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Trump takes aim at Chinese drones ahead of departure

(ATF) President Trump on Monday January 18 signed an executive order directing US agencies to prioritize removing Chinese-made drones from American government fleets and to assess any security risks.

“I, Donald J Trump, President of the United States of America, find that additional actions are necessary to ensure the security of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) owned, operated, and controlled by the Federal Government; to secure the integrity of American infrastructure, including America’s National Airspace System (NAS); to protect our law enforcement and war fighters; and to maintain and expand our domestic industrial base capabilities,” Trump said in a statement.

“The nation’s capability to produce UAS and certain critical UAS components domestically is critical for national defense and the security and strength of our defense industrial base. It is the policy of the United States, therefore, to prevent the use of taxpayer dollars to procure UAS that present unacceptable risks and are manufactured by, or contain software or critical electronic components from, foreign adversaries, and to encourage the use of domestically produced UAS.” he continued.

“The term ‘adversary country’ means the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, or, as determined by the Secretary of Commerce, any other foreign nation, foreign area, or foreign non-government entity engaging in long-term patterns or serious instances of conduct significantly adverse to the national or economic security of the United States,” Trump said.

As with other executive orders and blacklist definitions made in the final chaotic days of the Trump administration, the drone order is designed to put in place anti-China policies that will be difficult or embarrassing for the incoming Biden team to reverse.

Last month, the Commerce Department added China’s SZ DJI Technology, the world’s largest drone maker, to the American government’s economic blacklist, along with dozens of other Chinese companies.

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