October 27, 2015 / 7:50 PM / 4 years ago

US Navy announces new chief for unmanned systems

WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Retired Brigadier General Frank Kelley will be the first deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy for unmanned systems, the Navy said on Tuesday.

Kelley, a former Marine, has experience in electronic warfare and unmanned technology which makes him “perfectly qualified to lead this new enterprise,” said U.S Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, at an event in Virginia.

“My goal in creating the (post of deputy assistant secretary) for unmanned systems was to streamline our current programs and drive a strategy for development that is deliberate and thoughtful,” Mabus said.

In April, Mabus announced the creation of the position given the increasing importance of unmanned systems and the need for centralized leadership.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Mabus said the United States would have to get rid of “ever-expanding, ever-tightening coils of bureaucracy.” If it fails to do that, he added, other countries would be able to catch up to the United States’ military superiority.

“We absolutely cannot afford to lose in this realm,” he said.

Highlighting their importance, Mabus said an unmanned aircraft system, the Blackjack, being designed and built by a Boeing Co subsidiary, would deploy aboard San Antonio-class ships beginning in fiscal year 2016 to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. (Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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