Friday, September 7, 2018

S 2836 Reported in Senate – UAS Protection

Earlier this week the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee published their report on S 2836, the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018. Additionally, the amended version of the bill was also published. The changes to the bill were made during a mark-up hearing conducted by the Committee on June 13th, 2018.

Additional Protections

The changes made to the bill by the Committee did not make any major changes to the counter-UAS activities that DHS and DOJ are authorized to undertake. There were, however, three new constraints that would have to be considered before conducting counter-UAS activities. DHS and DOJ would be required to {new §210G(a)(2)}:

• Avoid infringement of the privacy and civil liberties of the people of the United States and the freedom of the press consistent with Federal law and the Constitution of the United States, including with regard to the testing of any equipment and the interception or acquisition of unmanned aircraft or systems;
• Limit the geographic reach and duration of the actions to only those areas and time frames that are reasonably necessary to address a reasonable threat; and
Use reasonable care not to interfere with authorized or non-threatening manned or unmanned aircraft, communications, equipment, facilities or services

Moving Forward

It is unlikely that this bill could be brought to the floor of the Senate using any of the abbreviated consideration options found in the Senate rules. This means that there would almost certainly have to be significant floor debate and provisions for the consideration of amendments. With the constraints of time facing the body prior to the upcoming elections, it is unlikely that this bill will be considered until Congress returns from the battle royale in November. Even then, the chances of this bill making to the floor for a vote are probably low.


Some of the ‘changes’ that I reported on in HR 6401 actually come from the revised language in this bill. Actually, the only significant change in the House bill is the language limiting the ‘notwithstanding’ clause in §210G(a)(1). While both bills would provide rather blanket authorization to avoid a wide variety of federal law regarding protections of aircraft and communications, the House language provides more targeted exemptions for specific activities rather than the blanket exemption from KK US criminal statutes found in the Senate bill. I really think that the Senate bill should adopt the House language for that clause.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */