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June 11 , 2015

Thomson Reuters Washington Office

1333 H Street NW
Washington DC 20005

The Future of Drones

Moderator: Ryan Hagemann: Civil Liberties Policy Analyst at the Niskanen Center and adjunct fellow at
TechFreedom specializing in robotics and automation
Erik Lin-Greenberg: Former US Air Force Officer, PhD candidate Columbia University
Lisa Ellman: Counsel for McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP. Member of the firms Unmanned Aircraft
Systems (UAS) Practice Group and Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs practice. Former senior roles at
White House and Department of Justice.

Ryan Hagemann: My name is Ryan Hagemann and I will be the moderator for this evening. A little bit of
background on me. I am the Civil Liberties Policy Analyst at the Niskanen Center and adjunct fellow
specializing in robotics and automation for TechFreedom, which is a libertarian non-profit that is focused
on trying to promote technology freedom. My objective for this evening is to introduce our two fine
panelists for this evening and start us off with some questions. I hope that we can trim this into less of a
lecture-style symposium and actually have it be a little conversationalist style.
To begin, we have Erik Lin-Greenberg. He is a PhD student in political science at Columbia University
where he studies international relations. His research interests include military escalation, non-traditional
security operations, and the use of airpower. Prior to attending Columbia, he served as an intelligence
officer in the U.S. Air Force and has deployed to Afghanistan and Southwest Asia. He continues to serve
as an officer in the Air Force Reserves and his writings have appeared in International Peacekeeping,
Defense and Security Analysis, Air and Space Power Journal, The National Interest, and the South China
Morning Post. Erik holds Masters degrees from Columbia University and M.I.T and a Bachelors degree
from M.I.T. He will be primarily focusing on the military aspects of drones for this conversation.
To my right is Lisa Ellman. She is a partner and the co-chair of the UAS, which stands for Unmanned
Aircraft Systems, Practice Group at Hogan Lovells. Previously, she held senior at the Office of Science &
Technology Policy, the Office of Management & Budget, the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs,
and the Office of Presidential Personnel. Additionally, she has served as the Chief Counselor for the
Open Government Partnership with the Executive Office of the President representing U.S. and
international efforts to make government more efficient, effective, transparent, and collaborative. She has
advised more that forty countries on open government strategy and has worked in close partnership with
civil society organization and private industry to further these commitments. She earned her B.A. in
History from the University of Michigan and her J.D. and M.P.P from the University of Chicago Law
School and Harris School of Public Policy. Please join me in welcoming our fine analysts today.

I would like to start off by lobbing a question over to Erik because, traditionally, especially in this day and
age, when we think of drones I think most of us immediately go to the image of flying death robots all over
the sky releasing hellfire on innocent victims below on the terrestrial ground. I would to begin by having
Erik describe what drones from a military perspective are, how theyre used, and what the processing of
actually engaging in airpower strikes looks like.

Erik Lin-Greenberg: Thanks again for the intro and also to everyone for making it out tonight. Im going
to start with a few things. First is a caveat. As Ryan mentioned, Im an officer in the Air Force. Anything I
say is not necessarily representative of government or Air Force positions. The second thing is, I know
the term drones get thrown around a lot. You heard the UAS line as well. Unmanned Ariel System.
The military likes to call them Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or RPAs. We might use those terms a little bit
interchangeably. The idea behind remotely piloted aircraft is that these are not drones that just fly around
in the sky. There is actually a pilot. In the case of the Air Force, it is a commissioned officer who goes
through, in many cases, normal flight school. The same flight training that a pilot whos flying an F-22
would go through. They are flying these drones albeit remotely and separated from the aircraft. That
being said, how do these drones or RPAs actually work in the military today?
The first is, drones are really not a new phenomenon. Theyve been around for decades. At the end of
WWII, the U.S. actually tried to use an unmanned weapons system to target Nazi and Japanese military
installations. It didnt work out too well, but the initial concept, in terms of militarized drones, really began
at that point. They were used again during the Vietnam War for reconnaissance. What happened
between the Vietnam War and today was that you had a large advance in technology. More advanced
sensors allow us to see things and hear things and much better satellite communications so we dont
need to have a pilot sitting in a plane thats only a few miles away from the drone flying. The ability to
actually use these things again rather than launch and have them crash into a target or crash into the
water when theyre done. Drones, today, represent a grouping of new technologies, but its not
necessarily something that didnt exist in the past. I think thats one of the big myths about drones and
the military use of drones that needs to be demystified a little bit.
The second element is this notion of how drones are operated. We hear this term drones and we often
think that there is this 18 year old video gamer sitting in a desert in Nevada who is flying these things
around. As I alluded to earlier, that is really not the case in terms of the larger military RPAs like the
Predator and the Reaper that we often here about in the news. Theyre often flown by military aircrews
and I spent the first three years of my military career working at whats called the Distributed Ground
Station. Its a ground site where literally hundreds of analysts are looking at the data that comes from
these aircraft. These folks have gone through more than a year of training before theyre allowed to sit
and look at videos or still imagery thats being collected by aircraft. Our job is, essentially, to talk to the
guys on the ground, be it soldiers, Marines, special operations forces, talk to tactical operations centers,
and try to figure out what they need then we try to get an RPA to the location to provide an additional set
of eyes and, in some cases, some firepower onto a target. Thats the general idea of how these RPAs
operate. They have a very large, robust network of individuals behind them that have a significant
amount of training and its not just one pilot sitting there, flying these things around. There are certain
smaller UASs that you can launch out of a backpack and there it might be a soldier who is sitting there
with a laptop-sized computer looking at the imagery, but the RPAs that we hear a lot about in the media
are typically manned by large crews.
One more thing is that we often think of the drone program as these targeted strikes that are carried out
in Pakistan, but theres the distinction, which we can talk about later, between Title 10 missions, the
military missions, and Title 50 missions, which are the covert action-type missions. Theres a distinction
between those two categories that we can talk about.

