A Pentagon spokesman told reporters yesterday that classified guidance had been sent to installations and service members about the use of drones near military installations.
“Protecting our force remains a top priority, and that’s why DoD issued the specific, but classified policy developed with the Federal Aviation Administration and our interagency partners that details how DoD personnel may counter the unmanned aircraft threat,” Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.
Davis pointed out that drone flight is heavily regulated by the FAA, and said that the guidance was developed with the agency. “We support civilian law enforcement investigations in the prosecution of unauthorized UAS operations over military installations,” Davis said, “and though we do not discuss specific force-protection measures, we of course retain the right of self-defense. And when it comes to UAS or drones operating over military installations, this new guidance does afford us the ability to take action to stop those threats.”
While he stopped short of specifying that military personnel will be allowed to shoot down drones, Davis said that response to threat from drones could include tracking, disabling, or destroying the drone. Under current federal law it is illegal to shoot down a drone or any other aircraft; but cases like the Kentucky drone slayer case indicate that it can be difficult to get a conviction. Utah is the only state that currently allows officials to “neutralize” drones that are flying illegally.
The guidance also specifies how military personnel should communicate and interact with local communities regarding drone regulations and restrictions in and around military installations.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.