US DHS, DOJ Receive Counter-Drone Authority Under Proposed Senate Bill

By Marc Selinger | May 16, 2018
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Orbital ATK Demonstrates Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems Technologies

Orbital ATK demonstrates counter drone tech. Photo courtesy of Business Wire

A small bipartisan group of senators Monday introduced legislation that would give the U.S. departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DOJ) authority to defeat threats posed by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to certain facilities and assets.

The bill comes as the two departments are completing work on a proposal to Congress for legislative authorities to disrupt the use of drone threats in national airspace.

It is currently illegal to bring down an aircraft, including UAS, in the U.S. A number of companies have developed counter-UAS capabilities, which have been tested by the U.S. military, but little testing has been done in the homeland security environment.“The threats posed by malicious unmanned aircraft are too great to ignore,” Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “It is not enough to just tell drone operators not to fly in certain high-risk areas. We must give federal law enforcement the authority to act if necessary.”

The Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 would allow authorized DHS and DOJ personnel to detect, identify, monitor and track UAS, provide warnings to operators of the aircraft, disrupt, seize control of and destroy the aircraft.

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