In the latest move to bolster national security and foster domestic technology growth, key members of the US Congress have introduced the ‘American Security Drone Act of 2023‘.
The bill, unveiled on November 1, 2023, takes a firm stance against the utilization of foreign-made drones, particularly from Countries seen as potential national security threats. While the legislation does not explicitly name any company, the undercurrents strongly suggest that Chinese drone manufacturer, DJI, might find itself in the crosshairs should the act pass into law.
The bipartisan bill was introduced by Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA) alongside Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). It aims to curb the federal government's procurement of drones manufactured in certain nations, redirecting US funds away from Chinese-made drones in the interest of national security.
“The Chinese Communist Party consistently weaponizes its near monopoly on the drone market against the good guys; restricting drone exports to Ukraine while Hamas uses them to perpetrate brutal terrorist attacks,” said Chairman Gallagher. “This bill would prohibit the federal government from using American taxpayer dollars to purchase this equipment from countries like China, supporting the PRC's malign behavior and posing a serious national security threat to the U.S. and our allies. It is imperative that Congress pass this bipartisan bill to protect U.S. interests and our national security supply-chain.”
The act, if ratified, will prohibit federal agencies and outside organizations utilizing federal funds from purchasing or operating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from countries deemed as security threats.
Main Provisions of the American Security Drone Act of 2023
The core provision of the American Security Drone Act of 2023 is the ban on the procurement or use of drones by federal agencies if these drones are manufactured or assembled by certain foreign entities identified as national security risks.
This is chiefly targeted at drones made in countries like China. Although exemptions are provided for certain departments, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice, due to their critical functions, most federal agencies and contractors will fall under the purview of this legislation.
The bill reflects growing concerns among US lawmakers regarding the national security implications of Drone Technology, especially in the context of potential foreign espionage or sabotage. By targeting drones manufactured or assembled in countries deemed to pose national security threats, the Act aims to safeguard sensitive US data and infrastructure.
Moreover, the bipartisan nature of the bill underscores a unified stance among lawmakers concerning the national security implications of drone technology. The Act's introduction has received backing from both sides of the aisle, indicating a robust consensus on the need to secure the nation's drone supply chain while fostering domestic drone manufacturing capabilities.
A notable aspect of the ‘American Security Drone Act of 2023‘ is its inclusion in the FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a significant step that highlights the importance of this legislation in the broader national security framework of the United States.
The amendment to include the American Security Drone Act was a crucial maneuver, symbolic of the legislative priority accorded to safeguarding national security in the rapidly evolving domain of drone technology.
The unveiling of the bill was spearheaded by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), chair of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, along with Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT).
The House of Representatives Committee on China has played a significant role in pushing this bill, stressing the need to limit the use of Chinese-manufactured drones by the federal government.
As the ‘American Security Drone Act of 2023' navigates the legislative process, it heralds a significant effort to align the deployment of drones within the federal government with the broader national security objectives of the United States.
The Act resonates with a broader narrative of ensuring a secure supply chain and promoting domestic technology growth against the backdrop of global tech competition and national security concerns.
With the Drone Industry being a rapidly evolving field, the ‘American Security Drone Act of 2023' represents a crucial step towards establishing a secure and reliable drone infrastructure within the US.
By mitigating potential security risks associated with using foreign-made drones within federal agencies, the Act embodies a forward-looking approach to fostering a domestic drone industry while safeguarding national security interests.
The introduction of the ‘American Security Drone Act of 2023‘ marks a significant legislative endeavor, reflecting a proactive approach by the US government to navigate the complex intersections of technology, national security, and international relations in the contemporary era.
Let us know in the comments below what you think about the introduction of the American Security Drone Act of 2023. We are curious to hear your thoughts.
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