WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) introduced The Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act to enhance our nation’s ability to counter threats posed by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones. On Wednesday, the bill was advanced by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
In 2018, as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Johnson introduced the Preventing Emerging Threats Act to provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) with necessary tools to effectively counter UAS. The 2022 legislation will renew and expand the existing authorities – which are set to expire in October.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that by 2024 about 2.3 million UAS will be registered to fly in U.S. airspace. The increasing numbers of registered UAS create a higher risk of both unintentional disasters and malicious activity from foreign adversaries or criminal organizations that seek to weaponize drones or engage in illegal activities, such as the trafficking of illicit drugs across U.S. borders.
“The threats posed by malicious unmanned aircraft are too great to ignore. This bill will increase our ability to fight the growing threat of criminal drone activity across the country. It is paramount that our national security agencies have the tools they need to mitigate the serious threats posed by UAS. I hope my colleagues move quickly to support this bill that will further our national security,” said Sen. Johnson.
On July 14, 2022, Sen. Johnson participated in a hearing with senior federal officials to discuss the actions government agencies are taking to combat this evolving threat.
Sens. Johnson and Peters were joined on the bill by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).
The full text of the bill can be found here.