Ryan Hagemann: We have a review about military drones from Erik. Now Id like to turn it over to Lisa
and discuss something of a newer phenomenon. Weve all been used to hearing about military drone
operations, especially since the U.S. got itself involved over in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq almost
fifteen years ago. A more recent development have actually made commercial drone operations much
more viable and much more appealing to a lot of companies, especially companies like Amazon who are
looking at utilizing these systems and platforms for making deliveries amongst a myriad of other potential
uses. Id like to take it over to Lisa who has had some practical first-hand experience dealing with the
public policy implications and privacy components of being integrated into the national airspace and
things like that. Lisa, if you like to give us a little bit of background on what your experience has been in
the public policy realm as it relates to commercial aviation, drones, and anything you think relates to the
commercial perspective.

Lisa Ellman: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Its great to be here. Id like to provide a little
more context about how I ended up running a drones practice in the private sector. Everyone keeps
asking me if there is such a thing as a drones practice now in the private sector and law firm that never
would have existed a year ago. It is a new phenomenon, but at the same time, in the military context,
drones have been around for a long time. First, about me. I come from the Obama Administration. I
worked in the federal government for many years. President Obama was actually my law professor at
University of Chicago and my mentor in law school. He asked me to work on his first presidential
campaign as a policy maker and I did, including policy issues involving technology and innovation in
moving out government forward. That continued over the next couple of years. Once we came
Washington, I worked both in the Department of Justice and the White House in various roles and, for the
most part, promoting innovation in policy making. So, working to make our government more open by
bringing technology and emerging technologies to the government and making our government more 21
Century. Also promoting the use of new technologies. Drones can represent anything from a toy, a
model aircraft that you fly at the park, to a tool of industry now, as were seeing, to even a tool of war.
Over the last several years, these consumer toys have gotten a lot more sophisticated, a lot smaller, more
mobile, and able to do sophisticated things such that industry became excited to use them. Theyre also
cheaper. The technology has moved forward at a very rapid pace. The FAA, which regulates the safety
and security of the national airspace, had been paying attention and knew that drones were coming, but
the federal government, as a whole, really started to pay attention in 2012 when Congress mandated that
the federal government integrate drones into our national airspace. At that time I was at the White
House. Soon after that, I was asked to run drone policy at the Department of Justice and represent the
Department of Justice on the White Houses Interagency Working Group that was considering all the
issues involved in integrating drones into our national airspace, here in the country. You can imagine all
the different safety and security and privacy questions that would come up in the scope of those
questions. I worked there for year. I saw huge potential for the industry and had wanted to move into
private practice anyways at some point.
I came into the private sector and am now running a drones practice and I can explain a little more about
what that entails, but the gist is that companies here and all around the world now are realizing the
benefits of drones for their own industry. Real estate agents want to be able to take pictures of the
homes that theyre selling. Oil and gas companies want to be able to use drones to inspect infrastructure,
to inspect their power plants, power line inspections. Tasks that are dirty or dangerous or dreary.
Agriculture. Farmers want to use drones to inspect their crops and crop dust, spray pesticides and water
on their crops. Facebook and Google want to be able to provide wireless internet all around the world
with drones. Of course, Amazon wants to use drones to deliver packages. Weve heard about that on
Sixty Minutes. This is a typical Washington D.C. area where the technology has moved way more quickly
than the policy making. You have this very strong demand to be able to use drones commercially, but its

