New Department of Defense Guidance "Cracks Down" on Drones

A drone flies against the Seattle skyline. REUTERS  Chris Helgren

New Department of Defense Guidance "Cracks Down" on Drones

The government has become more strict about drone rules and what happens when you break those rules, and latest among its efforts to curb improper drone usage is a new policy that lets the military shoot them out of the sky.

The Defense Department last week sent additional classified guidance to the services and installations to further flesh out how the military can defend against small unmanned aerial systems, according to a press release issued Monday. The Pentagon has given the military the green light and new guidelines allowing the military to down drones flying near or over select USA military bases.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Monday the new guidance details how DoD should coordinate with local communities on UAS restrictions.

Davis said the Defense Department worked with the FAA and other federal agencies to develop its new policy.

Guidance was sent August 4 to the services and to installations about the use of small unmanned aircraft systems - commonly called drones - over and around military installations in the United States, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said.

Prominent locations including the Pentagon and Washington are already "no drone zones". The drones could also be seized or impounded.

As drones increase in use, Pentagon officials have grown increasingly concerned they could interfere with military training operations within the United States or be used to target personnel.

What Caused the U.S. Army to Create This New Policy?

Davis said the military will determine how to handle each situation on a case-by-case basis depending on each circumstance and the type of installation where unmanned aircraft are loitering.

The FAA estimated the commercial drone fleet would grow from 42,000 at the end of 2016 to about 442,000 aircraft by 2021.

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