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First Bill to Address Security Implications of Drones Passes House

Jun 23, 2015
Legislation

(WASHINGTON) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two Democratic-sponsored bipartisan bills: the Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act (H.R. 1646) and the Homeland Security University-based Centers Review Act (H.R. 2390). The Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act, sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security's Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee, is the first bill to tackle the security challenges posed by drones in U.S. airspace. H.R. 1646 requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assess the security risk associated with commercially available small and medium unmanned aerial systems (drones) and develop policies, guidance, and protocols to prevent or mitigate the risks if they are used in an attack.

Congresswoman Watson Coleman released the following statement on the passage of her bill:

"I am pleased that the House has passed this critical and timely piece of legislation. I introduced this bill with the understanding that drone technology holds great promise that has yet to be fully realized," said Rep. Watson Coleman. "Truly harnessing these devices' potential requires us to mitigate the risks associated with them. The Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act does that – enhancing national security and clarifying the framework for drone manufacturers and enthusiasts alike. The end result will be policies that allow us to build and use drones in a lawful and safe manner."

The Homeland Security University-based Centers Review Act, sponsored by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security requires the Comptroller General to initiate a study to assess the Department of Homeland Security's university-based centers (Centers of Excellence) and recommend appropriate improvements to Congress.

Congressman Thompson released the following statement on the legislation passed today:

"The legislation passed today shows dynamic, bipartisan effort to help improve the security of the nation. Drones are an emerging security concern – in the wrong hands, an off-the-shelf small or medium-sized drone can jam communications, take surveillance imagery, and could even be weaponized. I congratulate Congresswoman Watson Coleman on getting her legislation through the Committee process and passing the full House – this will be the first bill that will address the security implications of drones."

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Media Contacts:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978
(Watson Coleman) Courtney Cochran at (202) 225-5801