Dayton gets boost from committee for UAV testing

By Jessica Wehrman, Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The Dayton region’s chances of becoming a center for research and testing of unmanned aircraft got a boost on Thursday after a key Senate committee passed a defense bill that also would prevent cuts at the Springfield Air National Guard Base.

The Senate Armed Services Committee passed a bill that included a measure aimed at increasing coordination between federal agencies for research in unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Dayton-Springfield area is positioning itself to offer air space for UAVs, and the provision is aimed ultimately at boosting the region’s chances of becoming a test site for unmanned aircraft. The measure was pushed by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a member of the Armed Services Committee, but also supported by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

The defense bill includes a measure that aims to provide greater security to the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The provision would direct the Defense Department to perform a thorough review of its specialized degree-granting programs in engineering, science and management to ensure institutions are being used to their fullest potential.