The use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States’ counterterrorism measures has come under intense scrutiny, most prominently during Sen. Rand Paul’s marathon filibuster on March 6. Sen. Paul raised the issue with regard to the Obama Administration potentially using the tactic within the legal boundaries of the United States, and against American citizens abroad.
Of course, Sen. Paul and the media at large rarely use the term “unmanned aerial vehicle.” In the course of Sen. Paul’s filibuster, he used the term precisely once. He said “drone” 245 times. Now the President and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Michael Toscano, is taking issue. The drone industry spokesman got into a contentious exchange with Sen. Patrick Leahy in a hearing on Wednesday:
You have probably noticed that I do not use the term “drone.” The industry refers to the technology as unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, because they are more than just a pilotless vehicle . A UAS also includes the technology on the ground, with a human at the controls. As I like to say, there is nothing unmanned about an unmanned system.