Interagency strategy needed on drones

Last week, members of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management called for better comprehensive strategy to combat the potential threats of domestic drones, sometimes referred to as unmanned aerial systems or unmanned aerial vehicles.

In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) expressed concerns about the potential for drones to be utilized by terrorists, drug smugglers, and spies, and cited recent security incidents, such as the quadcopter crash at the White House and drones flying over Parisian landmarks and nuclear power plants.

Several witnesses spoke about the need for interagency cooperation to address the drone issue in their statements to the Subcommittee.

Major General (Ret.) Frederick Roggero, United States Air Force, called for interagency cooperation to draft strategy and policies to deal with drones, saying that “it will take a joined effort across all government departments since it will require navigating through current rules and regulations in the face of the unique capabilities of [drones]”.

In his statement, Chief Richard Beary, President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, cited a lack of instruction for law enforcement regarding the use of drones, and spoke of the need for greater tactical guidance to law enforcement from federal agencies, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, and the Federal Aviation Administration. According to Beary, such guidance “would benefit the law enforcement profession immensely”.

Dr. Gregory S. McNeal, Associate Professor at the School of Law at Pepperdine University, also expressed a need for greater interagency cooperation, suggesting that the Department of Homeland Security be responsible for coordinating interagency efforts, as opposed to the agencies working separately. McNeal also suggested the department engage in a comprehensive risk assessment.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) provides the opening statement at the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management hearing.

For more information on the House Subcommittee hearing, please follow the links below.
Subcommittee Hearing: Unmanned Aerial System Threats: Exploring Security Implications and Mitigation Technologies, House Committee on Homeland Security
Congress looks for interagency coordination on drones, FCW: The Business of Federal Technology

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