Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano unveiled the agency’s plan to fly unmanned aerial vehicles within United States territory for rescue operations during a House committee hearing on Wednesday, NextGov reports.
DHS has been flying UAVs on surveillance missions against illegal activity along the outskirts of the country, including neighboring seas and the northern and southern borders of the U.S.
The Federal Aviation Administration currently regulates jurisdiction for drone flight in domestic airspace.
The Secretary said the DHS Science and Technology Directorate will begin conducting research regarding unmanned systems which can fly over U.S. territory during emergencies.
However she added she did not feel it necessary. “With respect to Science and Technology, that directorate, we do have a funded project, I think it’s in California, looking at drones that could be utilized to give us situational awareness in a large public safety [matter],” said Napolitano.
In conjunction, lawmakers have stated they will issue orders obligating the DHS to cooperate with the Department of Justice and FAA regarding drone supervision, according to NextGov.