Seeing Eye Drones: How the DoD can Transform CBRN and Disaster Response in the Homeland

The threat of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) disasters is one of the most dangerous threats to the homeland. The United States has an opportunity to harness emerging technology to increase responder safety and improve situational awareness for civil authorities during response to natural or manmade CBRN disasters. In his thesis, Matt Jonkey, Commander of the 92nd Civil Support Team at the Nevada National Guard, explores the possibility of integrating small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) with video capability and CBRN detection and identification sensors for use by National Guard civil support teams.

Existing policy and doctrine are insufficient to accommodate the fielding of such a capability. This thesis identifies and discusses these gaps. This thesis also conducts an analysis of similar Department of Defense and other national UAS policy and programs and offers recommendations to implement a new domestic sUAS policy. The recommendations provide the framework for implementing an innovative technology while addressing complicated issues, such as national airspace system integration, intelligence oversight, and training programs.

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