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Posted by on Aug 24, 2015

Policymaking in the Age of Drones Fever

Hello!  I am so excited to join the Drone Coalition and to share thoughts with this amazing group of industry colleagues. 

I look forward to exploring with you the opportunities and challenges of the future of unmanned aircraft systems.

As is so often the case in our country, technology moves quicker than policymaking. This is certainly true for drones. Hobbyists have flown drones for decades, but now that the technology has made vehicles cheaper, efficient and more mobile than ever, demand for drone use is growing rapidly. Drones make farming more efficient, and disaster response more effective. They enhance the safety and efficiency of everything from industrial inspections to precision agriculture, filmmaking to real estate, aerial surveying to newsgathering — and everything in between. 

It is in our country’s best interest to have rules in place that foster and promote innovation while protecting the public and winning its trust. But, the policymaking has lagged behind, and the commercial use of drones in our country is still unauthorized without special permission from the FAA.  

I look forward to sharing thoughts with our community on policymaking developments in real time as they happen, and to consider thoughtfully the various safety, security and privacy issues along the way.   

My background is as a lawyer and a policymaker. In my current role as Global UAS Practice Group Co-Chair at the law firm Hogan Lovells, I counsel companies and higher education institutions with an interest in drones. Previously, I served in the Obama Administration in policymaking roles at the White House and the Department of Justice – most recently, working to help craft policies surrounding the safe integration of drones into our national airspace. 

I believe that policymakers must promote innovation, but I also believe that it’s a two way street: Innovators need to work hand in hand with policymakers.  Only innovators have the deep understanding of the technology and its capabilities necessary to craft wise rules that will allow innovation to thrive, in a way that builds the public trust.  

That’s where this community comes in.  What does a safely integrated national airspace look like?  What should the rules provide?  Let’s discuss.  I look forward to an insightful (and fun) conversation.  

I’ll be back on here again shortly.  In the meantime, happy flying!