Hoeven: Homeland Security Committee Holds Hearing on Preventing Emerging Threats Act

Senator Helped Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Against UAS Misuse, Develop Counter-UAS Technology

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Homeland Security, today outlined the importance of protecting against the potential misuse of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and developing counter-UAS technologies at a hearing on the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018, bipartisan legislation he helped introduce. 

The legislation would give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) authority to protect important facilities from security risks posed by unmanned aircraft. At the same time, the bill directs DHS to evaluate emerging UAS threats and to research and test technology to address these risks. 

“Today’s hearing is all about preventing the misuse of UAS, which is an important component in ensuring that this industry continues to grow and develop. Our legislation will help provide the necessary tools to develop counter-UAS technologies,” said Hoeven. “North Dakota should play an important role in these efforts, as we have the necessary infrastructure and expertise to develop counter-UAS technologies.”

The legislation complements similar efforts Hoeven is undertaking, including: 

  • Advocating for the Administration to utilize Grand Forks’ UAS facilities and expertise to both develop counter-UAS technologies and train the agency’s UAS pilots with Administration officials. To this end, the senator and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen are working on a timeline for her to visit Grand Forks this summer, which will allow her to see firsthand the work of the Grand Sky Technology Park, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, the CBP UAS facility and the Grand Forks Air Force Base.
  • The senator joined Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao last month to announce that North Dakota was selected as one of ten sites to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) UAS integration pilot program. This reinforces North Dakota’s role as a leader in the future of the UAS industry, and the state’s work to develop low altitude beyond-visual-line-of-sight applications, UAS detection/counter-UAS technologies and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) unmanned traffic management (UTM) system. 
  • To continue the state’s work in these areas, Hoeven secured authorization for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to oversee UAS operations that go beyond the visual line of sight of the operator, as well as upgrades for the DASR-11 digital radar systems at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and a similar system at Hector Field in Fargo.