Sen. Rick Scott
March 8, 2023
The United States may have shot down one of Communist China’s spy balloons, but America’s problem of surveillance from foreign powers is far from destroyed.
Many Americans were alarmed as we watched the Biden administration take a dangerously lazy approach to taking down the Chinese spy balloon. We are right to be upset about this, and demand action in response, but that balloon is just a small piece of Communist China’s massive surveillance effort targeting you, our military and American businesses.
The harsh reality is that the Chinese Communist Party has been surveilling the United States for years using drones purchased with your taxpayer dollars and operated by your federal government.
As if the army of Chinese drones being operated by the feds isn’t bad enough, the U.S. government continues to stand idly by while Chinese-made drones from companies like Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) and Autel Robotics completely dominate the civilian drone market, with DJI producing over 50% of the drones on the marketplace alone. And they’ve hired some high-powered lobbyists to convince Washington politicians and bureaucrats to keep it that way.
For years, I’ve been sounding the alarm on the risks that Chinese-made drones pose to U.S. national security. Xi Jinping and his communist regime are on a quest for global domination and will use any means to accomplish that – stealing, cheating, spying, and funding technology like drones made by DJI, to spy on Americans and infiltrate our government.
We’ve made progress, but I won’t stop until every single Chinese-made drone is ripped from the inner workings within our government and replaced with drones made in the United States of America.
I’ve introduced the American Security Drone Act to prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing drones manufactured in countries identified as national security threats, like Iran and Communist China.
Then my Countering CCP Drones Act is the next step to ensure that federal funds from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cannot be used to obtain communications equipment and services produced or provided by DJI.
These bills build on my previous efforts to prohibit the military from purchasing Chinese-made drones. In 2021, I worked with my colleagues in Congress to include in the National Defense Authorization Act a requirement that the Pentagon update regulations on drone technology that make it easier for American drone makers to compete against Chinese drone manufacturers, like DJI.
The federal government has also made some critical moves, including the Treasury Department ban of U.S. investment in DJI and the Department of Defense putting DJI on its "Chinese military companies list" in October, which monitors companies working with China’s military. But it doesn’t go far enough.
The U.S. Secret Service continues to purchase Chinese-made drones, and federal funds are being used at an alarming rate for the purchase of these risky drones in state and local agencies across the country.
DJI drones still also comprise most of the Agricultural Research Service and Department of Interior’s drone fleet. We’re quickly approaching a too little, too late posture. The time for action is now.
America is faced with a choice. We can allow Communist China to surveil our nation, spy on our citizens and dominate the global economy. Or we can take decisive steps to strategically remove Communist China from our supply chain while supporting the return of critical industries, like drones and technology, to American shores and promoting buy-American policies.
We can sell out to Communist China, choosing the cheaper, easier, convenience of Chinese-made drones while ignoring the long-term consequences and risks. Or we can choose to put America first. The choice is ours.