WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and U.S. Appropriations Committee, on Thursday made the following statement after it was reported that the U.S. Department of Interior is halting the use of non-essential Chinese-made drones following pressure from members of Congress:
“Our taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to support Chinese-developed technologies that undercut American companies and put our national security at risk. I’m glad to see the Interior Department follow the Pentagon’s lead. Congress will continue pressing ahead to prohibit our government from purchasing drones manufactured in China,” said Murphy.
Last year, after hearing concerns from a Connecticut-based drone manufacturer, Murphy called on then U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to ban Chinese-made commercial drones at the DoD and instead support U.S. drone manufacturers. DoD followed Murphy’s call and halted the purchase of all small commercial drones, including those made by Da Jiang Innovations. Additionally, Murphy secured more transparency and critical protections for American companies against foreign-made drones in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2019, which partially funds the Department of Interior. This was critical for national security and a “Buy American” victory for Connecticut-based companies that have to compete with artificially priced Chinese-made drones. Murphy’s provision banning the use of Chinese-made drones was included in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Murphy and U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) also introduced the American Security Drone Act of 2019 prohibiting the U.S. government from purchasing drones manufactured in countries identified as national security threats like Iran and China.