The military can now legally shoot down drones flying too close to basesBy William Gayde
A new Pentagon policy has been approved that allows military personnel to shoot down private or commercial drones if they are deemed a threat. Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis announced that the policy was transmitted to the various military branches back in July but still remains classified. The new policy does not actually change the laws for flying a drone, it just outlines the rules of engagement for drones that are approaching a no-fly zone.
Each situation will be different, but the military now has the authority to disable, destroy, or track drones. Military bases, national parks, airports, and sporting venues have all been no-fly zones for many years. The FAA also banned unauthorized consumer drone use over 133 military facilities. Before this new policy, penalties for flying in a no-fly zone included fines and possibly jail time. Enforcement of these rules was difficult though due to specific wording in the legislation and the difficulty in locating a drone's actual operator.
The Department of Defense said this policy will affect 133 military facilities, which likely refers to those previously classified by the FAA. Flying over the sites is still illegal, the military just has a way to defend itself now. The White House has also proposed letting police monitor drones and disable or destroy them if they are deemed a threat. Most consumer drones have some form of geofencing to automatically avoid these no-fly zones, but they can easily be fooled with software modifications.