The executive director of the Indiana-based National Center for Complex Operations says “the eyes of the nation are on Indiana and Ohio” because of their potential for developing unmanned systems. Matt Konkler is one of the organizers of the Mid-America Defense Conference in Southern Indiana, underway in Scottsburg. He says efforts continue to land one of six federal drone test sites. September 16,2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The National Center for Complex Operations (NCCO) and Indiana State University (ISU) will host the upcoming Mid-America Defense Conference in Southern Indiana, showcasing the use of unmanned systems in national security, first response and many other applications. The event will bring together senior-level government and military officials, industry leaders and academic partners to discuss the future of this dynamic growth sector. The conference will take place on Sept. 18-19, at the Mid-America Science Park in Scottsburg, Ind. Those interested in attending can register at

The two-day event will provide a comprehensive look at emerging and future unmanned systems strategies and applications, and ways the government, academia and industry are working together. Unmanned systems is one of NCCO's key focus areas in addressing national security needs while developing Indiana’s economy.

“Unmanned systems are having a profound impact around the world well beyond the national security realm,” said Matt Konkler, NCCO executive director. “We are seeing applications in law enforcement, disaster response, Homeland Security, weather forecasting and even agriculture.”

The conference will also emphasize Indiana's unique set of defense assets. Most notably, Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC), an innovative, real-world urban training center complete with trained human assets and a full spectrum of testing sensors. MUTC allows for the most realistic training possible with almost immediate feedback to validate or adjust capabilities.

Academic partners are also a key component in addressing national security and first response needs. ISU's Center for Unmanned Systems and Human Capital Development offers the only unmanned systems program in the state. The program focuses on unmanned systems outreach to support human capital development for the 21st century in the areas of homeland security, civil authorities and commercial enterprises.

“This is one of the few conferences that specializes in unmanned systems in support of first responders,” said Dr. Richard Baker, director of ISU's Center for Homeland Security and Crisis Leadership and the unmanned systems program. “They're just starting to understand the use of technology in the first responder field. First responders typically don’t have large budgets, but now, the technology is coming down in cost to where it is becoming affordable for more agencies.”

The Mid-America Defense Conference agenda includes unmanned systems experts as well as industry and academic panel discussions. Speakers include:

-Vice Admiral Gerald R. “Jerry” Beaman, U.S. Navy, Commander – Third Fleet (Ret.), Keynote Remarks: “Unmanned Systems Solutions – Current Vision and Future Direction”

-Major General Omer “Clif” Tooley, Jr., U.S. Army, Assistant Adjutant General – Commander, Camp Atterbury – Joint Maneuver Training Ctr/MUTC

-Brigadier General Mike Kiefer, U.S. Army (Ret), Commander, Indiana Response – Hurricane Katrina “Lessons Learned”

-Peter DeNucci, President, Apollo Inc; Remarks: “Human Factors and Unmanned Systems”

This conference comes as Indiana and Ohio await word on their bi-state pursuit for one of the six coveted Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) test sites. The FAA test sites will evaluate the use of unmanned systems and how they can be effectively integrated into the National Airspace. The two states see several advantages in leveraging their combined assets to compete against more than two dozen other states.

Those interested in attending, sponsoring and/or exhibiting are asked to visit for more information.

About the National Center for Complex Operations (NCCO). Incorporated by Indiana's Lt. Governor in January 2012, the National Center for Complex Operations (NCCO) is an innovative mechanism for addressing national security needs while developing Indiana's economy. NCCO acts as a “one-stop-shop” to connect state, federal and private interests with services, programs, and training and testing capabilities that will serve the U.S. armed forces and government agencies at all levels. NCCO is sponsored by the Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and is a registered 501 (c)(3) hosted by Sagamore Institute. To learn more, visit

Sources: The National Center for Complex Operations, Indiana State University and The Office of The Lieutenant Governor

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