U.S. Rep. Michael Guest discusses bipartisan efforts to address challenges facing rural hospitals during the 2019 Rural Healthcare Summit at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The UAS Act prohibits DHS from buying or using drones made in a country officially identified as a foreign adversary

Last Week, H.R. 4682 – The Unmanned Aerial Security (UAS) Act was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by voice vote. The Unmanned Aerial Security Act was introduced by Congressman Michael Guest and prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from entering into or renewing a contract for any unmanned aircraft systems or drones that have been manufactured in China or other countries deemed to be foreign adversaries.

“Of the top drone manufacturers that supply the United States market, a single Chinese manufacturer has nearly 77% of the market share,” Congressman Guest said. “The Department of Homeland Security has issued warnings about Chinese made drones, specifically citing concerns that data collected by the drones can be accessed by the Chinese government. This legislation is vital to protect our sensitive information from the Chinese Communist Party.”

This bill would require DHS to provide a threat assessment report to Congress on whether DHS has analyzed the threat of its drones from ‘covered foreign countries,’ the number of these drones the Department has in operation, and the extent to which the information gathered by these drones may be a threat to the homeland or economic security of the United States. The report is required not later than 180 days after enactment.

In addition, this bill would require DHS to notify relevant Congressional Committees within 14 days of any waiver granted. It would also allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive the prohibition on using or purchasing drones from covered foreign countries after certifying in writing to Congress that the drone is in the national interest of the U.S., is needed for counter-UAS research and training, or for intelligence and warfare information testing and analysis.

“The Department of Homeland Security utilizes drones for critical missions, and it is imperative that we trust the technology we are using. It is well known that the Chinese Communist Party has stolen our technology and information in the past. That’s why this legislation is so important. It would help mitigate security risks by ensuring our drones are not manufactured by our adversaries – including those manufacturers influenced by the CCP,” Guest said.

Congressman Guest introduced and sponsored this bill with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY) co-sponsoring H.R. 4682. This bill was passed on August 29, 2021 on motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill.

“I’m honored to have worked closely with Ranking Member Katko and other Members on the Committee on Homeland Security on this bill, and I’d like to thank my colleagues in the House for supporting this important piece of legislation,” Guest stated.