Stefanik’s Anti-China and Anti-DJI Drone Bill Sparks Controversy

Estimated read time 3 min read

The PIXL Drone Show Talks with Vic Moss

In today’s episode of the Pixel Drone Show, hosts Greg from Pilot Institute and Haye from DroneXL welcomed Vic Moss, president of the Drone Service Provider Alliance (DSPA) and director of the Drone Advocacy Alliance (DAA), to discuss Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s proposed bill targeting DJI and other Chinese drone manufacturers.

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Stefanik’s Anti-China Drone Bill and Its Implications

The “Countering CCP Drones Act,” introduced by Congresswoman Stefanik, seeks to ban DJI from obtaining FCC licenses for new drones and related equipment. This move would effectively prevent new DJI drones from being sold in the U.S., impacting both commercial drone pilots and recreational users.

Moss emphasized, “This bill could severely disrupt the Drone Industry, affecting everyone from hobbyists to professionals.”

Background and Intent

Stefanik’s bill is rooted in concerns about security risks posed by Chinese-made drones. The allegation is that data collected by these drones could be sent back to China, compromising critical infrastructure. This concern gained traction during the Trump administration and continues to be a hot topic in Washington. Moss speculated that Stefanik’s aggressive stance might be driven by her political ambitions, aiming to secure a spot on the vice-presidential ticket.

The Role of the Drone Advocacy Alliance

The DAA, originally supported by DJI but now operating autonomously, has been actively campaigning against the bill.

Moss highlighted the grassroots nature of the organization, saying, “We’re a true grassroots organization fighting for the rights of drone users across the country.”

June 12: A Critical Date for the Drone Industry

June 12 marks the beginning of the Senate’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which could include language from the Countering CCP Drones Act. Moss urged drone enthusiasts and professionals to take action by contacting their Senators through the DAA’s Take Action page.

“It’s crucial that we make our voices heard before the Senate finalizes their version of the NDAA,” Moss stated.

Security Concerns and Possible Solutions

The podcast also delved into the security concerns surrounding DJI drones. Moss and the hosts discussed the need for clear cybersecurity protocols that all drone manufacturers, regardless of their country of origin, must meet.

“Setting cybersecurity standards is a common-sense solution that ensures safety without unjustly targeting specific companies,” Moss argued.

The Impact on U.S. Manufacturers

The bill also includes provisions to support U.S. drone manufacturers, but Moss questioned the effectiveness of these measures. He pointed out that the current 25% tariff on Chinese drones has not significantly boosted U.S. production.

“We need to invest directly in U.S. drone manufacturing rather than relying on tariffs and bans that could stifle innovation,” Moss suggested.

DroneXL’s Take

Stefanik’s bill poses a significant threat to the drone industry, potentially grounding many pilots and stifling innovation. While security concerns are valid, a more balanced approach involving cybersecurity standards and direct investment in U.S. manufacturing would be more effective. It’s crucial for the drone community to stay informed and take action to ensure that common-sense solutions prevail over politically motivated measures.

For more information and to take action, visit the Drone Advocacy Alliance website.

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