National Security Member Committee


Inaugural Program/Site Visit

AeroVironment, Inc.


Program Synopsis:

On March 10, 2011, forty Pacific Council members visited the Simi Valley campus of AeroVironment, Inc. ("AV").  AV is an acknowledged leader in small unmanned aerial systems ("UAS"), including a miniaturized "Nano Hummingbird" aircraft that was recently produced under contract from DARPA.  The members received presentations from the company's President, Tim Conver; Head of Unmanned Systems, Tom Herring; and Director of Investor Relations, Steve Gitlin.  Those leaders discussed the company's decision to go public in 2007, the company's current business strategy, and how the company nurtures a climate of innovation.  After these presentations, members then heard from Loyola Law School Professor David Glazier.  Glazier is a law of war expert who has focused much of his research on the legality of UAS, including the lethal strikes that the United States is conducting in Pakistan.  Glazier shared with members a legal analysis that he provided to the U.S. Congress last spring, which included a warning that there were serious legal disadvantages to the CIA conducting lethal drone strikes (as opposed to the military doing so).  And in light of recent events in Pakistan, Prof. Glazier was able to discuss the case of CIA contractor Raymond Davis and the problems that now poses for U.S.-Pakistan diplomacy.  The evening afforded an in-depth exploration of a new wave for military and intelligence aviation that is headquartered here in Southern California.  It also made for a very stimulating melding of science, business and law. Prepared by Robert Begland, Event Organizer & Member, NSMC Steering Committee

Program Overview:

The National Security Member Committee (NSMC) organized a visit to AeroVironment, Inc. (AV), a southern California technology company that designs and manufactures unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and electric vehicle charging systems. This visit built on an earlier Pacific Council event with author Peter Singer (Wired for War), who discussed the significance of robotic and unmanned systems for modern warfare and intelligence-gathering. This was a compelling, in-depth exploration of UAS technology and its applications.

Below are some reading and viewing materials on issues that were discussed during the visit:

This event was organized by Mr. Robert Begland, a Partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, and a member of the NSMC’s Steering Committee. Mr. Steven Myers, the President & CEO of Dolphin Capital Holdings, Inc., serves as Committee Chair.

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