White House Seeks More Power To Counter Drones in US

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The White House stated that it is also willing to work with Congress in order to pass a criminal statute setting standards for legal and illicit drone use.

The Biden administration calls on Congress to give federal and local authorities more authority to prevent drone use in the U.S., which is becoming a security problem and nuisance.

Monday’s White House action plan calls for an increase in the number of agencies capable of tracking and monitoring drones flying within their airspace. It calls for establishing a list of U.S. government-authorized detection equipment that federal and local authorities can purchase, and creating a national training center on countering the malicious use of drones.

The White House in a statement said it was critical that Congress “adopt legislation to close critical gaps in existing law and policy that currently impede government and law enforcement from protecting the American people and our vital security interests.”

The federal-government-wide focus comes as the Federal Aviation Administration projects that more than 2 million drones will be in circulation in the U.S. by 2024 and as availability of detection and mitigation technologies — including jamming systems — are limited under current law.

The White House plans to expand existing counter-drone authority for the departments Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, Energy, and the Central Intelligence Agency. This plan is limited in scope. The proposal also seeks expansion of drone detection capabilities for state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies as well critical infrastructure operators and owners.

The proposal calls for the establishment of a pilot program over six years for a limited number of state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies that will participate in drone detection and mitigation under the supervision of Homeland Security and Homeland Security.

At the moment, neither state nor local agencies has such authorization.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the administration’s legislative recommendations “are vital to enabling DHS and our partners to have the necessary authorities and tools to protect the public, the President and other senior officials, federal facilities, and U.S. critical infrastructure from threats posed by the malicious and illicit use” of drones.

U.S. drones are now ubiquitous and can be used for law enforcement, commercial photography, and hobbyists. However, there are increasing concerns.

Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark stopped all landings, diverted planes and stayed there for more than an hour following a drone sighting. In order to bring illegal drugs into the United States, smugglers have used drones. Major League Baseball has experienced several instances where games were delayed because of private drones that were flown onto playing fields. In 2015, drones crashed onto White House grounds in two separate incidents.

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