actually illegal right now in our country to use drones commercially, unless you have special permission
from the FAA.
Over the past couple of years, the federal government has been working on this. The FAA recently
issued a notice that proposed a rule that will authorize the use of drones commercially in our country. Its
going through a review process right now. There are about 4,500 comments that were submitted as part
of that process by the public. The FAA is reviewing that now. In the meantime, you need to have whats
known as a 333 exemption to be able to fly a drone. In the news clips, youll see filmmakers get
permission to fly drones. Its because they filed for a 333 exemption and were granted this license from
the FAA to be able to fly drones. Right now the law is structured so that hobbyists can, for the most part,
do whatever they want. I can go to the park, not here is Washington D.C., because this is restricted
airspace, but if I go 12 miles out, I can fly my drones and take photos of myself and put those photos on
Facebook. That is a totally legal flight. If I, going to that park, know that these are going to be amazing
photos, Im going to sell these photos for $10 apiece. That is an illegal flight and not allowed by the FAA.
Its not a safety or risk-based question. Its the same exact flight. Its the intent-based question. The law
is structured so that on whether your intent is commercial or recreational. That comes from the aviation
world which has been structured like that for a while. There are a lot of questions in the public policy
community about whether that makes sense in this area. There have been lots of safety concerns, lots of
privacy concerns, but also lots of excitement about incorporating drones into our national airspace and I
look forward to what you all think about commercial drones and whether youre excited or nervous about
the privacy concerns. All of this work is right now in process and I really do believe this is where the
future is going. NASA, right now, is deigning highways in the sky. Were going to have highways of
drones that fly under aircraft, but over structures. Were just beginning to see what its going to look like,
but its all very exciting.

Ryan Hagemann: Were off to a good start here. Following up with you Erik, you were discussing the
Title 10 and the Title 50 missions and the differences between those. I was wondering if you could go a
little bit more in depth as to the differences between those and what it means for drone operations. And
then, if you wouldnt mind, we discussed that you had some very nascent research that you are doing in
pursuing youre PhD at Columbia regarding the impact that drones could potentially have on military
escalation overseas. I was wondering if you could take us through all three questions.

Erik Lin-Greenberg: Sure. Ill answer the first question. I dont claim be an expert in public or
international law or the U.S. Code, but Title 10 missions are typically those associated with military
operations. Your military RPA operations that are being flown over in Afghanistan currently, in support of
U.S. operations against ISIS in Iraq, those are your Title 10 missions. Theyre flown by military crews.
They take their chain of command from the president through the combatant commands and these are
considered official military operations. Your Title 50 missions are typically what we see happening
outside of war zones. Counterterrorism missions that are often viewed as these targeted killing
operations. The approval process for covert actions is very different. It goes from the executive office
through a series of memorandums to different individuals within the government and thats the
authorization process for Title 50 missions. Those missions are not necessarily flown by military crews
and thats one of the big distinctions thats often blurred in the media. They say drones and we think
theyre all the same, but there is a distinction about how those missions are carried out even though, in
many cases, they use the same type of aircraft.
The second question dealt with drones and military escalation, and that is what my incredibly nascent
dissertation looks at. A lot of the research on drones today is very much anecdotally based. Its based
on what is written in the New York Times and figuring out what some politician or policymaker actually
said. No one has actually tried to test the casual effect of drones and the initiation or escalation of

conflict. I am using a series of experimental tests. I just wrapped up a very basic pilot experiment last
week that surveyed about 1,200 respondents. I asked them about a hypothetical attack on a U.S. military
reconnaissance aircraft and what they thought the best policy response is. Those 1,200 respondents are
broken into different treatment groups and those treatment groups include an attack on a drone, an attack
on a manned aircraft, so a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft where the pilot is killed, and an attack on a U-2
where the pilot isnt killed. The question to the respondents was what we as the U.S. should do. Options
ranged from basically doing nothing to do lots, so we have a very low-hawkishness to a very-high
hawkishness. You have this ordinal scale. You expect folks that are exposed to an attack on a manned
aircraft are much more likely to call for much more hawkish actions than those that see an attack on a
drone. Whats interesting is that people dont seem to care whether a pilot lives or dies in the attack. The
statistical significance is just not there between the attack on a manned aircraft with loss of life and an
attack on a manned aircraft without the loss of life, which suggests to me that intent matters. If the intent
of the adversary was to take down an aircraft if there was a man inside, thats what mattered, it seems, to
the American public. Thats a little bit of an overview.

