With another expiration of Counter-UAS authorities for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) looming in early February, the U.S. Congress and President Biden have approved a short-term bill to address this issue and funding for the government. The legislation extends current-level funding for some federal agencies through March 1 and others through March 8.
The stop-gap legislation is the third consecutive funding bill needed to avoid a partial government shutdown and keeps the federal government operating until early March. The temporary spending measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), aims to provide legislators in both the House and Senate with additional time to formulate and pass comprehensive appropriations bills for the remainder of the 2024 fiscal year. This stopgap funding approach allows for the continuation of government operations until a more comprehensive budget agreement is reached.
H.R. 2872, titled “Making further continuing appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024, and for other purposes,” was signed by President Biden on January 19.
Section 301 of the bill covered the extension of DHS and DOJ, and states, “Section 210G(i) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 124n(i)) is amended by striking “February 3, 2024” and inserting “March 9, 2024”.”
Had current authorities been allowed to expire, both DHS and DOJ would have been prohibited from using equipment and techniques to provide airspace awareness and protection that would otherwise violate federal laws. Limitations in authority impact the DOJ and DHS’s ability to protect events such as the Super Bowl, which, according to an October 2020 DOJ press release, the FBI has previously provided counter-UAS support to the event.
The authorities for DOJ and DHS originally expired in October 2022. Congress has been unable to pass any legislation that would expand counter-UAS authorities to state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement and owners and operators of critical infrastructure- measures needed to ensure the defense and security of the United States.
Post Image- Aerial view of Las Vegas- Home of Super Bowl 58 (Image Credit: envatoelements by Mint_Images)