Update: Senate Committee Omits DJI Drone Ban from NDAA

June 25, 2024

Legislative Update

On June 18, 2024, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes the “Countering CCP Drones Act.” This bill aims to ban DJI drones by prohibiting their use of FCC communication infrastructure. However, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has recently released its marked-up version of the 2025 NDAA, and it does not include the provisions to curb DJI activities that were present in the House version.

What This Means for DJI Users

The House version of the NDAA, which caused significant concern among DJI users by including amendments from the Countering CCP Drones Act, would add DJI equipment and services to the “covered list.” This could block DJI from receiving FCC licenses for future drone models and potentially revoke existing authorizations. However, the SASC version, passed in a 22-3 vote, does not contain these provisions.

Next Steps in the Legislative Process

The SASC version now heads to the Senate floor for consideration. If it passes the full Senate, it must then be reconciled with the House version. This reconciliation process involves appointed conferees from both the House and Senate who will negotiate to resolve differences between the two versions. This process can take several weeks to months, and the final bill may differ significantly from the initial drafts.

Implications for DJI Users

The omission of the DJI ban in the Senate version offers a reprieve for now, but there remains a long journey ahead before any definitive actions are taken. Both versions of the NDAA must be reconciled, and the final bill must pass both chambers before being signed into law by the President. The August recess, during which lawmakers return to their districts, provides a window for constituents to engage with their representatives and express their concerns.

Why Drone Harmony is Essential Now

In light of these legislative developments, the importance of geopolitically neutral and secure data handling platforms like Drone Harmony cannot be overstated. Here’s why:

  • Geopolitical Neutrality: Drone Harmony operates independently of drone hardware manufacturers, ensuring that your operations are not affected by geopolitical tensions or legislative changes targeting specific companies.
  • Secure Data Handling: Our platform offers robust data security with private or local server options, giving you control over your data and ensuring compliance with various regulatory requirements.
  • Uninterrupted Operations: By using a third-party software hosting platform like Drone Harmony, you can maintain seamless operations regardless of hardware bans or restrictions, allowing you to focus on your core business activities.

Timeline Recap So Far

  1. House NDAA Passage: On June 18, 2024, the House of Representatives passed the NDAA, including the “Countering CCP Drones Act,” which would ban DJI drones from using FCC communication infrastructure.
  2. Senate Committee Action: The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) released its version of the NDAA, which notably excluded the provisions targeting DJI.
  3. Next Steps: The Senate version now heads to the Senate floor for a vote. If passed, it will be reconciled with the House version in conference committees.
  4. Potential Outcomes: The final bill, once reconciled, must pass both chambers again before being sent to the President for approval or veto.

Next Steps

As the Senate prepares to review the bill, staying informed and proactive is crucial. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide reliable and accurate updates as they become available. Please follow our Linkedin page to receive these updates when they are ready.