President-elect Donald J. Trump
725 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10022
December 2, 2016
Dear President-elect Trump:
Congratulations on a historic campaign. Your election comes at the dawn of an unprecedented new era in technology platforms. America is witnessing a renaissance in computing and robotics that promises to revolutionize the way we work, connect and even see the world. Of all these exciting advancements, perhaps none holds as much potential for doing good and advancing the country’s wealth and economic prosperity as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—or commercial drones.
UAS are remotely piloted, smart vehicles designed to respond to disasters, inspect crops and infrastructure, or deliver life-saving medicines—and those are just a few applications of the technology. There are literally thousands of ways drones can enhance commerce and promote safety. Indeed, many of the best applications for UAS have yet to be imagined.
We are in the very early days of deploying UAS commercially on a broad scale. If we can overcome regulatory barriers, the potential held by UAS is unlimited. Estimates vary, but by all measures, the economic impact is enormous: a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report estimated the global market value of UAS-powered solutions at more than $127 billion by 2020. Some have predicted that the U.S. share of the UAS industry will grow to be an estimated $82 billion market in four years, and create more than 100,000 new jobs here at home. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that by the new decade, 11 million commercial drones will have been sold in the United States alone.
Under the legal framework in the U.S., commercial drones fly with the oversight of the FAA. This past August, Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations took effect. For the first time ever, these rules broadly authorize commercial drone operations in the United States. This was a significant and critical step forward, but much work remains to be done to realize the full potential of drone technology. Sadly, however, the United States is playing catch-up to much of the rest of the world on commercial drones.
This is where the incoming Trump Administration, with your focus on jobs, the economy and a free market, can take significant steps to enhance American competitiveness. We are at a critical time for UAS policymaking, and your incoming Administration has the ability to create good jobs and grow the economy by propelling UAS technology forward.
The regulatory barriers preventing commercial drone integration are significant, and it is vital that policymakers understand and appreciate how to promote this innovation while integrating drones safely and securely. That’s why the Commercial Drone Alliance, an industry-led non-profit association, which represents companies large and small in the commercial drone marketplace, is advocating for the appointment of commercial drone industry experts in the new administration.
We will be forwarding a list of names for your Transition Team’s consideration. The individuals on this list are eminently qualified for senior leadership positions within the FAA, the Department of Transportation, and the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP plays a particularly important role as the agency that carries the critical innovation banner across the federal government—including for commercial drones.
We respectfully request that your Transition Team consider carefully the credentials of the candidates we will be sending for your review to oversee the integration of commercial drones into our National Airspace. We are happy to provide additional information about these individuals at any time, and stand ready to assist you in the Transition. The commercial drone industry is enthusiastic about your pro-business, pro-economic growth focus—and particularly your passion to see the United States to succeed, everywhere. We look forward to working collaboratively with your team in the days, months and years to come.
Michael Latiner, Chairman of the Board
Craig Marcinkowski, Secretary/Treasurer
Gretchen West, Co-Executive Director
Lisa Ellman, Co-Executive Director
Commercial Drone Alliance