Ryan Hagemann: Just to follow-up on this discussion from a military perspective. I saw recently that
approximately, and correct me if Im wrong on this, on the order of 25% of the total aircraft fleet wielded
by the U.S. Air Force is now drones as of 2012 as opposed to 2001 where it was something like, I think,
2-3%. Do you see drones ultimately taking over entirely our Air Force? Is there a reason for us to
continue having manned aircraft? Do we really gain much by designing aircraft to allow pilots inside of
them or are we ultimately better off not putting people up in planes anymore? What do you see the future
of the U.S. Air Forces breakdown between piloted versus unmanned aircraft being?

Erik Lin-Greenberg: Any weapon of war is designed as a tool that is designed to meet some type of
political interest. Policy makers need to pick the right tool for that particular policy objective. Right now,
drones are great for certain things, but they really dont have the payload of a manned bomber. You can
send a Predator up with a few Hellfires strapped to it, but thats not going to bring the same kind of
damage on a set of targets as a fully loaded B-1 bomber. Drones are great for certain types of strikes.
Heavier bomber are great for other types of strikes. As we wait for the technological development, I think
youll see, perhaps, a slowly growing number of drones. The other thing is that there is a cultural in the
U.S. military. Right now, its not cool to be a drone pilot. Every pilot wants to be a fighter pilot, wants to
fly something fast. Fast and sexy. Sitting in a box in Nevada or somewhere else flying a drone isnt fat
and sexy. The military is trying to get around that by creating new career fields. We just recently created
a program where you can become a career drone pilot. You go through some type of flight training, then
you go through specialized RPA pilot track. There are these attempts to make slight changes in the
cultural perception in the military about RPAs versus manned aircraft, but if you look at our historical Air
Force leaders, they typically have been guys that fly manned aircraft. There is a political resistance to
having a majority unmanned fleet.

Ryan Hagemann: Lisa, I wanted to go back and discuss the recent FAA rules that have promulgated
around commercial drones. Among them, if I recall correctly, we have visual line of sight restrictions, we
have daylight only operations, we have drones cannot be flown over groups in individuals not directly
involved in the operation of the drone. There are a few others that the FAA promulgated. I was looking
on the Open Technology Institute, which is an initiative funded by the New America Foundation. They
have this great map online where you can click on various countries and it gives you a breakdown of the
regulations in different countries surrounding commercial drones. It seems like a lot of the other countries
kind of have these same daylight only and line of sight restrictions. However, a lot of other countries are
accumulating a lot more foreign direct investment in drones and theyre seeing a lot more innovation

occur in the area of drones. Is this because they got the rules right early on or is there something more
amicable about these other countries because, based on what I see in terms of the market breakdown, it
seems like the U.S. is falling very far behind in commercial drone technology. I was wondering if you
might comment.

