Bipartisan Bill to Protect Communities from Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Peters, Johnson, Sinema & Hoeven Bipartisan Bill to Help Protect Communities from Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems will Mitigate Security Risks for Large Crowds & Critical Infrastructure
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2023
Jay Bhargava (Peters)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Stakeholders and organizations are applauding bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and John Hoeven (R-ND) that would significantly enhance our nation’s ability to counter the security threats posed by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones. The bill will renew and expand existing authorities – set to expire in September 2023 – that provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) with necessary tools to effectively counter security threats to Americans, large crowds, and infrastructure posed by dangerous UAS. Federal law enforcement officials previously told the committee that current authorities are not sufficient to meet the current threat level and the senators’ bill will ensure the federal government is better prepared to defend against maliciously or recklessly operated drones. Senator Peters is Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Johnson, and Sinema also serve as members.
See below for statements of support for the bipartisan Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act:
“The National Football League fully supports the ‘Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act of 2023.’ This common sense, urgently needed legislation would more effectively protect our homeland – including mass gatherings and critical infrastructure – from the serious and rising security risks posed by rogue drones,” said Cathy Lanier, Chief Security Officer, National Football League. “Keeping fans safe at our games is our top priority, and this legislation would give local law enforcement the tools they need to protect our fans from the threats of illicit drone use. We call on Congress to enact this vital legislation as soon as possible.”
“Major League Baseball, along with other professional sports organizations, collectively host thousands of events for millions of fans each year. Many of these events occur in open-air stadiums and other venues at which unauthorized drone incursions are common. The Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act of 2023 would take critical steps to promote drone security at our stadiums,” said Major League Baseball Vice President for Security and Ballpark Operations David Thomas. “We appreciate the leadership of Sen. Gary Peters, Sen. Ron Johnson, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. John Hoeven to move this important piece of legislation forward.”
“The NCAA and its member schools and conferences host millions of college athletes, families and fans during regular season and championship games each year and this legislation is an important step in continuing to ensure the safety of Americans who love and celebrate college sports,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball.
“Drone innovation and security need to be closely linked. Integrating drones into the National Airspace offers significant economic advantages, but their misuse poses risks to critical infrastructure, airports, and major events. The U.S. Chamber commends Senators Peters, Johnson, Sinema, and Hoeven for their bipartisan efforts on this vital matter,” said Jordan Crenshaw, Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC). “The Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act strikes a balance by expanding counter-UAS authorities while safeguarding lawful commerce, aviation safety, and civil rights. We look forward to collaborating with Congress to establish a strong and comprehensive counter-UAS framework.”
“The Commercial Drone Alliance applauds the introduction of S.1631, the Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act of 2023. The safety, security, efficiency, sustainability, and equity benefits of commercial drones are significant, but drones can also be misused,” said Commercial Drone Alliance Executive Director Lisa Ellman. “The provisions contained in S.1631 establish a common-sense approach to drone security which will help the U.S. to enhance our global leadership in advanced aviation. We thank Sen. Gary Peters, Sen. Ron Johnson, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. John Hoeven for their leadership to move drone security policy forward.”
“Safety is a top priority for the Wayne County Airport Authority. We are grateful to Senators Peters, Johnson, Sinema, and Hoeven for their collaborative efforts to further improve the safety of our customers at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport,” said Chad Newton, CEO, Wayne County Airport Authority. “By allowing DTW to use drone detection technology to counter the potential threat posed by unmanned aircraft systems, we can better protect everyone who flies in and out of our airport.”
“Passing the Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act is an important step in promoting public safety, and preventing unauthorized or unsafe drone activities that could pose a risk to people, property, or critical infrastructure,” said Col. Joe Gasper, Director of the Michigan State Police.
“Unauthorized and unsafe drone operations represent an emerging threat to our communities. However, there is currently little that law enforcement can do to respond to these incidents as counter-drone (cUAS) authorities do not extend to state and local law enforcement,” said Eddie Garcia, Chief, Dallas Police Department, and President, Major Cities Chiefs Association. “S. 1631 will help address this challenge by establishing a cUAS pilot program for state and local law enforcement in addition to renewing existing federal cUAS authorities. The MCCA thanks Sen. Peters, Sen. Johnson, and Sen. Hoeven for their continued leadership on this important issue.”