No more Private Public Rule-making – Why Should Congress Wait for Drone Advisory Committee Secrets?

No more Private Public Rule-making – Why Should Congress Wait for Drone Advisory Committee Secrets?
I’ve been in touch with the FAA about the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC).
They are stating that work is confidential until the DAC Task Groups reach consensus, but I don’t see that in the FACA Act. The FAA may have its version, and I have asked FAA Counsel for clarification and to cite where in the GSA version it says Task Group meeting are not open to the public and deliberations are private. That runs counter to the definitions which include sub-groups. It has not been made public what the “advocates” are advocating for. However, they are urging Congress to take their word that they know better. Don’t you think that the Congress and the public should be let in on the secret?


These new statements from the “advocacy” groups that were picked by the FAA (some with financial interest i.e. AUVSI’s UAS 2017) need what is The Government in the Sunshine Act.
We as stakeholders and members of the public have no qualified representation and should be alarmed about this “private” rulemaking process. I would challenge the community and government to point out in the FACA Act (from the GSA website linked below) anything that lays out guidelines for privacy and confidentiality. Contrary the FACA Act was meant to ensure “Transparency and Efficiency, ”  and I see a repeat of the Registration Taskforce which went against the law enacted by Congress and confirmed by the Court. If you don’t want another slipshod industry killer like the Registration Task Force, I would suggest you contact your House member and say no backroom deals in my name!

United States Senate and House of Representatives

The U.S. Capitol Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Members of Congress.

As organizations with a profound interest in the safe and responsible integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or “drones” into the National Airspace System (NAS), we acknowledge the unique and complex issues drones raise related to federal, state, and local roles and responsibilities. However, we believe legislation is premature and lawmakers should wait until efforts such as the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) have created consensus recommendations – with input from stakeholders – before considering changes to longstanding federal governance of the NAS. Legislating changes before consensus is reached may have dramatic unintended consequences that could stifle innovation, restrict economic growth and interstate commerce, and potentially compromise safety,

The FAA directed the DAC to “evaluate and analyze state or local government interests” which “could form the basis for recommendations to the DAC reflecting a consensus view that could be used to inform future agency action related to the relative role of state and local governments in regulating aspects of low-altitude UAS operations”The tasking statement directs the group to issue a report on its findings in 2017.

A consistent framework, agreed upon by all parties involved, is essential for the future regulatory system governing one of the fastest-growing areas in the aerospace and technology sectors. We appreciate your willingness to allow a multi-stakeholder process to proceed and not jeopardize ongoing and collaborative efforts


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Patrick Egan

Editor in Field, sUAS News Americas Desk | Patrick Egan is the editor of the Americas Desk at sUAS News and host and Executive Producer of the sUAS News Podcast Series, Drone TV and the Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition. Experience in the field includes assignments with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Battle Lab investigating solutions on future warfare research projects. Instructor for LTA (Lighter Than Air) ISR systems deployment teams for an OSD, U.S. Special Operations Command, Special Surveillance Project. Built and operated commercial RPA prior to 2007 FAA policy clarification. On the airspace integration side, he serves as director of special programs for the RCAPA (Remote Control Aerial Photography Association).