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UND representatives attend DHS's Future UAS Threat Workshop at Camp Grafton Training Center

by David Dodds

Posted on 11/9/2018

UAS at Camp Grafton
The North Dakota National Guard's Camp Grafton Training Center is an ideal venue for UND UAS operators to conduct workshops, conferences and training exercises. The camp's unique capability to seamlessly move from conference room to a 10,000-acre field environment is possible thanks, in part, to agreements to conduct UAS research and testing with the North Plains UAS Test Site near Grand Forks.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) led an unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, workshop this week (Nov 6-7), which partnered private and government agencies at the North Dakota National Guard's Camp Grafton Training Center.

Attending the workshop were representatives of the University of North Dakota (UND); MIT-Lincoln Laboratories; Sandia National Laboratories; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and Aerospace Corp. The groups worked together to analyze and identify future threat UAS capabilities.

"This workshop focused on developing a whole-of-government approach to UAS security by partnering private industry, government and academia in defense of the nation," said Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, who chairs the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authority. "North Dakota continues to excel in UAS operations and this is a great venue to proceed with this important component of national security."

Some of the key participants from North Dakota during this week's workshop included Mark Askelson, of UND's Research Institute for Autonomous Systems; and Paul Snyder, head of UND Aerospace's UAS Program. Their involvement in the workshop highlighted North Dakota's position as a leader in UAS and counter-UAS technology.

"We are honored to bring UND's strengths in this emerging field to this team effort between industry, government, and academia," Askelson said. "This UAS workshop is vital to the future security of both North Dakota and the nation."

The next threat analysis iteration will be led by Aerospace Corp. in partnership with UND. This future UAS threat workshop is expected in North Dakota in autumn of 2019. Camp Grafton Training Center, located near Devils Lake, N.D., was selected by DHS S&T to host this workshop and will likely host annual workshops in the future.

"Our objective is to conduct an operational analysis that describes future UAS threat technology capabilities, looking out ten years," said conference organizer Jeffery Randorf (DHS S&T). "It is not an academic exercise or about documenting threat UAS capabilities for their own sake. Rather it's an aid to identifying where friendly counter-UAS systems' performance and operations will become denied, degraded and disoriented."

Each participating entity has specialty areas and unique expertise that will improve their contributions to analyzing UAS security. Their conclusions will be published in the DHS S&T annual report.

"Camp Grafton is an ideal venue for workshops and conferences of this nature," said Lt. Col. Mark Topp, Camp Grafton operations officer, "The camp's unique capability to seamlessly move from conference room to a 10,000-acre field environment is possible thanks in part to agreements to conduct UAS research and testing with the North Plains UAS Test Site."


Lee Nordin
Office of the Adjutant General
J-5/9, Policy and Strategy Branch

David L. Dodds
Editor, UND Today - UND's Official News Source
Media Relations Coordinator
Division of Academic Affairs
O: 701.777.5529 |M: 701.740.4834 |
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