On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., praised a federal department for deciding to no longer uses drones made in China.
Scott weighed in after the U.S. Interior Department made its decision in regard to Chinese drones.
“Following many conversations between my office and the Interior Department, I’m glad to see the department has seen the light and reversed course. We should not, under any circumstances, put American national security at risk by using taxpayer dollars to purchase Chinese tech,” Scott said.
Last month, Scott brought out a bill to ensure the federal government doesn’t buy drones from countries considered national security threats–including China and Iran. He introduced the “American Security Drone Act” and reeled in the support of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is cosponsoring the measure.
When he brought out the bill, Scott weighed in on why he had introduced the bill and he came out swinging at China.
“There are nations around the world, like China, that are actively building up their militaries to compete with America,” Scott said. “China is stealing our technology and intellectual property, yet the U.S. government continues to buy critical technology, like drones, with American tax dollars from Chinese companies backed by their government.
“For far too long, we have turned a blind eye to China and allowed their technology into some of the most critical operations of the U.S. government,” Scott added. “This has to stop. The American Security Drone Act protects our information and national security by prohibiting the federal government and our military from buying drones manufactured in countries that are our adversaries.”
Rubio, who sits on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, threw his support behind Scott’s proposal.
“American taxpayer dollars should not go to state-directed or state-owned companies used by China to undermine U.S. and foreign competition, especially in critical industries that are vital to U.S. national security,” said Rubio. “Chinese companies routinely steal and provide information to Beijing’s military and intelligence apparatus, and DHS recently warned of the threat posed by Chinese-manufactured unmanned aerial systems and components. The American Security Drone Act seeks to protect U.S. national security and ensure taxpayer funds are not being used to buy drones from companies backed by the Chinese Communist Party and other foreign adversaries.”
The bill prohibits all federal departments and agencies to buy drones from countries considered national security threats. Scott’s proposal also ensures federal funds are not sent to local and state governments who buy drones from those countries. The bill would also have the Comptroller General of the United States “submit a report to Congress detailing the amount of foreign commercial off-the-shelf drones and covered unmanned aircraft systems procured by federal departments and agencies from countries identified as national security threats.”
Scott urged Congress to pass his bill on Thursday.
“We must pass my bill to codify this policy and extend it to all federal agencies, as well as local law enforcement agencies that use federal grants. We need to completely reassess our posture towards Communist China, and passing my bill is a good start,” Scott said.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.