UND President Armacost to chair international unmanned systems conference

The UAV Technology USA Conference will be held in Arlington, Virginia on Feb. 7 and 8.

UND president Andrew Armacost
UND president Andrew Armacost. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – UND President Andrew Armacost will chair an international conference on unmanned systems in early February.

The UAV Technology USA Conference will be held in Arlington, Virginia, on Feb. 7 and 8. Unlike the annual UAS conference in Grand Forks, where military and civil vendors large and small make appearances, the conference in Arlington appears to be geared heavily toward the military.

Each branch of the U.S. military will be represented and speak at the conference. Other speakers include members of the Canadian military, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and the Australian and German militaries.

“I am thrilled to chair this important meeting,” Armacost told SMi Group Ltd., which is organizing the conference. “As a 30-year Air Force officer, former dean at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and current president of the University of North Dakota, I have been involved in crafting research and educational programs in unmanned systems. Further, my own research portfolio has included work in planning and control of autonomous systems. I am always trying to identify how our university’s academic and research programs may continue to grow and to support our national security needs.”

SMi Group is a global event-production company that specializes in, among other things, business conferences, and organizes events for the defense industry, as well as other industries.


UND is also a sponsor of the inaugural conference, which could become an annual event.

Armacost will give opening and closing remarks on both days of the conference. He told SMi Group UND’s participation in the conference is a “significant opportunity to learn and contribute.” He said he is particularly interested in the intersection of unmanned air and space systems, and how those assets can be controlled autonomously.

Topics to be discussed include developing and acquiring new technology, financing for unmanned aircraft systems and pilot training, among several others.

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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