Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Brent T. Langhals, PhD


As UAS technology continues to grow and enable increased autonomous capabilities, acquisition and operational decision makers must determine paths to pursue for existing and emerging mission areas. The DoD has published a number of 25-year unmanned systems integration roadmaps (USIR) to describe future capabilities and challenges. However, these roadmaps have lacked distinguishable stakeholder perspectives. Following the USIRs concept, this research focused on UAS autonomy through the lens of UAS subject matter experts (SMEs). We used the Delphi method with SMEs from USAF communities performing day-to-day operations, acquisitions, and research in UAS domains to forecast mission capabilities over the next 20 years; specifically, within the context of increased UAS autonomous capabilities. Through two rounds of questions, the study provided insight to the capabilities SMEs viewed as most important and likely to be incorporated as well as how different stakeholders view the many challenges and opportunities autonomy present for future missions.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number