March 26, 2015

Watson Coleman Introduces Legislation to Address Potential Threats from Commercial Drones


Washington, DC (March 26, 2015) ― Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee’s Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 1646, the Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act, legislation intended to address the potential threat posed by small and medium-sized commercial drones.

“Drones have the potential for so much good, but like most technology there’s significant risk that they will be used for harm,” said Watson Coleman. “This bill addresses the need for security policies for drones, and coordination with state and local law enforcement to ensure we’re prepared for, and ideally able to prevent, an attack by a commercially available drone.”

“On January 27, a small drone landed on the grounds of the White House, and more recently, drones were observed flying over sensitive assets in France, including nuclear instillations, the home of the French President, and near the United States Embassy. Incidents like these demonstrate the risk posed by these devices and should add urgency to our response.”

“For far too long, DHS has ‎failed to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the security threat small and medium-sized drones pose,” said Full Committee Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS). “I applaud Subcommittee Ranking Member Watson Coleman for authoring legislation requiring the Department to do just that. I trust Chairman McCaul will see the wisdom of moving the bill through the Committee so that this emerging potential threat is addressed.”

H.R. 1646 would require DHS to:

  • Research how commercially available small and medium-sized drones could be used to perpetrate an attack;
  • Take the lead as the Federal department responsible for developing policies, guidance, and protocols to prevent an attack perpetrated with a small or medium-sized drone;
  • Disseminate information to State, local and tribal law enforcement officials regarding how to respond to potential threats from these drones, and;
  • Conduct an assessment of the security threat associated with the commercial availability of drones.

To see the full text of H.R. 1646 click here. To see the fact sheet for H.R. 1646, click here.