Lisa Ellman: Absolutely. This is one of the areas where the U.S. is behind. Were slowly catching up or,
hopefully, quickly catching up, but other countries have definitely been ahead of us here in terms of
commercial drones. That website with the map is actually a great resource. There is often a lot of
confusion about what the rules are for commercial drones in every country. They are hard to find in many
countries, so it is a very good resource. Other countries that have been much farther ahead of us include
Canada. They have a tiered approach where any drones 4.4 lbs. or less is broadly permitted, even for
commercial operations, whereas 4.4-55 lbs. are regulated, but you can still get permission from the
government to fly. Australia. New Zealand. In Japan, crop-dusting is already done with drones. In
England, Dominoes has delivered a pizza using a drone. There are a few different reasons for that and I
do the overall message here is that were catching up and thats good.
But, one is just that we dont have the data. You were mentioning that a lot of the data you have on drone
use is anecdotal. In the commercial drones industry, its very rare that you regulate a space where you
have no data to go on. For example, if youre a policy maker and youre asked to put together some rules
allowing drones into the national airspace, there are a lot of different layers there and things that you
need to ask. Weve had hobbyists fly drones for many years, but that hasnt been studied. Its much
more spontaneous going and flying in a park with my family with a small remote controlled model
airplane. Its very different from sustained continuous use by an Amazon package delivery drone, for
example. Its very different in terms of the data policy makers need. The military is very different as well.
We dont have any data. Usually if youre regulating in healthcare, youre regulating in energy or
environment or food and drugs, you have studies. You have data. You have numbers. Youre able to
analyze those number and come to a public policy solution.
One thing thats been very different here is that we dont have the data and some other countries have
been ahead of us in terms of collecting data and doing studies. Just an example of this, theres been lot
of talk about the micro-drone proposal. Part of the rule that was released on February 15 , the FAA
asked for comment from the public on whether they believed that micro-drones, meaning 4.4 lbs. or less,
the tier approach that Canada has opted to take, makes sense for us in the U.S. It seems pretty obvious
that drone that is 4 lbs. or less versus a drone that is 55 lbs. would present very different risks to the
public if it falls out of the sky. That seems like a very obvious solution, but then the question becomes,
what about frangibility? Frangibility of materials. If a 4 lbs. drone gets caught in a jet aircrafts engine,
what does it do to that engine? For years, in terms of regulating aircraft safety, the FAA did lots of
studies, basically throwing pigeons into a jet engine and seeing what happened. Not real pigeons, but
you know what I mean. Studying birds in jet engines. Does a 4 lbs. drone have the same impact on a jet
engine as a bird? Because it could have a lithium-ion battery in it, could it make a jet engine explode like
a big 55 lbs. drone? Those are the questions that are being asked and thats just data we dont have.
That explains our lack of progress.
The other thing is that we have the most complex airspace in the world. Canada, Australia, New Zealand
have a lot more open space. Right now, the FAA is regulating the safety and security of the national
airspace. Their job is to prevent accidents. The incentive is not high for them to just open the airspace to
anybody who wants to be able to fly drones. Compared to wide open spaces, theyre regulating as if
drones will fall out of the sky at any time. Does anyone here have a drone, by the way? Own a hobbyist
drone or flown one or seen one flown? You guys have got to get a drone. Theyre so much fun. Theyre
great. But, I have a drone and it falls. I consider myself a great pilot, but no matter how good I am, its
going to fall out of the sky and thats how the FAA regulates. It makes sense. They dont care if it falls
out of the sky as long as there is not someone there to be hit on the head, which explains a lot of the

caveats in the proposed rulemaking. Flying within your line of sight so Im able to see it without other
people around. Not in congested areas so not in urban locations, for example. In daytime, so I can see
what Im doing. In rural areas, you could fly pretty much anywhere you want. If youre in New York City,
you have to be very careful and you cant fly in congested areas like that. We have a very complex
airspace. That also partly explains why the U.S. has been behind. The FAA was given very limited
resources to implement what it was asked to do and that is now improving. Theyve made great progress
on the 333 exemption process. Weve had over 2,000 companies apply for permission to fly drones and
more than 500 have been approved. That process has been very expedited now so its not as
complicated if youre a company looking to fly drones. There have been many tangible steps in the last
few months that have been taken that will lead to a more open airspace for people who are interested in
flying drones. But, because of the lack of data and complex airspace and different issues, it has been a
slower process in the U.S.

Ryan Hagemann: At this time, I am going to open it up to questions from the audience. If anyone has
any thoughts on their minds, I am more than happy to let our panel engage with you.

Audience Question: I have a question about what the difference between other types of flying, for
example a model airplane, and flying drones? It is the height, the altitude? Why are drones subject to
these new types of unique FAA regulations, whereas model planes can get to a relatively high altitude
and can go long distances?

