers when they report security and privacy issues.

    In my opinion people like Haye Kesteloo and Russ51 know this and are being intellectually dishonest in their reporting. DroneXL and most of their reporters are shills for DJI that avoided reporting on how serious the above DJI problems were for almost a decade so that they could keep their readers heads buried in the sand and then cry when DJI could unsurprisingly be the next; ZTE, Huawei, Hytera, Hikvision, or Dahua, that are now banned in several countries for doing the same thing DJI has done for a decade. I also think it is very possible that these DJI reporter and influencer shills receive DJI drones to test and keep for the low low price of not reporting on DJI’s issues and reporting false information as “opinions” on the largest US drone company based on whispers from their DJI handlers.

    • Thank you for your comment raising important concerns about Skydio’s lobbying efforts and their impact on the drone industry. While DroneXL aims to be objective, you make points that are worth addressing with additional facts and context.

      It’s true that Skydio has engaged in significant lobbying to influence drone regulations in the US. According to, Skydio spent $560,000 on lobbying in 2023 alone, much of it aimed at restricting Chinese drone makers like DJI. While Skydio frames this as a national security issue, critics argue it’s more about eliminating their biggest competitor.

      This lobbying has real consequences. Bans and restrictions on DJI drones don’t just hurt that one company – they limit options and raise costs for drone users across public safety, infrastructure, energy and other industries. Losing access to DJI’s large product ecosystem forces many to switch to Skydio’s much pricier offerings.

      During a Florida Senate hearing, several first responders testified about problems with Skydio’s “Blue sUAS” drones, saying they are more expensive, harder to use, and less reliable than DJI models. One Senator even accused a state official of “pimping for Skydio.” Switching drone fleets is costing Florida taxpayers over $200 million.

      Skydio defends its practices, but its recent financial moves raise eyebrows. In August 2023, it suddenly exited the consumer drone market to focus exclusively on military and enterprise, where its political connections give it an edge. Some even suggest that Skydio had inside knowledge of an impending DJI ban.

      Skydio also faces new competitive threats as other US drone startups enter the market, spurred by the opportunities created by Skydio’s anti-DJI lobbying. So while Skydio may benefit in the short term, the blowback to its controversial tactics could hurt the company and its reputation in the long run.

      The drone industry thrives on open competition and innovation. Policies that restrict the market based on country of origin, rather than product quality and performance, ultimately harm end users and hold back progress. With lives on the line in search and rescue and public safety, first responders need the best tools for the job, regardless of where they are made.

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