Sen. Cotton, colleagues introduce bill to prohibit U.S. government from purchasing drones from adversaries

Politics

Washington, D.C. (News Release) —  Today, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with Senators Rick Scott (R-Florida), Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) introduced the American Security Drone Act of 2019, which prohibits the U.S. government from purchasing drones manufactured in countries identified as national security threats like Iran and China.

“China has stolen sensitive drone technology from America’s businesses and military for years, and now sells it back to us from a dominant position in the commercial drone market. Relying on drones made by our adversaries is a clear risk to our national security. This bill will ensure that all drones purchased by the U.S. government are made right here in America, or else by friendly nations that don’t wish us harm,” said Cotton.

“There are nations around the world, like China, that are actively building up their militaries to compete with America. China is STEALING our technology and intellectual property, yet the U.S. Government continues to buy critical technology, like drones, with American tax dollars from Chinese companies backed by their government. For far too long, we have turned a blind eye to China and allowed their technology into some of the most critical operations of the U.S. Government. This has to stop. The American Security Drone Act protects our information and national security by prohibiting the federal government and our military from buying drones manufactured in countries that are our adversaries,” said Scott.

“Our taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to support Chinese-developed technologies that undercut American companies and put our national security at risk. We know that China and other adversaries have used drones to spy and collect sensitive data in the past, and I’ve heard directly from companies in Connecticut that are concerned about this issue. Instead of rewarding bad actors like China we should be investing in the development of a U.S.-based supply chain that creates jobs and protects our national security,” said Murphy.

The American Security Drone Act:

  • Prohibits federal departments and agencies from procuring any foreign commercial off-the-shelf drone or covered unmanned aircraft system manufactured or assembled in countries identified as national security threats, and provides a timeline to end current use of these drones.
  • Prohibits the use of federal funds awarded through contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements to state or local governments from being used to purchase foreign commercial off-the-shelf drones or covered unmanned aircraft systems manufactured or assembled in a country identified as a national security threat.
  • Requires the Comptroller General of the United States to submit a report to Congress detailing the amount of foreign commercial off-the-shelf drones and covered unmanned aircraft systems procured by federal departments and agencies from countries identified as national security threats.

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