Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., has signed Executive Order 43, which establishes the Virginia Unmanned Systems Commission, charged with bringing public- and private-sector experts together to make recommendations on how to make Virginia the national leader in unmanned systems.
According to the office of the governor, the commonwealth of Virginia is home to the eighth largest concentration of unmanned system firms in the nation, and the new commission will be a key asset in charting the way forward to grow the industry and create new jobs and economic opportunities.
Virginia – at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg – is home to one of the six Federal Aviation Administration-designated UAS test sites.
‘Capitalizing on Virginia’s advantages in the unmanned systems industry is key to building a new Virginia economy,’ says McAuliffe.
The commission will consist of the secretaries of Technology, Commerce and Trade, Education, Veterans and Defense Affairs; two representatives from the Virginia Congressional Delegation; and 11 citizen members whose background shall include relevant expertise to be appointed by the governor. The governor will designate a chairman and vice chairman from among the appointed members and may appoint additional persons to the commission at his discretion.
Duties of the commission include the following:
- Identify the state of all unmanned systems industries in Virginia;
- Identify industry challenges and needs that may be met with Virginia assets;
- Provide recommendations that will encourage the development of the unmanned systems industry in Virginia;
- Develop a value proposition for Virginia that will provide a basis for marketing the state to the current unmanned systems industry and that will position Virginia for emerging needs and applications within that industry;
- Provide an interim report to the governor of recommendations by Nov. 30; and
- Submit an annual report giving its findings, as well as any other reports as either the commission or the governor deem necessary.