Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Edward Markey, a ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security, this month sent a letter to the FAA on the heels of a hearing in the Security Subcommittee. The hearing reportedly explored the “safety challenges of unmanned aerial systems,” according to a press release. “During this hearing, a representative of the FAA maintained that current federal law prevents state and local authorities from testing counter-drone technology, as well as some critical detection tools,” the statement noted.
Markey specifically expressed concerns about alleged airport sighting of drones in years past – many of which turned out to not be drones at all.
“The FAA’s position on counter-UAS testing is concerning because state and local authorities are now on the front-lines of drone security and have an integral role to play in defending against threats posed by this emerging technology,” Markey wrote in the letter to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson.
“Consequently, state and local authorities must be able to test counter-UAS technology alongside the FAA or we will likely face delays in the technology’s implementation, thus preventing public safety officials from being able to better protect their communities.”
Markey asked four questions in the letter:
- “In the FAA’s view, how do various federal laws potentially conflict with state and local authority to test drone detection and mitigation technologies in coordination with the FAA?
- Does the FAA believe that statutory changes are needed to permit counter-drone technology testing by state and local authorities, or can it make such changes through the regulatory process?
- If the FAA has the regulatory authority to permit counter-drone testing, will it make these changes?
- Does the FAA plan to test state and local law enforcement’s time, place, and manner limitations on drones?”
“The BRTF takes the position that airports should not be burdened with undertaking this operation alone. Instead, as with many other operations at airports, such as airport security, UAS detection should be a shared responsibility between airports and federal governments.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
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