The Timeline On Drone Security Bans

The Federal regulatory ban of drones made in China and “other covered countries” began in 2019 as a result of reported National security threats by the military and intelligence communities. The ban first appeared in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA FY 2019). The NDAA has been amended every subsequent year to take an increasingly aggressive position on cyber security for unmanned aerial or other robotic drones. Drones are emerging as a key technology in defense and in public safety.

The NDAA governs the Federal government and all its agencies. But it is not the only piece of legislation in effect. Executive Order 13981 (EO 13981) was passed by President Trump in January of 2021. EO 13981 stands as a single order, all encompassing and self-contained. It remains intact and stands aside from and in addition to the NDAA, and is currently in force. In particular, it further defined “Critical Components” in the cyber security chain, basically making anything with a microchip sourced in China and other non-allied countries prohibited for use by military or government agencies.

EO 13981 is one of the Executive Orders executed by President Trump and embraced by the subsequent administration.  It really nails the final security ban for the U.S. military supply chain, making the Chinese electronic parts that are most important to drone navigation and operations,  strictly prohibited. These parts were also far less expensive to procure from China for companies manufacturing drones and selling them into the US.  Many new laws passed in individual states governing drone compliance are copying this Executive Order, and that is important news your state or local agency.  Also notable are Florida and Mississippi for enacting similar legislation prohibiting drones from China and more (see chart above), following closely on EO13981 and continuing drone related NDAA updates.

The Federal legislation in the NDAA now has the power to reach downstream from the Federal money source. The FY 2024 NDAA now requires that any recipient of Federal funds may not procure or use prohibited drones with those funds. 

Follow the money from Federal funds to each state recipient to the contractors the state may hire. If the funds track upward to the Federal level, you now have less than 2 years to comply with the law and stop using non-compliant drones. However this time frame may translate to your state or agency, you can expect the extent of the reach to be thorough. The Florida law, by way of example, requires every downstream agency, contractor and subcontractor to be compliant in order to prevent the loss of federal funding. The states will follow suit to protect their infrastructure and other federally subsidized safety budgets and push the requirements to local levels including fire and police.

Find out more about Florida FAC60GG and Federal NDAA 2024 in this next article

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