White House seeks more power to counter US drone use


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is calling on Congress to expand the power of federal and local governments to take action to counter the nefarious use of drones in the United States, which is becoming a growing security concern and nuisance.

The White House on Monday released an action plan that calls for increasing the number of agencies capable of tracking and monitoring drones flying in their airspace. He calls for the establishment of a list of US government-authorized detection equipment that federal and local authorities can purchase, and the creation of a national training center on countering the malicious use of drones. .

The White House, in a statement, said it was essential that Congress “pass legislation to address critical gaps in existing laws and policies that currently prevent government and law enforcement from protecting the American people and our vital security interests”.

The federal government-wide attention comes as the Federal Aviation Administration predicts that more than 2 million drones will be in circulation in the United States by 2024 and the availability of detection and mitigation technologies – including including jamming systems – is limited by current law.

The White House plan calls for expanding existing anti-drone authorities for the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, Energy, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency and NASA in situations limited. The proposal also seeks to extend drone detection authorities to state, local, territorial and tribal law enforcement agencies and critical infrastructure owners and operators.

The proposal also calls for the establishment of a six-year pilot program for a small number of state, local, territorial and tribal law enforcement agencies to participate in a threat detection and mitigation program. drones under the supervision of the Department of Justice and Homeland Security.


Currently, no state or local agency has such authorization.

In the United States, drones have become increasingly ubiquitous and useful tools for law enforcement, agriculture, commercial photography as well as hobbyists. But there are also growing concerns.

In January 2019, Newark Liberty International Airport halted all landings and diverted planes for more than an hour after a potential drone sighting nearby. Smugglers used drones to deliver illegal drugs into the country. And Major League Baseball has had several incidents since 2020 where games were delayed after private drones were sent onto a playing field. In 2015, there were two separate incidents in which drones crashed into the grounds of the White House.

Federal and local authorities say drones have also been used to smuggle contraband, including cellphones and drugs, into prisons.

National security officials also found the use of drones in last November’s failed assassination attempt on Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and an August 2018 attack on Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro “very troubling,” according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the situation. condition of anonymity before the official announcement on Monday.

The counter-drone plan calls for establishing a mechanism to coordinate research, development, testing and evaluation of detection and mitigation technologies across the federal government.

The White House says it also wants to work with Congress to enact criminal law that sets standards for legal and illegal uses of drones, and strengthen cooperation with other countries on counter-drone technologies.

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