Drone technology offers the potential to change our world — from enabling historic transformations in e-commerce to faster emergency response. But the technology also has a dark side. It can be used to spy on us, to threaten our critical infrastructure, or to attack crowds and public places.
For years, the Department of Homeland Security has worried about the dangers of unmanned aerial systems, and we have sought the legal authority to protect Americans against corrupted aerial devices. Today I have a pressing message for Congress: Time is running out.
As secretary of homeland security, I can tell you that threat is outpacing our ability to respond. Without congressional action, the U.S. government will remain unable to identify, track and mitigate weaponized or dangerous drones in our skies.
Just last month, officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported a spike in the use of drones at our borders. Transnational criminals are undoubtedly exploiting these systems to search for security gaps so they can avoid our officers and sneak into the country undetected.
Criminals are also using them to smuggle drugs. Last year, Border Patrol agents arrested a 25-year-old man for using a drone to ferry tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of methamphetamine across the southwest border, raising the specter that other dangerous goods could be transported the same way.
Worse still, terrorist groups such as the Islamic State aspire to use armed drones against our homeland and U.S. interests overseas. They have deployed bomb-laden aerial devices on the battlefield to surveil, disrupt and kill opposing forces, and they are sharing that expertise with others.
SEE Liteye’s Anti Drone technology, AUDS, is a smart-sensor and effector package capable of remotely detecting small UAS and then tracking and classifying them before providing the option to disrupt their activity. The system may be used in remote or urban areas to prevent UAS being used for terrorist attacks, espionage or other malicious activities against sites with critical infrastructure.