Why the Pentagon Fears Chinese Drones
The Pentagon purchased Chinese drones for use as targets
Chinese equipment purchases have raised cybersecurity concerns, including from U.S. lawmakers
Chinese-made drones, purchased by the Pentagon a few months after their use was banned for cyber security reasons, are being used as targets. They were not handed over to elite American units performing combat missions, a Pentagon spokesman responsible for acquiring military equipment said..
An investigation by Voice of America in September revealed that the US Air Force and Navy spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) drones, which were also supposed to be used by some of the military’s most secretive units..
In each case, special exceptions were used for procurement, which the Pentagon Procurement and Logistics Office issues “on an individual basis to meet urgent needs,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews told Voice of America at the time..
Speaking to reporters on October 18, Undersecretary of Defense for Procurement and Logistics Ellen Lord said her office made these exceptions with the understanding that the drones would be used “under carefully controlled conditions” to test American anti-drone capabilities..
“We do not authorize the use of Chinese-made drones in the field. We use them as targets, ”said Lord.
Concerns have arisen in Congress that the Pentagon continues to use Chinese-made drones. In September, a group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced legislation to bar federal agencies from purchasing drones from countries deemed to pose a threat to national security..
Earlier this year, the Senate Armed Services Committee included a clause in the FY2020 National Defense Appropriations Act prohibiting the use of Chinese-made drones..
For its part, the Chinese company DJI announced that the buyers of its products have complete control over how their information is collected, stored and transmitted..
US spokesman Michael Oldenberg wrote to US clients in the US that reports of DJI cyber vulnerabilities and an agency memorandum within the US Department of Homeland Security that appeared in August 2017 were “completely false.”.
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