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Homeland Security, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Judiciary Committee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Counter-Drone Bill Amid Emerging Threats

Breakthrough legislation reauthorizes and expands vital counter-UAS authorities for first time since 2018

Washington, D.C., June 5, 2024 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS), House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) and Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the bipartisan Counter-UAS Authority Security, Safety, and Reauthorization Act of 2024. This legislation will renew and reform current legal authorities, set to expire in October, that provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) with critical tools to mitigate credible threats posed by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones. The legislation also modifies and improves counter-UAS authorities of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), enhances important protections for the civil liberties of Americans using drones in a legal and responsible manner, and strengthens public safety in communities throughout the nation.

In addition to this standalone legislation, Chairman Green and the co-sponsors also introduced identical provisions as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Chairman Green:I am proud to introduce the Counter-UAS Authority Security, Safety, and Reauthorization Act of 2024, a timely, bipartisan effort that is critical to the homeland security mission as technology evolves and new, dynamic threats emerge. While drones are often used recreationally, they can also threaten the safety of Americans and our airspace.From criminal cartels smuggling contraband across the Southwest border to nefarious actors potentially conducting espionage on U.S. critical infrastructure, this new technology can pose significant risks when in the hands of those who seek to do us harm.

This legislation meets the moment by ensuring DHS and DOJ have the appropriate authorities to act swiftly and decisively to detect, track, and mitigate hostile drone use, and to coordinate effectively with other agencies like the FAA or law enforcement partners in this pursuit. At the same time, this bill protects the privacy and freedom of Americans who use these innovative technologies in a legal and responsible manner. I am grateful to have developed this common-sense, bipartisan legislation alongside the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Committees on Judiciary and Transportation and Infrastructure, and I hope to see it pass through the House and Senate quickly as the deadline for counter-UAS authorities approaches later this year.”

Chairman Graves:“This important bill reauthorizes and reforms federal counter-UAS authorities while ensuring that the National Airspace System remains safe and open to drone innovation. With this legislation, we will stay one step ahead of emerging drone threats and begin to put tools into the hands of law enforcement to detect, identify, and, if necessary, mitigate threats posed by unlawful drone usage. Coming to agreement across the aisle and across committee jurisdictions is never easy, and I’m grateful for the bipartisan partnership of T&I Ranking Member Larsen and the leaders of the Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees for making this bill possible.”

Ranking Member Thompson:“I am glad that Democrats and Republicans in the House were finally able to come together on legislation to extend and expand federal government counter-drone authorities, which are critical for national security and for keeping the homeland secure as we face dynamic and emerging threats. This bill would extend these authorities for four years through 2028 and also increase relevant privacy and civil liberty protections while expanding the federal government's efforts in a measured way. I fully support this timely legislation and thank my colleagues for introducing it.”

Ranking Member Larsen:“This legislation provides the foundation for a safe and responsible expansion of counter-drone technologies, putting in place a framework that will ensure public safety and security. It ensures all levels of law enforcement are working in concert to secure the nation’s airspace, airports, and citizens. Building on the success of theFAA Reauthorization Act of 2024, it will work to safely integrate counter-drone technologies at scale while keeping communities safe and protecting individuals’ privacy. I thank the cosponsors, Chair Sam Graves and the leaders of the committees of jurisdiction, for their work on this critical bill.”

Ranking Member Nadler:“This legislation is the product of months of bipartisan collaboration. Our final product allows the agencies that protect our critical infrastructure to do their jobs and permits law-abiding drone hobbyists and commercial UAS users to continue to use their devices. Strong privacy protections for drone user data, mandated disposal of communications information, and comprehensive agency reporting requirements will ensure that all Americans can continue to use and innovate UAS technology going forward.”

Read the full bill text here.


The Counter-UAS Authority Security, Safety, and Reauthorization Act of 2024 would extend existing DHS and DOJ counter-UAS authorities through October 1, 2028, to counter the growing threat from UAS. Among other measures, this critical legislation will:

  • Clarify and improve coordination requirements between DHS, DOJ, the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the FAA.
  • Increase Americans’ privacy and civil liberty protections by ensuring that information gathered by approved counter-UAS systems is not misused or retained for extended periods of time.
  • Prohibit DHS and DOJ from using or authorizing the use of counter-UAS systems that have been manufactured by certain foreign enterprises.
  • Provide Homeland Security Investigations, the principal investigative component of DHS, with counter-UAS authority; and provide DHS with counter-UAS authority to protect public airports.
  • Direct the FAA to establish counter-UAS system minimum performance requirements and provides the FAA with counter-UAS authority to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the National Airspace System.
  • Allow DHS to authorize the acquisition, deployment, and operation of counter-UAS systems by owners or operators of covered sites and critical infrastructure.
  • Require DHS to establish a counter-UAS mitigation pilot program under which selected State law enforcement agencies may operate approved counter-UAS mitigation systems and mitigate unauthorized UAS operations on behalf of covered entities.
  • Require DHS and DOJ to establish standards for counter-UAS system training programs and operator qualifications for the use of counter-UAS detection and mitigation systems, equipment, or technology.
  • Require the FAA, in coordination with DHS and DOJ, to develop a plan for counter-UAS operations at airports.
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Tags: Aviation