On Monday, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers launched a renewed effort to broaden the government’s powers to identify and neutralize drones that may present security threats.
The proposed legislation, introduced by Representatives Chrissy Houlahan, Mike Gallagher, Troy Carter, and Mike Johnson, advocate for permitting state and local law enforcement agencies and operators of critical infrastructure to employ drone detection technology. In addition, the bill would empower the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to safeguard transportation infrastructure from potential drone threats actively.
The lawmakers say their goal is to tie this proposal to the annual defense bill, complementing a similar drone-focused proposal presented in the Senate in May. Houlahan expressed the pressing need for this legislation, citing the potential “catastrophic effects of a drone strike.” She referenced the concerns raised around high-visibility events like presidential inaugurations and significant sporting events, including the Super Bowl and the Olympics, which could be particularly vulnerable to drone threats.
In addition to introducing new measures, the proposed legislation aims to renew the government’s existing drone authority, set to expire on September 30. It proposes the creation of a new pilot program that would authorize a select number of state and local law enforcement agencies, under federal supervision, to take down threatening drones.
This initiative mirrors the longstanding advocacy of the White House and US sports leagues for expanded authority to detect and neutralize dangerous drones. Several key organizations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Football League, and Major League Baseball, have expressed concern about the significant risk drones pose to airports and sporting events without expanded authority.