Lisa Ellman: That is exactly right. There is where a lot of the confusion has come in in the drones
industry. If youre a hobbyist, meaning youre flying recreationally for fun, and lets say I have a parrot
drone that I want to be able to fly just for fun, I can do whatever I want with that drone. I can go to the
park. I can fly up to 400 ft. As long as Im not recklessly endangering the public, I pretty much have broad
authorization to fly within a set of community-based guidelines. The idea is that, now and for the last
several decades, I have been able to fly my model airplane. But, if I own a real estate company and I
want to use my drone that I own privately, to be able to take photos of properties that Im selling and post
those up on the internet for my clients to see, that is illegal. Its just an intent test. The same model
airplane in the same flight can be authorized in one case and not authorized in the other case.
Thats where a lot of the confusion is coming from. I have a lot of folk who come to me who want help
navigating the regulatory and public policy regime in this area. They say, Im a company and I want to fly
my drones. What if I just dont charge for this flight? What if I just take lots of photos and my clients are
paying me for other things, but theyre not paying for this picture? There are a lot of companies that are
trying to get around the rules by calling themselves hobbyists. Theyre just flying around recreationally.
Its really fun and theyre excited to do it. Theyre not getting paid for that. The FAA has recently come
out with some new guidance to make it clear that if youre flying in any way where the spirit is a
commercial flight, even if youre not getting paid for that specific flight, its still considered a commercial
The reason why there has been so much confusion is because people dont understand why they can do
something in one set of circumstance, but if they intend to sell things or make money in any why or do
something to promote a business, then they actually have to get a permit from the FAA, which is quite a
process. Theyre kind of straddling that line and thats been difficult for a lot of folks. There is a lot of
illegal activity out there as well. If you go on the internet and search commercial drones, there will be
aerial photographers who will come take pictures of your wedding with a drone and I guarantee that they
dont have a 333 exemption to do that. The FAA does not have the resources to police all the illegal
activity that is out there, but if for some reason something was to go wrong, if the flight recklessly

endangered the public, including getting close to an airplane or lands on the White House lawn, then
there could be real big problems for that person.

Audience Question: I was wondering how we are working to protect the more sensitive sites like the
White House or military installations from hobbyists. Youre taking it up and you might accidently take a
phot of something you shouldnt be.

Lisa Ellman: Post-9/11, there were new temporary flight restrictions that included flying over nuclear
sites, flying over sensitive areas. Companies love drones and they hate drones. They love drones
because they use them, but they hate them because they dont want others to be able to fly over their
property. Thats true in the hobbyist space too. We all want to be able to fly our own drones, but we dont
want someone elses drones snooping on us in our own backyard. Does anyone here watch Modern
Family? For those of you who didnt see this episode, the family was sunbathing outside, a drone comes
into the backyard and starts videotaping the family as theyre sunbathing out in the yard. The dad takes a
net and is trying to swat it away and his swimming trunks fall to the ground so hes totally naked. The
drone gets all the footage and speeds away. The next day, up on YouTube, there was a video called
Drone: 1 Idiot: Nothing. It was a great episode. But, it really encapsulates a lot of the fears of the
American people. While is FAA is most concerned about safety issues, they dont want to see a done hit
an aircraft, they dont have any jurisdiction over privacy. Thats not what they do.
In the government process, which I described working on these issues, I took the lead on the privacy
issues, because I was representing the Department of Justice and we have some expertise in that area.
There was a presidential memorandum on privacy, transparency, accountability, and civil liberties that
was released the same day that the proposed rule was released in February 15th. It outlined limits on the
federal governments own use of drones and put together a multi-stakeholder process which will be
hosted by the Department of Commerce and start next month. There will be a process to talk about
privacy issues surrounding the commercial use of drones. Its an ongoing conversation. Most states in
our union have proposed some kind of rule that would limit drone use because of privacy concerns in
some way. Some of that legislation has passed. California, for example has an anti-paparazzi drone law
where its broadly applicable, but aimed at paparazzi, basically staying that if someone has a reasonable
expectation of privacy you cannot take a picture of them with a drone. Drones are a platform for a
camera or other technology. What is the difference between pole camera and a drone? When do you
need drone-specific rules and when do you need, maybe better privacy rules on the books to make sure
that were protected? A lot of the potential harms that drones could potentially provide also apply with
other technologies such as a satellite or a pole camera or a helicopter flying over youre house. You
could see the same thing. The question is: where are the relevant differences and where do we need
specific rules in place?

Erik Lin-Greenberg: From the military perspective, its something thats become a lot more salient in the
past few years. About six weeks ago, the Pentagon publically came out and said they shot down a drone,
similar to what you might fly in the park. Its something we didnt consider just a few years ago. I think
one of the questions when youre dealing not with a non-state group like ISIS, but with a state, is that is
targeting someone elses drones an act of war? Whats the threshold for actual conflict? So, October
2013 timeframe, both China and Japan were flying unmanned aircraft over the Senkaku Islands and both
said that shooting down an unmanned aircraft would constitute an act of war. Those are some broader
questions that need to be considered in addition to the technological means of downing aircraft. There
are, of course, DoD properties here in the U.S. What if someone tries to fly over their facilities? There
are a lot places here that could be considered sensitive. Its a balance though, because on the federal

