Former Congressmen Urge Lawmakers to Avoid “Sweeping and Ineffectual” Bans

Former Congressmen, Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Jeff Denham (R-CA), believe Congressional successes provide a roadmap to solving current drone security concerns, by urging lawmakers to avoid “sweeping and ineffectual” bans.  

The purpose of this drone legislation is to address the bans, which sought to limit purchases of drones based on country of origin or other broad criteria.

Their article strongly criticizes the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to ban the purchase of Chinese made drones with DOJ funding, and current drone legislation under discussion, which the Congressmen call “sweeping and ineffectual.” Both of these authors served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee: Shuster is the former Chairman of the committee, and he and fellow Congressman Denham, were instrumental in “crafting versions of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 (the AIRR Act) which included provisions for Remote ID and other proposed drone legislation.”  

Now, however, the Congressmen have second thoughts as they argue that broad drone bans risk unintended consequences to governmental functions. They point out, “In some cases, overly broad bans have been imposed that are actually hindering the ability of federal agencies to carry out their work,” and urge lawmakers to “look to risk-based drone policy making, which has proven effective in the past.”*

Like DJI and other Chinese manufacturers have previously expressed since lawmakers expressed security concerns over Chinese technology, the Congressmen wrote that the most effective way to efficiently ensure security of drone platforms, is to find a data-driven model that will address current security concerns and provide clear security standards, which have proven effective in the past. 

“Developing risk-based standards informed by examining technology, debating solutions and leveraging the thoughtful work of industry and government stakeholders has proven to be an effective approach to the serious matter of drone security. It’s the approach policymakers should continue to take as Washington crafts policies to ensure that the potential of drone technology is harnessed fully and safely for our economy and our society.”*

Looking to risk-based drone policy making that has proven effective in the past should guide our governmental policies in the present and future.


Stakeholders — both within and outside of the government — should be consulted in order to develop informed and comprehensive security standards that apply equally to all drones, regardless of where they are made, or where they purchase the components.

The drone market needs policies that ensure that the potential of drone technology is utilized fully and safely for our economy and our society. 

And, as we learn of history to inform our future, both in not repeating mistakes in the past, and also learning of what worked well in the past. As in the case of learning of past methods of using drones the safest way possible. Thus using methods of safely using drones in the past can certainly inform our present and future to use drones more fully and effectively given the increased safety gleaned by past successful and safe methods.

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