An $892 billion coronavirus relief bill approved by Congress on Monday includes bipartisan legislation authorizing the Department of Homeland Security to assess security technology gaps along the southwest border and to designate an official to coordinate the department’s policies and plants to counter drone threats.
The Southwest Border Security Technology Improvement Act of 2020 (S. 4224) also requires DHS to review various technologies that would help the department to better carry out its border security mission, including manned and unmanned aircraft systems and sensors, mobile and surveillance systems, biometrics, aerostats, non-intrusive inspection systems, tunnel detection systems, communications equipment and more.
The DHS Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems Coordinator Act (S. 1867) would designate the coordinator position within the Office of Strategy, Policy and Plans. The official, a member of the Senior Executive Service, would also work with the Science and Technology Directorate to promote research and development of counter unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) technologies and coordinate information sharing across DHS related to counter UAS threat assessments and countering threats.
The counter UAS coordinator would also be the DHS point person for working with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement organizations and the private sector regarding the department’s C-UAS activities.
The bill must still be signed by President Trump.