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unmanned aircraft/drones

In addition to recreational use, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones—are used across the United States to support firefighting and search and rescue operations; to monitor and assess critical infrastructure; to provide disaster relief by transporting emergency medical supplies to remote locations; and to aid efforts to secure our borders.

But UAS can also be used for malicious schemes by terrorists, criminal organizations (including transnational organizations), and lone actors with specific objectives.

Actions You Can Take

Recognizing and implementing security practices that meet federal, state, and local regulatory requirements are key to successfully managing potential security incidents associated with UAS.

Although no single solution will fully mitigate this risk, there are several measures that can be taken to address UAS-related security challenges:

• Research and implement legally approved counter-UAS technology.

• Know the air domain around the facility and who has authority to take action to enhance security.

• Contact the FAA to consider UAS restrictions in close proximity to fixed site facilities. More information can be found on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website at

• Update Emergency/Incident Action Plans to include UAS security and response strategies.

• Build federal, state, and local partnerships for adaptation of best practices and information sharing. More information can be found at

• Report potential UAS threats to your local law enforcement agency.

Both the Federal Government and state legislatures have established regulations for UAS operation—using U.S. codes (statutes) and federal regulations on the federal level and by statute on the state level.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) focuses primarily on safety (see the Code of Federal Regulations at 14 CFR Part 107) while state statutes often focus on the appropriate use of UAS and the protection of privacy interests.

Although the FAA and state governments have major roles in providing guidance and regulation for UAS operations and management, it is important to note that other users also play important roles. For example, airports, law enforcement, pilots, and the UAS operators also have important responsibilities in the safe and appropriate operation of UAS within the National Airspace System (NAS).

In Texas, the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as drones, is regulated by both federal and state law. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the primary body governing the safety of UAS operations under 14 CFR Part 107, which includes rules for commercial drone pilots and the operation of drones within the National Airspace System (NAS). These federal regulations cover registration requirements, operational limitations, and pilot certification. On the state level, Texas has statutes that address the appropriate use of UAS, focusing on privacy protection and the prevention of misuse. Texas Government Code Chapter 423, for example, prohibits the use of UAS to capture images of individuals or privately owned property with the intent to conduct surveillance without consent. Additionally, Texas law allows for the use of drones by law enforcement and emergency services for specific purposes such as firefighting, search and rescue, and disaster relief, but also recognizes the potential for malicious use by unauthorized individuals or groups. To mitigate security risks associated with UAS, Texas entities are encouraged to implement counter-UAS technology where legal, understand airspace authority, update emergency plans to include UAS response strategies, and build partnerships for best practices and information sharing. Potential UAS threats should be reported to local law enforcement agencies. It is important for UAS operators in Texas to comply with both FAA regulations and state statutes to ensure the safe and legal operation of drones.

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