Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey (D) on Monday asked the Federal Aviation Administration to explain its position on state and local authorities being allowed to test and evaluate unmanned aircraft system (UAS) security technology, saying it is his position that these entities should have the legal authority to carry out these activities given their front-line responsibilities.

“I believe that state and local authorities should have the legal authority to test counter-UAS technology in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and request more information to discern why it is the FAA’s position that trusted state and local officials do not have the authority to test this technology,” Markey wrote in the March 9 letter to Administrator Stephen Dickson.

Later in the letter, Markey said, “The FAA’s position on counter-UAS testing is concerning because state and local authorities are now on the front-lines of drone security and have an integral role to play in defending against threats posed by this emerging technology.”

If state and local authorities can’t conduct drone security evaluations alongside the FAA, that will mean delays in implementing the technology, he said.

Currently, the Department of Homeland Security and FBI have limited authorities to protect certain assets from potential drone threats in the U.S. DHS also has the authority to test and evaluate drone security systems for domestic purposes. The Departments of Defense and Energy also have authorities to protect certain domestic assets from drone threats.

Markey asked Dickson if statutory changes are necessary to allow state and local authorities to conduct counter UAS testing. He also asked the FAA chief that if it’s just a matter of changing regulations to allow state and local authorities to test drone security technologies and, if so, “will FAA make these necessary changes? If not, why not?”

Markey pointed out in letter that as the use of drones increase, so does their potential for malign uses.