This week's launch of a UCAS demonstrator (X-47B) was a good week for the Navy--a really good week. To the extent that anyone pays attention to what the Navy does these days, this achievement has captured imaginations and has helped to reinforce the notion (fact) that the Navy is indeed moving forward with important technologies even in a time of scarcity. Whether this continues or not is an open question, but for the moment, we all have something to nod approvingly about.
Here's something you don't read often from me--I am going to give the Secretary of the Navy credit for something.
He has made investing in unmanned technologies a priority of his term from day 1. He has set aggressive--yet achievable--goals for integration of unmanned capability into the Carrier Air Wing. He has--through this prioritization--been able to fence off a number of important unmanned initiatives from cuts that some in the Navy would have gladly administered in order to keep their pet programs more fully funded. And while I remain convinced that he has squandered much of his term in the pursuit of side-shows that don't meaningfully contribute to American Seapower, his emphasis on unmanned systems in all domains will be something upon which he can stake a legacy someday.