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Built to Weather the Budget Storm: Although the Pentagon's budget is expected to flatline in mid-decade, remotely piloted aircraft initiatives aren't likely to take a large hit. "Unmanned systems are competing very well" within this tight fiscal environment, said Dyke Weatherington, deputy director for unmanned warfare in the Pentagon's portfolio systems acquisition office. "I would argue," he continued, "that as long as industry and acquisition partners continue to focus on warfighter requirements, that trend will continue." He spoke Wednesday at AUVSI's symposium in Washington, D.C. When Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the results of his efficiency initiative in January, he noted that the services planned to redirect portions of their respective savings either to accelerate or expand their RPA programs. The Air Force, for example, intends to buy more, advanced MQ-9 Reapers. (See also DOD's efficiency savings reinvestment plan)