How’s the FAA Coming on Integrating Domestic Drones into US Airspace?

Though much of my attention goes to military drones used outside the US, the regulatory issues surrounding US domestic drones are vital and difficult.  Domestic drones of many types, sizes, and functions will become an increasingly important part of US aviation over time, and the issues are thorny.  Lawyer types like me tend to focus on privacy issues, or government surveillance, and such issues – but there are big questions long before one gets to those about how even to integrate drones into the existing domestic airspace.  The FAA has been tasked by Congress to get on with resolving the whole range of domestic drone issues.  Wells Bennett – a lawyer who is the Lawfare blog’s Special Correspondent and a Visiting Fellow in National Security Law at the Brookings Institution – has a new paper up at the Brookings website (link here at Lawfare) on how it’s coming along.  It covers:

  • (1) key benchmarks set by the FAA Modernization and Authorization Act, the statute behind the integration process;
  • (2) the agency’s progress to date in meeting those benchmarks; and
  • (3) core policy issues that must be addressed before late 2015—the so-called “deadline” for integration of privately–as well as government-operated drones.

 

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