Lawmakers who were briefed on hundreds of intrusions over the White House, Capitol and Pentagon worry about possible espionage.
In the past week or so, there have been multiple mass murder incidents (Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Virginia) involving guns or knives. Rather than address that, Congress and DHS would prefer to generate lots of fear over toy RC model aircraft.
This is prep work to have DHS (the power behind the FAA) write more restrictive drone regulations.
Even though they acknowledge there has been no actual threats – they use the monster under the bed approach to explain they are afraid. If we can imagine a threat, then we must be very scared.
They also come as Congress debates extending current federal authorities and adopting new ones to track the aerial vehicles as potential security threats.
“There’s YouTube videos that could walk your grandparents through how to update the software on one of these drones to be non-detectable and to do a whole lot of other things — get rid of elevation ceilings, all kinds of stuff,” said a government contractor who has helped to collect the data for federal authorities. “If you were to go buy a DJI drone at the store, it wouldn’t fly over airports or specific cities because of a specific no-fly zone. So, anything that we see in DC that is a DJI-manufactured product has been hacked or manipulated to enable flight in these zones.”
You can see where this is going – they will again propose to ban the sale of RC aircraft that can be modified – and likely resurrect their attempt to ban homemade RC aircraft altogether (which was part of the original proposal from December 2019). It will not stop actual threat actors – they can still build their own aircraft as has been done for 90 years!
Further, am guessing they will eventually propose that anyone flying a drone >250 grams end up with the equivalent of an FAA remote pilot license for all flights outside FAA sanctioned airfields.
All flights outside sanctioned airfields are already required to have remote ID (as of Sep 2023) – and the FAA is working with a third party to develop remote ID monitoring systems that will track everything in the air around all cities.
These news stories about “Congress briefed on intrusions”, or people in Europe arrested for flying drones over the incredibly remote Svalbard Island (must be Russian intelligence) – are groundwork propaganda to prepare for the next round of regulations. There will be more stories like this. You may remember those stories back in 2018-2019 of drones going to cause air disasters? Those disasters did not happen and haven’t happened since the new rules were enacted – but those rules are not yet in effect! – and nearly all scary drone stories vanished from the news.
But now we are back – not with scary air disaster scenarios but now it’s nebulous scary national security threats.
We see where this is going:
- New regulations will be introduced requiring the FAA to track all drone flights using the Remote ID system, and a network of receivers throughout the country. It’ll be ADSB but for model aircraft. This is back to the original proposal – but shifts network tracking from end users to the network itself (where it properly belongs).
- Homemade model aircraft will be banned – except for use at FAA sanctioned approved model airfields. This is what was proposed by the FAA in their original remote ID rules. In fact, the original proposal said it would gradually fade out approved airfields such that eventually, no homemade model aircraft could be flown anywhere in the U.S. While that was removed from the final rule, this line of thinking has probably returned.
- Am guessing Congress will eventually require a drone pilot’s license in addition to the remote ID network. This is a guess but it’s the kind of thinking that goes on in Congress.
Update: In a related move FCC Bans Authorizations for Devices That Pose National Security Threat | Federal Communications Commission (refers to communications and camera containing gear designed and manufactured by selected companies in China)