coondoggie writes "Has the highly successful but disparate unmanned aircraft strategy deployed by the military outstripped the Department of Defense's ability to handle its growth? The Air Force, Army, and Navy have requested approximately $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2010 for new systems and expanded capabilities. The Pentagon's fiscal year 2010 budget request wants to increase the Air Force's Predator and Reaper unmanned aircraft programs to 50 combat air patrols by fiscal year 2011 — an increase of nearly 300% since fiscal year 2007. In 2000, the DoD had fewer than 50 unmanned aircraft in its inventory; as of October 2009, this number had grown to more than 6,800. The program's success, however, is causing some big cracks in the system. According to a report issued this week by congressional watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office. The military is facing a number of challenges — including training, accessing national air space, and improving aircraft communications systems — that must be overcome if unmanned aircraft are to take their place as a central piece of the military's future, the GAO stated."