government side, you dont want to consider everything sensitive because news gatherers, for example,
would say they dont want to be censored out of gathering news from perfectly legitimate locations.
Where do you draw the line? On the other side, you have a lot of folks who might say, My retail store is
sensitive and I dont want drones flying over my store. There is actually a new website called Its basically a do not call list for drones. Its not relevant in D.C. since this is restricted
airspace, but if I live out in Maryland and have a property and I put my address in, the idea is that
participating manufacturers would use geo-fencing technology that boxes out that address in particular.
An Amazon drone wouldnt be able to fly over my house even if they wanted to. My neighbors drone
wouldnt be able to fly over my house even if they wanted to. There are some concerns with that,
particularly that its voluntary and many manufacturers dont have incentive to opt in. But, DJI, after the
White House drone incident, they already had geo-fencing which they expanded to include the White
House and other restricted airspace. If you have the latest technology on youre DJI drone and youve
downloaded the latest app, it wouldnt be able to fly over the White House even if it tried. This is an
example where technology can, perhaps, provide a lot of the solutions to some of these public policy
issues that were seeing.

Audience Question: The drone that ended up in Iran. Is it believed that the Iranians actually gained
access to the software controlling that drone? Is that an Achilles heel?

Erik Lin-Greenberg: I think Im privy to the same information that has been available to the public and
media about this. I think this is one of the concerns if any aircraft is downed anywhere. What access is
there to that aircraft? What information was taken out of it?

Audience Member: A drone is controlled remotely. If someone else could gain control of that drone
remotely, thats a big disadvantage for drones versus piloted aircraft, which are a little harder to take
control of.

Lisa Ellman: There was that guy that, just a week or two ago, claims he took control of an American
Airlines aircraft through the wireless that airplanes offer now. Through the internet access that they
provide on their plans, he was able to hack into the operating system. Thats what hes claiming.

Erik Lin-Greenberg: There is a risk that any system can potentially be hacked. In both the private and
government sector, you try to be secure that way, whether its through the data links that youre using and
trying to make the data links more robust and more secure. Another issue is not just that the controls are
hacked, but that the information uplinks and downlinks are hacked as well. What happens, whether its a
private drone or military RPA, if someone is able to hack in and see what the operator is seeing? You
can see the potential advantage from a military standpoint and you can see significant privacy concerns
from private sector drone operations. I think that is a plausible and real concern, but I think industry, the
government, and the private sector are considering that and trying to figure out ways to mitigate that.

Audience Question: Is there anything in international law that regulates the usage of military drones?

Erik Lin-Greenberg: Theoretically, war is governed by the laws of armed conflict and what is and isnt
considered a just war. There hasnt really been any formal guidance on their use. The U.N. looked at the
use of drones in very specific situations, but again, there is really no formal international law that applies
to drone use. Even when you look at airspace and the Chicago Convention, it only applies to civilian
aircraft. There really hasnt been any kind of specific drone law, but I think a lot of people are able to
take elements of the laws of armed conflict and apply to drone operations. We look at thing like necessity
and things like that and try to figure out how the existing laws of armed conflict apply to new technologies.
We dont have a set of laws for guns. We dont necessarily have a set of laws for aircraft. As weapons
systems evolve, we try to figure out how we interpret existing law in the best way possible for military

Audience Question: I have a question about escalation. Youre saying that states are individual are
claiming an attack on a drone versus a manned aircraft is more or less escalatory. I wonder if youre
considering the potential for miscalculation. You may target something and not know whether its
manned or unmanned.

Erik Lin-Greenberg: Its very difficult, but that is a critical thing that I need to figure out how to consider.
There is this notion of a threat that leaves something to chance. I think thats very prevalent operations.
That is one of the biggest concerns right now. If you look at the East China Sea situation, some of the
missions, and this is unclassified information, the Japanese publish every intercept that they conduct, a
good chuck of the aircraft that they intercept are manned Chinese aircraft and others are unmanned
aircraft. But, if Im a SAM operator on the ground and all I see is a blip on my radar, I dont necessarily
know if that aircraft is manned or unmanned. If Im a trigger-happy guy and have rules of engagement
that say to take down any aircraft that enters this area, thats a very significant concern.

Audience Question: You mentioned that the difference between a hobbyist and using drones
commercially is intent-based and not based on safety. Why was that decision made?

