In all likelihood the use of Chinese-made drones and Chinese-made drone components by federal agencies will soon be banned.
An amendment, which Representative Mike Gallagher, Republican from Wisconsin added to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA), would ban the purchase of “off-the-shelf drones” manufactured by a “covered foreign entity,” such as China, by any government executive agency. The prohibition would extend to drone components, “including flight controllers, radios, core processors, printed circuit boards, cameras, or gimbals.”
The legislation would also prohibit any federal agency from flying any existing drones in their fleets that are covered by the ban, beginning six months after the bill becomes a law. Agencies would be allowed to complete the purchase of drones and related components under purchase contracts executed before the bill’s passage, for a one-year period after the law goes into effect.
Both Houses of Congress passed their respective versions of the bill last month and the Armed Services Committees of both houses are meeting in a conference committee to produce the final version of the bill to go to President Trump’s desk for his signature.