The U.S. Navy has disestablished the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Unmanned Systems (DASN UxS) a mere two and a half years after standing it up in October 2015.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN RDA) James Geurts marked DASN UxS as disestablished effective May 7, according to a memo. The personnel, programs, and projects under the office will transition to the appropriate product DASNs.

The X-47B landing on a carrier. Photo: Navy
The X-47B landing on a carrier. Photo: Navy

Geurts wrote that the successful completion and submission of the Navy’s comprehensive Unmanned Systems Roadmap to Congress marks the completion of the initial task the department received from a Nov. 13, 2017, Secretary of the Navy memo, “Treat Unmanned as Unmanned (TUAU).”

That memo noted unmanned systems are inherently different from manned counterparts and said the Navy would accelerate the development and fielding of unmanned systems by identifying manned system requirements relevant to the development of unmanned systems, publish a Navy Department roadmap for unmanned systems, and develop “aggressive goals” for the acceleration of the service’s unmanned systems.

Guerts said it is now a “logical point to move forward as expressed in our Goals and Roadmap. Both documents state that the integration of manned and unmanned systems into a seamless fighting force is an objective of our unmanned systems strategy and critical to our future naval force.”

DASN UxS was first set up by Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy under the Obama administration, in Oct. 2015. Mabus appointed retired Marine Brig. Gen. Frank Kelley to the DASN role and also assigned Rear Adm. Robert Girrier to lead the new N99 office as director for unmanned warfare systems to help centralize leadership on unmanned programs and reflect their new level of priority (Defense Daily, Oct. 28, 2015).

The TUAU memo said the Navy would establish the positions of N99 and DASN UxS to accelerate the integration of unmanned systems.

N99 was previously eliminated in February 2017, with the office merging with the director of warfare integration (OPNAV N91).

Geurts wrote that DASN UxS’ work, by satisfying the TUAU directive, provides a good base to build upon and “that work continues, but that work, to integrate unmanned systems into all that we do, now belongs to all of us.”