The Bureau of Counterterrorism within the U.S. Department of State hosted the inaugural in-person workshop of the Counter-Drone Five Eyes (FVEY) Policy Forum in Washington, D.C., from August 22 to 24, 2023. This event brought together FVEY partners and key U.S. government stakeholders for substantive discussions on counter-drone strategies. The focus was on developing and implementing national policies, enhancing collaboration among FVEY partners, and strategizing for the future of the Counter-Drone FVEY Policy Forum.

FVEY nations’ delegates included representatives from the United Kingdom’s Home Office and Ministry of Defence, Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Transport Canada, Australia’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development Communications and the Arts, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport. The U.S. delegation featured representatives from the National Security Council, the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies, Customs and Border Protection and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Department of Defense.

Counter-Drone Five Eyes (FVEY) Policy Forum Day One

The initial day of the workshop brought together participants at the Department of State’s George C. Marshall Center for introductory sessions, presentations by FVEY partners outlining their ongoing challenges, and panel discussions addressing the characterization of drone threats and current mitigation practices. Chris Landberg, Senior Bureau Official of the Bureau of Counterterrorism, and Jeffrey Giauque, Deputy Coordinator for Crisis Response and Technology, delivered the opening remarks. Both expressed gratitude for the participants’ commitment and collaborative efforts in countering drones and emerging technology threats. Senior Bureau Official Landberg underscored the Department of State’s unwavering commitment to addressing the potential misuse of technology by terrorists. He emphasized the imperative of a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to counter this evolving technology, recognizing its increasing significance in the future landscape of modern warfare and society.

After the opening remarks, representatives from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States provided comprehensive insights into their respective national perspectives on drone threats. They covered topics such as existing policies, regulatory frameworks, and domestic strategies employed to counter drones. Brent Cotton, Director for the C-UAS Program Management Office at the Department of Homeland Security, spoke on behalf of the United States, offering a detailed account of the 18-month process involved in formulating new legislation and policies for countering drones across various interagency channels. This presentation provided participants with valuable perspectives on the shared challenges and distinctive approaches of the FVEY partners in countering drones. It also delved into the complexities of crafting streamlined counter-drone legislation, encompassing authorities, policies, technical requirements, and the subsequent implementation of these measures.

Counter-Drone Five Eyes (FVEY) Policy Forum Day Two

Serving as the official co-host of the FVEY Counter-Drone Policy Forum, the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., hosted the second day of the workshop. During this session, participants extended their discussions on evolving threats and trends in the context of drones. FVEY partners and U.S. government stakeholders actively engaged in panel discussions exploring the beneficial applications of drones. The panels also delved into the current status of each country’s integration of drones into legislative and regulatory frameworks, addressing challenges related to incorporating aerial drones into civil society and the national airspace.

Day Three Technical Demonstration hosted by the Department of Homeland Security

The workshop’s final day was at the St. Elizabeths campus, hosted by the Department of Homeland Security. A technical demonstration featured displays from the State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Customs and Border Protection, and MITRE.

Photograph of a drone controller with someone speaking in the background.
Technical demonstrations showcased some of the current technology, tactics, techniques, and procedures that are being employed by both drone threat actors and counter-drone law enforcement. (Image Credit: U.S. State Department)


This demonstration included drones operating at high speeds, executing simulated attacks by dropping payloads, drone swarms, and fixed-wing drone operations. It effectively highlighted the considerable advantages of drones while emphasizing the evolving and concerning threats they pose to national security. Crucially, the demonstration underscored the imperative for robust collaboration among FVEY partners. The Counter-Drone FVEY Policy Forum was acknowledged as a pivotal initial step in developing consistent policies to counter the nefarious use of this technology.

The workshop concluded with participants from all five countries committing to formalize the FVEY Counter-Drone Policy Forum as a lasting entity dedicated to the evolution and implementation of counter-drone policies. They agreed that the substantial value of this face-to-face meeting warranted establishing future meetings as an annual event.

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Post Image- The first gathering of the Counter-Drone FVEY Policy Forum Workshop brought together stakeholders to discuss what can be done to enable solutions to address the growing and emerging threats and opportunities of drone technology. (Post Image Credit: U.S. State Department)