Thursday, August 15, 2019

HR 3787 Introduced – UAS Coordinator

Last month Rep. Perry (R,PA) introduced HR 3787, the DHS Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems Coordinator Act. The bill would require the DHS Secretary to designate a Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Coordinator to “coordinate with relevant Department offices and components on the development of policies and plans to counter threats associated with UAS” {new §321(a)}. The bill is functionally identical to HR 6438 which was passed in the House in the 115th Congress. A related bill, S 1867, was introduced in June in the Senate.

The only difference in this bill and last years House bill is the absence of some administrative house cleaning measures in §2(b) of the bill that were addressed in Homeland Security spending bill passed earlier this year.

Moving Forward

Perry is no longer a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, the committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. This means that, unless he gets a cosponsor for the bill who is on the Committee, there is little chance that the bill will be considered.

The bill did get bipartisan support in the 115th Congress and it almost certainly would in this session as well.


As I mentioned last year, this bill does not provide for any exceptions to a number of federal statutes that would currently prohibit private sector organizations taking any actions to intercept, take down, or track the owner of a UAS. DOD has been provided substantial (almost sweeping) authority to take actions against UAS under 10 USC 130i, but similar authority provided to DHS and DOJ (6 USC 124n)was significantly constrained. And more importantly, no such authority has been extended to the private sector.

Interestingly, the Senate bill is closely tied to the authorizations provided in §124n and actually would terminate the authority for the position when §124n terminates on October 25th, 2022. The House bill is not tied to the DHS counter-UAS authority and has no termination provisions.

I think that this bill could be improved by expanding the authorized activities of DHS under §124n to include the protection of facilities covered under the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Security (CFATS) program by inserting a new §2(b) into the bill {while re-designating the current (b) as (c)}

(b) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program

(1) In general – 6 USC 124n(k)(3)(C)(i) is amended by adding (IV):

“(IV) protection of facilities covered under 6 CFR Part 27;

(2) The Secretary will publish regulations amending 6 CFR part 27 providing procedures for covered facilities that report quantities of release security issue chemicals of interest as defined in Appendix A to 6 CFR Part 27 to:

(A) track UAS approaching within ¼ mile of the reported facility boundaries;
(B) intercept communications between the controller and the UAS in accordance with §124n(b)(1)(A);
(C) warn the operator in accordance with §124n(b)(1)(B); and
(D) seize or exercise control of the UAS that is in the air space directly over the reported facility boundaries in accordance with §124n(b)(1)(D) if and only if the operator has been warned as in (C) above.

No comments:

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