There’s fire in the sky and then there’s fire FROM the sky — and that’s what hit home for Cait and Mike around Christmas 2018 when approximately 1,000 flights and 140,000 passengers saw their flights delayed or cancelled because of repeated UAS sightings at or near Gatwick airport in the U.K. Recognizing that the ongoing and increasing threat posed by Unmanned Aerial Systems had to be addressed, and seeing a policy window with the sunset of existing legislation, Cait and Mike led the interagency to develop a new path forward, resolving long standing issues and collaborating with critical constituencies inside the federal government, industry, and on the Hill.
Michael Hardin serves as the Director for Aviation and Surface Transportation, National Security Council where he leads the Entry/Exit Transformation Office, with the mission of accurately identifying and recording all arrivals and departures of foreign nationals from the United States, via air, land, or sea. He also spearheads key partnerships with the private sector developing U.S. biometric entry/exit systems. U.S. Army Major Caitlin Conley is Director for Counterterrorism, National Security Council where she advises the Council and the President on CT matters.
The UAV plan they developed builds or replaces authorities that were expiring, provides predictable and consistent funding – for research and development, for collaborative and cooperative efforts with the private sector and foreign counterparts, for operations that both mitigate risks of events before they occur and respond when they do. We need to move from tests, trials, and temporary authority, into multi-year, cross-government and industry, strategy implementation. As a result of their efforts, the Administration has published a new strategy and Congress has taken up key elements of the legislative proposal for near term action. The plan provides a strategy to counter Chinese dominance of the UAV market and risk to critical infrastructure from unfettered careless, clueless, and criminal operators where as late as 2021, there was none.