Amanda Armistead Comments on Evolving Drone Policy for Roll Call

December 4, 2019

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In a Nov. 27 article for Roll Call, McGuireWoods Consulting senior vice president, Amanda Armistead, provided comments on how government agencies are working to address drone threats at airports.

In 2018, drone sightings shut down the Gatwick Airport near London, stranding a number of travelers over the holiday season. In the year since the “Battle of Gatwick,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a coalition of federal agencies have both developed plans to thwart unauthorized use of drones near aircraft and airports.

The FAA is hoping to release a long-awaited Remote ID rule in December to help match a drone operator to the device, using the electronic equivalent of a license plate.

“The technology will allow law enforcement to essentially tell right away the difference between a good actor and a bad actor,” Armistead said.

In a separate effort, a coalition of federal agencies is pushing for a plan to allow federal air marshals to shoot drones out of the sky if necessary.

“Congress wrote the law in such a way to create a limited authority to shoot down drones over certain federal installations and special events like the Super Bowl,” Armistead said. “They didn’t want to open it up and say, ‘Have at it.’ They wanted to make sure they had a good understanding of the ramifications before they looked at expanding.”