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5/25/16 - UAS center of excellence at MSU undergoes leadership transition

USAF Maj. Gen. (Ret.) James Poss is departing from Mississippi State University July 1 after successfully leading the multi-year effort to land the Federal Aviation Administration’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The director of the MSU-led Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) was instrumental in bringing the center to the land-grant institution, according to its chief research officer.

“I can’t say enough about the work Jim Poss has done for this university and for the state of Mississippi’s efforts to grow the aerospace industry,” said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development at Mississippi State.

“Our state is now the nation’s hub for research that will help the FAA integrate unmanned aircraft into the domestic airspace safely and efficiently, and Gen. Poss played a pivotal role in that success -- skillfully working with researchers, agency administrators, elected officials and companies. Quite simply, we couldn’t have won the Center of Excellence without General Poss. We wish him the best in all of his future endeavors as he transitions to the private sector,” he said.

“After retiring from the Air Force, I wanted to come home and do something good for Mississippi,” Poss said.

“I think we achieved this goal. It will bring in millions of dollars in federal and corporate funding. Now that ASSURE is up and running well, it’s time to turn it over to MSU, allowing me to achieve another goal of opening my own consulting firm, advising this new unmanned industry and, hopefully, bringing UAS business to Mississippi,” he explained.

The new firm -- ISR Ideas -- will provide intelligence consulting services to the aerospace industry and advice to the burgeoning UAS industry.

An Ocean Springs native and fifth-generation Mississippian, Poss joined MSU in December 2012 after a distinguished career of service. At the time of his retirement, he was the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. -- the senior career intelligence officer in the Air Force. He was responsible to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for policy formulation, planning, evaluation, oversight and leadership of Air Force ISR capabilities.

Additionally, he has extensive experience in remote sensing, and is one of a handful of intelligence officers to have used DOD remote sensing to support Mississippi, both after Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

He received his commission through the Reserve Officers Training Corps program at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Marty W. Rogers of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks has been serving as the deputy director of ASSURE, and will assume responsibilities of interim executive director July 1.

“We believe that Marty is the perfect choice to help lead the university forward into a new chapter of advanced aerospace R&D, and that he will play a key role in developing partnerships with peer institutions, government agencies and industry,” said Shaw.

“I have been fortunate to grow and lead the largest university UAS program in the United States. The experience of growing the UA-Fairbanks program and transitioning it to become a solid revenue generating professional UAS aviation program will serve us well as we further develop ASSURE into the world’s premier center for UAS research and operations. With the help of ASSURE Associate Director Steve Luxion, we’ll continue to do great things in ASSURE,” Rogers said.

A Mississippi native, Rogers also has an extensive corporate background, and served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, retiring in 2000 as the manager of contingency operations with Headquarters Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

Learn more about ASSURE at ASSUREuas.org.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading research university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Jim Laird | Public Affairs

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