US Army calls for units to discontinue use of DJI equipment

According to a U.S. Army memo obtained by sUAS News, the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy have concluded that there are operational risks associated with DJI equipment, a move that was run up the flag pole last month but kept under wraps.

Speaking to sUAS News via e-mail, DJI’s Public Relations Manager, Michael Perry said:

We are surprised and disappointed to read reports of the U.S. Army’s unprompted restriction on DJI drones as we were not consulted during their decision. We are happy to work directly with any organization, including the U.S. Army, that has concerns about our management of cyber issues.

We’ll be reaching out to the U.S. Army to confirm the memo and to understand what is specifically meant by ‘cyber vulnerabilities’.

Update – A U.S. Army spokesperson had the following to say via e-mail:

“We can confirm that guidance was issued; however, we are currently reviewing the guidance and cannot comment further at this time.”

Three weeks ago we ran a special show to highlight concerns being raised by cyber security experts.

 

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, G-3/5/7

400 ARMY PENTAGON

WASHINGTON, DC 20310-0400

DAMO-AV

MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD

2 August 2017

SUBJECT: Discontinue Use of Dajiang Innovation (DJI) Corporation Unmmaned Aircraft Systems

1. References:

a. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) report, “DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities,” dated 25 May 2017 (Classified).

b. Navy memorandum, “Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products,” dated 24 May 2017.

2. Background: DJI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) products are the most widely used non-program of record commercial off-the-shelf UAS employed by the Army. The Army Aviation Engineering Directorate has issued over 300 separate Airworthiness Releases for DJI products in support of multiple organizations with a variety of mission sets. Due to increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products, it is directed that the U.S. Army halt use of all DJI products. This guidance applies to all DJI UAS and any system that employs DJI electrical components or software including, but not limited to, flight computers, cameras, radios, batteries, speed controllers, GPS units, handheld control stations, or devices with DJI software applications installed.

3. Direction: Cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure equipment for follow on direction.

4. Point of Contact: Headquarters, Department of the Army G-3/5/7 Aviation Directorate, 703-693-3552

JOSEPH ANDERSON
Lieutenant General, GS
Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7

Some more background info:

Kevin Pomanski wrote an interesting article earlier this year regarding DJI’s data gathering:

“I am now sharing that there is situation related to gathering of UAS-related information that has been ongoing for a length of time. It involves the use of DJI drones to collect audio, visual and telemetry data on all flights across the Globe. The details shared here are perhaps known to a limited number of the worldwide owners and users of the DJI technology. I feel that this sort of knowledge is something that every UAS pilot and every person/company/agency needs to understand related to your aerial missions.”

And more recently: Will American Federal Agencies ban foreign drones?

Government Agencies, it is alleged, have security concerns. They are worried about just what data might be being shared unwittingly.

See more of our coverage of DJI here: https://www.suasnews.com/tag/dji/