Vicksburg’s Dr. Jason McKenna elected President of Mississippi Chapter of AUVSI

Published 2:27 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Dr. Jason McKenna, The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Director of Research, Development, Testing, Evaluation and Training (RDT&E) at the Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise, has been named president of the Mississippi Chapter of the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

He is hoping to facilitate good communication, advocacy and discover new ways to work together across the state.

“I’m honored to be elected President of the MS Chapter of AUVSI. Hopefully, my time at USM’s Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise has prepared me well to help promote our emerging maritime uncrewed systems partnerships and research” said McKenna.

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“There’s a big push nationally and internationally for growing the industry base and capability in fully autonomous maritime uncrewed systems. This is front and center to what we are doing on the Coast at USM. I think our chapter can help AUVSI and our partners get there more quickly by building upon the strong airborne and ground uncrewed expertise centered at Mississippi State and the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (EDRC),” McKenna said.

“This chapter can leverage the entire expertise and talent within the state to get the word out. We have significant partnerships within the government in the state. We can offer collaboration and a strong voice nationally with the chapter’s new officers coming from USM, MSU’s Raspet Flight Center, ERDC’s Environmental Lab and USACE HQ PM for Aerial and Robotic Systems,” he said.

McKenna has been with USM since 2020 and specializes in the new blue economy and RDT&E and training in uncrewed systems and data science.

He plans on leveraging the considerable talent in the state to showcase what Mississippi has to offer in trusted autonomy and uncrewed systems during AUVSI’s upcoming annual Xponential Conference in San Diego, California in April of 2024 that brings in global researchers and scientists to focus on autonomy and uncrewed systems.

“If we can show up as team Mississippi at Xponential in San Diego next year and showcase our workforce, students, industry know-how and governmental partnerships I think the community of practice is going to take a hard look at us and maybe ask themselves why aren’t they doing more with them? Maybe we should open an office in Mississippi and expand to the Gulf Coast. If we can create new high-paying jobs and really promote cutting-edge technology growth in the state, it would be a fantastic outcome for the entire Mississippi chapter.”

The Mississippi chapter consists of many companies and educational institutions across the state, including members with the federal government at Camp Shelby, Mississippi State University (MSU), the federal government at the US Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, the Navy and NOAA at Stennis Space Center, USM and industry across the entire state.

Learn more about AUVSI and their dedication to uncrewed systems internationally.