H.R. 6620 requires the Department of Homeland Security to prepare a threat assessment relating to unmanned aircraft systems and to establish a voluntary system for critical infrastructure owners to report on emerging threats.
In addition to recreational use, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones — are used across our Nation to support firefighting and search and rescue operations, to monitor and assess critical infrastructure, to provide disaster relief by transporting emergency medical supplies to remote locations, and to aid efforts to secure our borders. However, UAS can also be used for malicious schemes by terrorists, criminal organizations (including transnational organizations), and lone actors with specific objectives.
UAS-related threats may include:
- Weaponized or Smuggling Payloads: Depending on power and payload size, UAS may be capable of transporting contraband, chemical, or other explosive/weaponized payloads.
- Prohibited Surveillance and Reconnaissance: UAS are capable of silently monitoring a large area from the sky for nefarious purposes.
- Intellectual Property Theft: UAS can be used to perform cyber crimes involving theft of trade secrets, technologies, or sensitive information.
- Intentional Disruption or Harassment: UAS may be used to disrupt or invade the privacy of other individuals.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates combined hobbyist and commercial UAS sales will rise from 2.5 million in 2016 to 7 million by 2020.