Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik today introduced the Countering CCP Drones Act, legislation that would add Chinese drone company Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI) to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Covered List. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the Senate companion of this bill.
DJI poses an unacceptable national security risk, as Chinese law provides the Chinese government with power to compel DJI to participate in and assist in its espionage activities. The FCC is currently implementing changes that would ban equipment authorizations for companies on the Covered List, meaning that DJI technologies would not be able to legally operate on U.S. communications infrastructure.
Over 50% of drones sold in the U.S. are made by Chinese-based company DJI, and they are the most popular drone in use by public safety agencies. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the Chinese government is an investor in DJI, directly contradicting DJI’s public statements regarding their relationship with the Chinese government.
“DJI drones pose the national security threat of Huawei, but with wings. The possibility that DJI drones could be equipped to send live imagery of military installations, critical infrastructure, and the personal lives of American citizens to China poses too great a threat. Allowing this practice to continue in the U.S. is playing with fire. This Chinese-controlled company cannot be allowed to continue to operate in the U.S.” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik.
“Communist China funds technology, like drones made by DJI, to spy on Americans and steal their data. The United States Government should under no circumstance purchase drones made in Communist China and put our national security at risk and that’s why my colleagues and I introduced the American Security Drone Act. The 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. I’m proud to introduce this important bill in the Senate and urge my colleagues to join me in support," said Senator Rick Scott.
“DJI drones and the surveillance technology on board these systems are collecting vast amounts of sensitive data—everything from high-resolution images of critical U.S. infrastructure to facial recognition technology and remote sensors that can measure an individual’s body temperature and heart rate. Indeed, U.S. intelligence services have warned that DJI poses a serious national security threat due to the level of sensitive information it collects and the potential for Beijing to access that data. Despite mounting evidence, the U.S. has lacked a consistent and comprehensive approach to addressing the potential threats posed by a company that might be operating as a Huawei on wings. That would end by passing the Countering CCP Drones Act. So I applaud Senator Scott and Congresswoman Stefanik for their strong leadership and their work to advance America’s national security in light of the threats posed by Communist China. Their legislation is a vital step towards ensuring that Americans’ sensitive data do not fall into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party," said Commissioner Brendan Carr, Federal Communications Commission.
Currently, Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hangzhou, and Dahua are entities included on the FCC’s Covered list. Adding DJI to the Covered List would be consistent with actions taken throughout the U.S. Government, including:
- In August 2017, an Intelligence Bulletin from a Department of Homeland Security Field Office stated DJI is likely providing sensitive U.S. data to the Chinese Government.
- In the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, Congress banned the Department of Defense from purchasing and using drones and components manufactured in China.
- In December 2020, the Department of Commerce added DJI to its “Entity List” for its role in supporting China’s human rights abuses.
- In July 2021, the Department of Defense stated mitigating the threats posed by DJI is a priority for the Department.
- In December 2021, the Department of the Treasury identified DJI as part of the Chinese Military-Industrial Complex, specifically due to their support of biometric surveillance and tracking of ethnic and religious minorities in China.
Representatives Mike Gallagher (WI-08) and Claudia Tenney (NY-22) joined as original cosponsors of the bill. U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined in cosponsoring the Senate companion bill.
Congresswoman Stefanik is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Read full text of the bill here.