Monday, June 24, 2019

S 1867 Introduced – UAS Coordinator

Earlier this month Sen. Johnson (R,WI) introduced S 1867, the DHS Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems Coordinator Act. The bill would require DHS to establish within the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans the position of Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Coordinator. The provisions of the bill are similar to HR 6438 that was introduced, and subsequently passed in the House in the 115th Congress.


The bill would add a new section 321 to the Homeland Security Act of 2002. It would establish the position of Coordinator who would be responsible for overseeing and coordinating with relevant Department offices and components, including the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Privacy Office, on the development of guidance and regulations to counter threats associated with unmanned aircraft systems as described in 6 USC 124n.

In addition to the promoting research and development in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology, the coordinator would be required to work with “with the relevant components and offices of the Department, including the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, to ensure the sharing of information, guidance, and intelligence relating to countering UAS threats, counter UAS threat assessments, and counter UAS technology” {new §321(a)(2)(C)}.

The Coordinator would also “serve as the principal Department official responsible for sharing to the private sector information regarding counter UAS technology, particularly information regarding instances in which counter UAS technology may impact lawful private sector services or systems” {new §321(c)}.

The position of Coordinator would terminate at the same time as the provisions of §124(n).

Moving Forward

Johnson is the Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee so it is very likely that this bill would move forward in Committee. If the bill were to make it to the floor of the Senate, it would likely be considered under the Senate’s unanimous consent process.

If this bill passes in the Senate, it is close enough to the HR 6438 language that it would likely pass in the House with bipartisan support.


This bill, like the provisions of §124(n), still fail to resolve the problems that critical infrastructure facilities have with protecting themselves from attack by UAS. The most important of those problems are the legal prohibitions against attacking aircraft in US airspace. Until that problem is adequately resolved, facilities are going to be extremely limited in actions that they can take.

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