This bill, now in both the House and Senate amends Subtitle A of title II of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 121 et seq.) to expand the authority of the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice to include the mitigation of threats caused by unmanned vehicles. This expansion of authority includes the ability to detect, identify, monitor, and track unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) without prior consent of the operator. The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, in coordination with the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration, are also authorized to give warning to the operators of any potentially threatening unmanned systems, disrupt and/or seize the operator’s control, and confiscate or destroy the unmanned system. The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice are also directed to coordinate with the other departments and agencies listed above to conduct relevant research, trainings and regulations necessary to fulfill these authorities, maintain safe air traffic, and protect the privacy of unmanned system operators. The authorities granted under this bill would be funded through the Department of Homeland Security, which would provide interim reports to Congress for five years when these authorities would terminate.
The final section of this bill directs the DHS to brief the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives on the threats of unmanned vehicular terrorism caused as well as DHS strategies to support emergency responders and the private sector to prevent, mitigate, and respond to such threats.