The TSA wants to give air marshals the power to use Defense Department equipment to shoot down drones near airports, two congressmen said, seeking to tackle drones that can disrupt airport operations.
According to a news report, in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security that summarizes the plan, Reps. Sam Graves (Mo.) and Mike Rogers (Ala.) on the House Transportation and Homeland Security committees "said the idea goes far beyond what they envisioned when they gave the federal government new powers to counter drones last year."
The report notes that Graves and Rogers said only the Federal Aviation Administration has the expertise to manage the nation’s skies: “Nobody wants drones to cause disruptions at our airports, but to hastily hand over authority to shoot down drones to an agency that doesn’t have the critical knowledge or experience of how our airspace system functions is irresponsible and dangerous.”
In December 2018, London’s Gatwick Airport was closed Thursday during one of the busiest times of year after drones were spotted over the runway. According to The Associated Press, the prospect of a collision between an “industrial”-grade drone and an airliner led authorities to stop all flights in and out of the airport. Police said that the intrusion was a deliberate attempt to disrupt operations at the airport during a peak period, but that the disruption was not terror-related.