January 25th, 2012 by Steven Aftergood
The use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) within the United States is certain to increase in the years to come, as a new Army policy has recently made clear. (“Army Foresees Expanded Use of Drones in U.S. Airspace,” Secrecy News, January 19.) But in fact the use of unmanned aircraft or drones within U.S. airspace has already advanced to a degree that is not widely recognized.
As of 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration had already issued hundreds of “certificates of authorization” (COAs) for the domestic use of drones.
“Right now, today as we sit here, we have 251 certificates of authorization for unmanned aircraft, 140 of them are DOD related,” said Hank Krakowski of the FAA at an informative Senate hearing in September 2010. “We have not rejected or denied any DOD COAs in 2010, and we keep moving forward.”
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