U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa introduced a bill today to beef up the Pentagon’s ability to bring down drones that overfly military installations.
Hanabusa, a Hawaii Democrat, introduced the “Military Assets Protection Act” with U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, a Florida Republican, to clarify the authority of the military to defend facilities and assets against unmanned aerial systems.
“Our armed forces face a new threat from drones, and the law needs to catch up,” Dunn said in a release. “Military leaders have advised us that they lack clear authority to interdict drones over domestic installations.”
Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, noted that members of Congress are often confronted with conflicting interests that require an examination of the pros and cons of legislation restricting the use of new technologies.
“In this particular instance, it is a matter of our national security and the safety and protection of our military assets, infrastructure and classified information, including the men and women who serve in our armed services, civilians and their families, that we take these steps to protect against invasive threats to our military, inadvertent or otherwise,” Hanabusa said.
The bill authorizes security personnel to “disrupt control” of the system; “seize and exercise control” of the aircraft; “confiscate” the drone; “use reasonable force to disable or destroy” the drone; or “disrupt, alter or intercept any communications to or from” the drone.
Counter-drone technologies including lasers, software override technology, and directed-energy microwave devices have been explored.
“Recent reports indicate that Islamic State fighters are increasingly deploying armed unmanned aerial systems against our men and women in uniform and our allies abroad,” the two legislators and others said in a letter to the House Armed Services Committee. “Our concern, which is echoed by military leaders and terrorism experts, is that as the tactics and technology of weaponized UAS are proven on battlefields abroad, they will be exported to our shores for attacks and espionage against the homeland.”