Skip to content


Green, Rodgers Urge DHS, DOE to Declassify Information Relating to Potential National Security Risks Posed by Chinese-Manufactured Drones

June 20, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, House Committee on Homeland Security Chair Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) and House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) urged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to declassify certain information pertaining to the national security threats posed by unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, that have been produced, manufactured, or assembled in the People’s Republic of China.
In the letter addressed to DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly and DOE’s Principal Deputy Under Secretary Derek Passarelli, the members argue that public interest far outweighs any possible interest in keeping this information on these threats classified. This includes information on drones made by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) and Autel Robotics (Autel), both of which are headquartered in China and control nearly 90 percent of the global drone market. DJI drones are widely used by state and local law enforcement. Read the full letter here and highlights below.

Read more in Bloomberg Government via Lillianna Byington.

In the letter, the members state,“We write to request that you declassify certain information relating to potential national security risks posed by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”) that have been produced, manufactured, or assembled in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including those made by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) or Autel Robotics (Autel). It has come to our attention that there are findings from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) pertaining to national security risks associated with drones that have been produced, manufactured, or assembled in the PRC.”

“DJI and Autel’s commercial relationship with thousands of SLTT law enforcement agencies in the United States adds a layer of complexity to this issue. The widespread adoption of PRC drones by SLTT law enforcement agencies may inadvertently expose them to cybersecurity risks that are not well understood, while simultaneously undermining our national security. Multiple federal agencies have warned against or banned the procurement of certain UAS originating in the PRC, due to the risks they pose. However, the details of these UAS threats remain classified.”

The members conclude,“In light of these significant issues, there is a strong public interest in understanding the threats posed by PRC-manufactured drones. As several federal agencies and departments have taken considerable action based on classified information, it is well past time that Congress, SLTT law enforcement agencies, and the American public receive answers to questions relating to PRC drones that have remained outstanding for several years.”


Last week, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025, which included a provision that bans the sale of DJI drones in the United States.

House Homeland Security Republicans have been leading the charge on threats associated with these drones, including: 

  • The Committee introduced legislation this month to not only reauthorize and reform vital counter-UAS authorities for first time since 2018 but ban DHS from operating or financing drones in not just China but other certain foreign adversarial countries.
  • Vice Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS), introduced and helped pass through the House legislation to prohibit DHS from providing financial assistance for, entering into, or renewing a contract for any drones manufactured in Communist China or other adversarial nations.
  • Two House Homeland Security Subcommittees held a joint hearing last month on the impact of drones on law enforcement as well as national security concerns.

In August 2017, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) issued an alert warning that DJI drones are “[l]ikely providing U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to [the] Chinese government.” 

In May 2018, the Department of Defense halted all procurement of commercial-off-the-shelf DJI drones.

In December 2020, the Department of Commerce added DJI to its Entity List, which prohibits U.S.-based businesses from exporting technology to companies designated as a national security concern.

In December 2021, the Treasury Department added DJI to its Chinese-Military Industrial Complex list following reports its drones are used by Xinjiang Public Sector Bureau to surveil China’s Uyghur Muslim minority.

In January 2024, the CISA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a joint advisory, raising awareness of the significant risks posed by Chinese-manufactured drones to our nation’s critical infrastructure and U.S. national security.