US C-UAS authority for DOJ and DHS set to expire on 18 November

By Tim Mahon

Unless the US Congress can untangle and resolve its current budget battles, counter-UAS (C-UAS) authority for both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) will expire on 18 November, leaving the nation more vulnerable than it is currently to a threat that is escalating globally.

Current legislation is embodied in the Preventing Emerging Threats Act (PETA) within the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, which authorised relevant agencies to use “reasonable force” to disrupt, disable or destroy drones assessed as hostile threats. This authority expired in October 2022 but has been temporarily extended on several occasions since. Absent another temporary extension this week – or Congress resolving its impasse – the authorisation will lapse. State and local law enforcement and public safety agencies will also find themselves lacking the authority to counter any potential drone incursion – an issue that has engendered widespread bipartisan support on the Hill. So, too, have initiatives aimed at addressing the drone threat, such as the Domestic Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems National Action Plan (April 2022) and HR 4333, Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act of 2023.

Drones already pose a threat to the US and its personnel. From physical attacks on US bases abroad to narcotics-related cross-border traffic and contraband deliveries into prisons, drones constitute a clear and present danger to the security of the United States and Americans. Partisan manoeuvring over political differences should not have a detrimental impact on the nation’s security which is, after all, one of the principal responsibilities of all branches of government.

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(Image: Congress needs to resolve an impending issue this week. Credit: Shutterstock)

Tim Mahon is Publishing Director, C-UAS at Unmanned Publications

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