It’s a Drone Alert from Uncle Sam

This is a report on the status of new legislation. The American Drone Act is on the US President’s Desk, which means it will soon be passed and we will all be safer for it. Long awaited, this protection from China hacking and cybercrime passed the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Drones on deck for safety mandates.

Awaiting President Biden’s signature, the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has successfully passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Notably, the 2024 version incorporates the American Security Drone Act (ASDA) into the NDAA, all outlined in Subtitle H of the NDAA text. The ASDA aims to restrict the utilization of Chinese-manufactured drone platforms within Federal or Federally funded drone programs.

Here’s who made it happen for everyone in our government: Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the ASDA in the Senate. Meanwhile, in the House, the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, Chairman, Mike Gallagher (R-WI) along with Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) took the lead.

“If America is to prevail in this era of great power competition, the U.S. government cannot be using drones manufactured by our adversaries, I am proud to join my colleagues from across the aisle in reintroducing the American Security Drone Act, which will promote American superiority and competitiveness within the drone market, protect against IP theft and data security violations by the Chinese Communist Party, and fortify our national security.” said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) in a statement about the ASDA.

Drone Advocacy

The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) a drone advocacy organization, released a statement endorsing the incorporation of the 2 bills. 

“The AUVSI commends Congress for incorporating the American Security Drone Act into the FY 2024 NDAA. Prohibiting federal agencies from purchasing or operating non-secure drones, especially those produced by Chinese firms, is a necessary step in protecting our nation from cyber risks, espionage, and sabotage. We urge President Biden to sign this measure into law swiftly, Rational, tailored country of origin drone restrictions like those within ASDA are critical to protecting U.S. national security. Additionally, AUVSI remains committed to working with Congress and the Biden Administration through the Partnership for Drone Competitiveness to advance policies that bolster America’s domestic drone industry, secure American leadership in advanced aviation, and effectively level the playing field for domestic and allied drone manufacturers against foreign subsidized competition. American reliance on foreign adversaries for drone technology must end.” said AUVSI Chief Advocacy Officer Michael Robbins.

What do we think?

In discussion with CSpace Robotics CEO, engineer and inventor, Jeff Chaskin, I asked Jeff what he thought about the passage of this new law:

We take the US Government’s action very seriously as we wait for the President’s signature. We’ve analyzed what the new law would mean in terms of Compliance for all the small fleets in government and local agencies. Throughout the US more than 16 thousand agencies and offices that affect local law enforcement and safety will need to replace and augment their small fleets. 70-80% of small fleet purchases in our category were from China over the past 5 years. So this is some serious need in the publis safety arena and we are up for the challenge!

We knew that in US States like our home state, Florida who passed their own NDAA version earlier than the Feds, that in the handful of US States that anticipated this action, and in the next 2 years across all the US states, there is an opportunity for new US drone supply companies and component manufacturers. So we are working to bring robotic innovation down to the state and local level, for better engineered public safety. And we believe the future of public safety and first responder safety involves increasing numbers of increasingly intelligent robots including UAVs.

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