The Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018: IDGA Insights & Overview

The new legislation provides DOJ and DHS to
detect, track and mitigate potential threats from
small drones, including those used for
recreational and commercial purposes. Though it
is still illegal to shoot down an aircraft in national
airspace, the government can now begin testing,
evaluating and purchasing counter UAS
technologies. Public RFPs are expected to become
available within the next year once the agencies
(DHS, DOJ, and DoD) narrow down their
approaches for detection, identification, tracking,
and mitigation. Considering the commercial UAS
market is expected to reach USD 17 billion by
2024, 2019 is poised to be a year of significant
growth in the global anti-drone market, as
multiple RFPs are being issued around the world
for systems that can deal with this type of threat.
Despite the promise for opportunity, the
“Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018” is not
without its critics. To start, without specifically
defining a ‘credible threat’ or a ‘covered facility or
asset,’ the Act leaves much up to interpretation.
Secondly, the bill does not require the
government to obtain judicial authorization
before seizing or destroying a drone.
Furthermore, critics argue, it lacks the oversight
and accountability measures necessary to prevent
DHS and DOJ from abusing or misusing their
authority. Lastly, though the bill explicitly states it
will not interfere with the First and Fourth
Amendments, it does not provide details on how
it will avoid doing so. As a result, many critics
argue that the bill does not go far enough to
protect the privacy, free speech and due process
rights of U.S. Citizens.
In an effort to mitigate some of these fears,
Mathews confirmed that an executive steering
committee has been formed to look into these
issues. He indicated that the DHS plans to
coordinate with the DOJ, DoD, and DOT (FAA) in
order to come to a conclusion reflecting the
agencies’ views. As Mathews explained, “I
personally understand the concern, but we have