New guidelines allow US military to destroy and track drones

PHOTO: An aerial view of the Pentagon, outside Washington, DC, March 2008. PlayCharles Dharapak/AP Photo
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The Department of Defense has issued new guidance to military installations about how to respond to drones and other unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that are deemed a threat to U.S. bases.

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The guidance, issued Friday, comes as private citizens and companies increasingly use drones. It is meant to help installations keep their personnel and equipment safe in the face of a new reality.

Classified policy documents were issued in early July for how the military can counter drone threats.

Friday's guidance was more related to how installations can work with local communities to make sure people are safely flying drones in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

"Protecting our force remains a top priority, and that's why DOD issued this very specific — but classified — policy, developed with the FAA and our interagency partners, that details how DOD personnel may counter the unmanned aircraft threat," Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters on Monday during a briefing.

According to Davis, the new guidance allows the military to take action against unmanned aerial threats, including "disabling, destroying [and] tracking" drones.

The military's response will depend "upon the specific circumstance and the specific type of installation," he added.

Davis said that while the U.S. military always has the right of self-defense, the new guidance "will further allow us to ensure we have the ability to take action to protect our installations and our people from the threat" drones pose.

Another Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, said the DOD will "support civilian law enforcement investigations and the prosecution of unauthorized UAS operations over military installations."