Military commanders get OK to shoot down drones over bases

Military commanders get OK to shoot down drones over bases

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon has sent new guidance to the armed services that lays out the military's authority to disable or shoot down any drone that violates airspace restrictions over a U.S. base and is deemed a security risk.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told Pentagon reporters Monday that a classified policy was approved in July. On Friday, additional public information was sent to military bases around the country so officials can alert their communities about the restrictions and the actions the military can take.

He said the new policy provides details about the actions the military can take to stop any threat, including destroying or seizing any unmanned aircraft — including the smaller ones that the general public can easily buy — that is flown over a base.

"The increase of commercial and private drones in the U.S. has raised our concerns with regards to safety and security of our installations," Davis said. "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 inter-agency partners, that details how DoD personnel may counter the unmanned aircraft threat."

He said that the actions taken by military officials at the bases to address a threat posed by a drone could include "incapacitating or destroying them. And they could also be seized as well for part of investigations."

Davis said the military has always had the authority to defend the bases and troops, "but this I think makes it a little more solidified with what we're able to do, and it's been completely coordinated with the FAA."

He said part of the effort to release the new guidance was to insure that commanders distribute information to the communities surrounding their bases so that the public knows what could happen if someone flies a drone over a military installation.

The FAA announced restrictions for drones flying over military bases in April.

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