S.1631Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act of 2023, was introduced by sponsor Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), on May 16, 2023. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and John Hoeven (R-ND) were the original co-sponsors of the bill.

Since the introduction of the bill, additional co-sponsors have been added to the proposed legislation, including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH).

The current legislative authorities for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security will soon expire on September 30, 2023. The authority for both agencies originally expired on October 5, 2022, but was extended through a series of continuing resolutions until President Biden signed the FY 2023 budget in December 2022. A provision in the budget extended the authority for those agencies until the end of September 2023.

State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial (SLTT) law enforcement agencies, owners and operators of critical infrastructure, and others concerned about the growing threat of drones to the homeland are anxiously awaiting action from Congress to address the matter. Current laws limit the types of technologies that these entities can use to protect critical infrastructure, assets, and mass gatherings.

The use of certain drone RF detection technologies may violate provisions of federal law, and all drone mitigation technologies violate federal law. Only the DOJ, DHS, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy have legislative authority to use drone detection and mitigation technologies that would otherwise be illegal.

Please visit A Short History of Law Enforcement C-UAS in the U.S.  for more information on Safeguarding the Homeland from the Threats Posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act of 2023, as well as a history of the use of Counter-UAS technology by the DOJ and DHS.

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