A developing story with far-reaching implications.
Appearing across multiple outlets the DOI seems to have grounded all Chinese RPAS in its care.
Department of the Interior spokesperson Melissa Brown issued the following statement.
“Secretary Bernhardt is reviewing the Department of the Interior’s drone program. Until this review is completed, the Secretary has directed that drones manufactured in China or made from Chinese components be grounded unless they are currently being utilized for emergency purposes, such as fighting wildfires, search and rescue, and dealing with natural disasters that may threaten life or property,”
Last week the House Homeland Security Committee advanced the Drone Origin Security Enhancement Act. An effort in some ways to make things, made in America, the only things used in America. Security is the lever.
A quick aside, this will not create a DJI sized American manufacturer as exporting drone technology from America is heavily sanctioned under ITAR regulations. The very regs that gave a space for Chinese drones in which to grow.
Speaking during the hearing on the 23rd October 2019, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said
“Numerous reports over the last few years suggest Chinese-made drones could potentially be used to send sensitive flight information to China-based companies where it could be easily accessed by the Chinese government,”
The DOI had commissioned a report on the security implications of operating Chinese drones. They had deduced all was fine.
I suspect the DOI hit pause because to continue to buy equipment that might become unusable for political reasons shortly would be foolish. The Department of Defense has already stopped buying Chinese drones.
Chris Murphy (D- Connecticut) a co-sponsor of the Bill made this statement overnight.
“Following many conversations between my office and the Interior Department, I’m glad to see the Department has seen the light and reversed course,” said Scott in a statement. “We should not, under any circumstances, put American national security at risk by using taxpayer dollars to purchase Chinese tech.”
We live in interesting times.