Focusing the Eyes Over America: Regulating and Training for the Ethical Domestic Use of Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA)
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE Maxwell AFB United States
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With the increasing usage of Remote Piloted Aircraft RPA domestically by a wide range of government agencies, there is an increased potential for violation of the civil liberties of U.S. persons. A review of the current regulations governing the employment of RPA domestically reveals shortfalls that need to be addressed to better provide an acceptable balance between mission accomplishment and protection of U.S. persons civil liberties. Three courses of action to address these shortfalls were evaluated prohibiting all RPA usage domestically, implementing additional regulations, and not taking any action to change current regulations. The implementation of additional regulations to govern the domestic RPA usage was determined to be the best course of action. Recommendations were made regarding the possible implementation of overarching guidance governing the ethical usage of RPA domestically. This guidance would address the permissible collection, retention and dissemination of information on U.S. persons, modeled after the existing Intelligence Oversight Program regulations. The need for judicial clarification regarding when warrants will be required by law enforcement, as well as what laws may need to be implement to govern private use of RPA, was also identified.