The Law Needs to Catch Up to New Drone Threats, Lawmakers Say
Apr 06 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Dr. Neal Dunn (FL-02) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) introduced the “Military Assets Protection Act,” a bipartisan bill to clarify the authority of the military to defend facilities and assets against Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), or drones.
“Our Armed Forces face a new threat from drones, and the law needs to catch up,” Dr. Dunn said. “Military leaders have advised us that they lack clear authority to interdict drones over domestic installations, even though we’ve seen the devastating consequences of terrorist fighters using these new technologies in combat overseas. This legislation gives the Defense Department the clear authority to use the latest technologies against drones that are a danger to Americans on military installations.”
“As a longtime member of the Congressional House Armed Services Committee, we are often confronted with conflicting interests that require us to weigh the pros and cons of legislation restricting the use of new technologies. In this particular instance, it is a matter of our national security and the safety and protection of our military assets, infrastructure and classified information, including the men and women who serve in our armed services, civilians and their families that we take these steps to protect against invasive threats to our military, inadvertent or otherwise,” said Rep. Hanabusa.
The legislation permits the Secretary to authorize “armed forces or contractors of the Department of Defense” to mitigate UAS threats to a military “facility, asset or classified information.” The bill authorizes security personnel to “disrupt control” of the system; “seize and exercise control” of the aircraft; “confiscate” the drone; “use reasonable force to disable or destroy” the drone; or “disrupt, alter or intercept any communications to or from” the drone.
Both the Department of Defense and the private sector have aggressively researched counter-drone technologies, including air-to-air techniques, lasers, software override technology, and directed-energy (microwave) weapons.
Earlier this year, senior leadership at Tyndall Air Force Base raised their concerns with Dr. Dunn that base security required clearer legal authority to interdict drone attacks on assets or personnel.
Along with the legislation, Dr. Dunn led a letter with Congresswoman Hanabusa (HI-01) earlier this week to the Armed Services Committee, asking for its support as the panel drafts the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act.