Near Washington, D.C., in Leesburg, Virginia, is an innovative facility dedicated to testing, development, training, innovation, and demonstration of unmanned systems. The 66-acre Xelevate facility is the only formalized commercial drone testing location within an hour of the Nation’s Capitol.

This week the facility is hosting the 2023 Airspace Awareness and Protection Conference, building upon last year’s successful inaugural Counter-UAS industry event. This year’s event will be held June 7-8, 2023.

The conference includes several unique features, including informative panels on relevant topics to the Counter-UAS and airspace awareness and protection industry, networking opportunities, and live demonstrations of technology at Xelevate’s facility. The best part of the conference is that you can learn, network, and view live demonstrations outside, away from the office or online meetings. Weather for the conference is expected to be very favorable, with lows around 53 F and highs around 78 F.

It is not to late to register to attend this unique industry event.

Day 1- June 7, 2023

To start the day off right, the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation will host a networking breakfast at 0900. Virginia Unmanned Systems Center Director Tracy Tynan, and Virginia Public Safety Innovation Center Director Christopher Sadler will discuss their programs during the breakfast.

Day 1 will kick off with Keynote Speaker, Lt. General Jon M. Davis, who served for 37 years. Jon served in the United States Marine Corps for 37 years. He primarily flew the AV-8 Harrier, but also flew FA-18s, F-5s and all USMC helos, Tilt rotors, and C-130s.  Jon also served two tours at Ft Meade, the first as Deputy Commander Net Warfare and later as the Deputy Commander CYBERCOM.  Jon’s last tour was a Deputy Commandant for Aviation.  He is the Chairman and CEO of ADADEN Inc – an immersion data center company, and Chairman of Rolls Royce North America.

Day 1 will feature two panels under the theme, Counter-UAS Capabilities at a Glance- Where are we now and where are we going? Day 1 will feature two panels- The Power to Protect: Examining the Expansion of Counter-UAS Authorities, and UTM, AAM, RID, WTH? How to Tackle the Airspace Alphabet Soup.

The Power To Protect: Examining the Expansion of Counter-UAS Authorities

This panel will explore the thoughtful and logical expansion of authorities for the use of certain Counter-UAS technologies, tactics, and techniques in the homeland. There is no easy “one size fits all” solution. Protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure, assets, and mass gatherings must be balanced with the safety of the national airspace, the integrity of the radio frequency spectrum, and privacy and civil liberty considerations. Where are we now and what is our path forward? How do we manage the expectations of law enforcement agencies and critical infrastructure who are seeking to increase their airspace awareness and protection capabilities? 

The panel will feature officials from the National Security Council, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Federal Aviation Administration, and Xelevate.

UTM, AAM, RID, WTH? How To Tackle The Airspace Alphabet Soup

What is all of this, and why does it matter? What role will Unmanned Traffic System Management, Remote ID and Advanced Air Mobility play in airspace awareness and protection missions in, and around, our nation’s military bases, critical infrastructure, and urban areas? How do we de-conflict operations in the UTM when C-UAS operations are present?  When crewed and uncrewed flight operations are occurring? What should we be discussing and working on now to ensure we can protect important assets from the threat of nefarious drones without negatively impacting the quickly evolving use of UAS in the national airspace for commercial purposes? 

This panel will feature industry insiders from uAvionix, the Commercial Drone Alliance, the Federal Aviation Administration, Blue Halo, AeroVigilance, and UPS Flight Forward.

Other DAY 1 Events

Day 1 will also feature briefings from the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, Dedrone, AUVSI, AVID, Zephyr Drone Simulator, D-Fend Solutions, and, unstructured discussions and demos at sponsor booths, a Xelevate Flying Demo. The first day will end with a networking happy hour featuring One Family Brewing.

Day 2- June 8, 2023

Day 2 will start off with a networking breakfast, hosted by C-UAS Hub.

The theme of Day 2 is, Harnessing Data to Drive Intelligence and Security Operations. Day 2 will also feature two panels, Data is King: Maximizing the Value of Intelligence Through Effective Information Management and Integrating Drone Forensics into the Intelligence Cycle.

Data is King: Maximizing the Value of Intelligence Through Effective Information Management

The evolution of airspace awareness and protection tactics, techniques, and procedures cannot occur in a vacuum. To effectively evolve, relevant, appropriate, and timely information must be shared with private and government stakeholders. Both the consumption and sharing of information must occur between the intelligence community, training, research and development, government, industry product and service suppliers, critical infrastructure, and policymakers, to name a few. How do we break down the natural information and intelligence stovepipes that exist?  Get data to those it matters for at the speed of mission?  How can we share pertinent information with stakeholders without tipping our hand to nefarious actors? 

This panel will feature representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Edgesource, and the National Football League.

Integrating Drone Forensics into the Intelligence Cycle

As data becomes a critical element of successful flight operations, how do we “bake in, not bolt-on” the right processes to secure veritable data?  Few are focused on the importance of drone forensics, its role in the intelligence cycle, and how it impacts TTPs, technology, etc. In many ways, the federal government must manage the UAS threat like the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. When UAS-related evidence is legally acquired, there is an enormous amount of exploitation needed to take the data and organize, manage, and synthesize it.  Metadata needs to be identified, and chain of custody of such data needs to be established, especially if such data will be used in a court of law. Who is responsible for the evidence and the chain of custody?  How do we use all of this data in a proactive way to help for future threats? 

This panel will feature representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, URSA, Slingshot Aerospace, Valence Vector Labs, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and DHS- U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Other DAY 2 Events

Day 2 will also feature briefings from SkySafe, DroneShield, Hidden Level, TruWeather Solutions, a flight demonstration, unstructured demos and discussions at sponsor booths, and a briefing on Updates from the Warfront and Requirements for Ukraine by Evan Platt.

2023 Airspace Awareness And Protection Conference Sponsors

The 2023 Airspace Awareness and Protection Conference is sponsored by:

Stay tuned for more details later on this summer for the 2023 Drone Technology Summit and Air-Drone Show at Washington-Warren Airport in North Carolina. You won’t want to miss this high-profile industry event.

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