Multi-Association Letter on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Legislation

To the Members of the United States Congress:

The undersigned organizations strongly urge Congress to enact tailored legislation to effectively address threats posed by the illicit and careless use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Congress should extend existing counter-UAS authorities for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security before their expiration on September 30, 2023. Congress should also responsibly expand detection and mitigation authorities to other key federal government agencies and functions, and detection authorities to private sector entities, and implement a pilot program for state and local law enforcement, balanced by appropriate safeguards. 

UAS provide significant economic, social, and national security benefits to the United States and we must lead globally in this innovative technology. Importantly, the vast majority of UAS operations do not pose any threat. However, the misuse of UAS creates significant economic, public safety, and national security risks for governments, the private sector, and the public. Specific risks include the disruption of authorized and lawful commercial activity, industrial espionage, endangerment of others operating in the national airspace and persons and property on the ground, and terrorism and criminal activity.

At present, four federal agencies have the legal authority to pursue counter-UAS detection and mitigation actions for targeted missions and are crucial to protect the safety and security of sensitive facilities and assets. DHS and DOJ’s authorities expire this Fall and must be extended by Congress to allow these agencies to continue their counter-UAS missions.[1]. While we strongly support the extension of these soon expiring authorities, a more comprehensive approach is required to establish a layered defense against sensitive public and private sector operations, events, and sites. These include critical infrastructure facilities, mass gatherings such as sporting and entertainment events, and airports.

Without expanded authorities, these types of facilities, operations, and events are at substantial risk from malicious and unauthorized UAS operations. Finally, we recognize the complexities presented by employing counter-UAS technologies, and support placing reasonable and tailored guardrails on expanded counter-UAS use to achieve important objectives including protecting privacy and civil rights, ensuring aviation safety, addressing spectrum interference, enabling the continued federal regulation and oversight of the national airspace, and allowing lawful commercial activity.

Ensuring the safety and security of the national airspace is a crucial priority for our organizations, and a tailored counter-UAS framework plays a significant role in achieving that objective. We urge you to act on this important issue.


American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
Air Line Pilots Association
Airlines for America
Airports Council International – North America
American Association of Airport Executives
American Chemistry Council
American Petroleum Institute
Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies
Center for Procurement Advocacy
Commercial Drone Alliance
DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance
IAAPA, The Global Association for the Attractions Industry
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America
Major Cities Chiefs Association
Major County Sheriffs of America
Major League Baseball
Major League Soccer
Nuclear Energy Institute
National Football League
National Fusion Center Association
National Hockey League
Security Industry Association
Stadium Managers Association
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

[1] Aside from DHS and DOJ, the Departments of Energy and Defense also have certain-UAS authorities that are not expiring this Fall.