Lisa Ellman: That comes from aviation, generally. There are different rules for commercial aircraft and
recreational or sports pilots, for example. The problem with drone law right now is that its very different in
certain ways from manned aircraft, but its taken a similar legal structure and grafter it on to drones, which
doesnt make a lot of sense. An example right now is that, if you have a 333 exemption to fly
commercially, you actually need a manned aircraft pilots license for it to be able to fly under the idea that
theyre aircraft and under the federal aviation regulations, you need to be a pilot in order to be able to fly
an aircraft and that is not a requirement that the FAA feels it has the ability statutorily to waive. This leads
to a somewhat absurd result where you have these companies who want to be able to fly drones and
someone who has been flying drones for many years at the hobbyist level, or who plays video games and
is very good at flying drones, because thats great training, frankly, for flying drones, is not able to do so
because they dont have a manned aircraft pilots license. A lot of companies have to then hire out that
ability or find someone who has a sports or recreational pilots license, which is also accepted. It doesnt
make a lot of sense. The proposed rule, which was outlined, will take care of that. They will provide for a
UAS operators certificate and you can just go to a local knowledge center across the country, kind of like
going to your local DMV, to take a test and if you pass the test, you can become a UAS operator. Pay a
small fee and youll be certified. Once the rule becomes finalized, that is 1.5 - 2 years away.

Audience Question: It sounds like a lot of other countries are taking big steps in allowing drones to
become commercially used. I was wondering, in the next 5 - 10 years, if the U.S. is going to take similar
steps and to what extent you think thats going to change the flight industry and military use.

Lisa Ellman: In the commercial sector, by the end of next year, Id be surprised if there is not a final rule
broadly authorizing commercial drone operations across the U.S. That will very much change how
business is done. Right now, the biggest burden on companies looking to enter this industry is the fact
that it is illegal right now and they have to go through this long detailed process in order to get permission
to fly. A lot of folks are waiting to enter this industry, but really every industry has a need for drones. If
they havent identified that need, they will tomorrow. There are so many different uses out there for
everything, from package delivery to precision agriculture to industrial uses, and everything in between. I
think we are going to see an airspace system that is shifting. Youre going to see drones flying, as well as
helicopters, as well as airplanes. The key is getting that right. Incorporating collision avoidance
technology and transponders and as much safety equipment as we can into these drones, so that were
making that there are no catastrophes. Thats on the commercial side.

Erik Lin-Greenberg: I think there is an interesting nexus between the military side of the house and the
commercial private side of the house. The military has long relied on private firms to help us out with
training exercises. We have private companies that fly refueling tankers. There are aggressor aircraft,
folks that mimic adversary tactics that are privately flown. When I was in Kandahar, I guess it was 3 or 4
years ago now, I got off the plane at the airport and inside the military passenger terminal there was an
advertisement from a Canadian firm advertising military drones in an essentially time-share style. These
are unarmed RPAs. Its an Israeli-built system. For the highest bidder, you could buy a few hours of
flight time. If you were a small country that couldnt necessarily afford to have your own or bid for time
from someone elses, you could go pay these guys money and they would escort youre convoy for you
and tell you if people were a few hundred meters ahead. They seemed to be doing a pretty lucrative
business. I talked to these guys and I think youll probably see more and more private operators trying to
get military contracts down the road.

Audience Question: Why is the data from other countries that have commercial drones not available to

Lisa Ellman: It is. We work with other countries, but their airspace is not nearly as congested as ours.
Our airspace is just a lot more complex than pretty much anywhere in the world. Some of it helps us here
and the Canadian example of a tiered approach is what gave us the idea for a micro-drones exemption.
Youre seeing the international influence there. On a lot of these questions, which regulators want to see
that, not necessarily, companies are providing, but that academics, independent entities, and think tanks
are able to compile on a lot of these questions.

Audience Question: You mentioned that the purpose of a weapon is to accomplish a political objective.
Whats the thinking in the military about the usefulness of drones in this regard? Let me give an example.
I saw a video by ISIS of a targeted killing they were carrying out in Iraq and what they did was dress up in
Iraqi army uniforms and knocked on the targets door. When he opened it, they busted in a beheaded
him. They didnt harm the wife or the kids. How would we have accomplished that objective? We would
have sent a missile into the house from 10,000 ft. We might not have killed the target or killed the wife

and kids and maybe a neighbor or two. We have to ask ourselves which method is more barbaric. Does
that play into the usefulness of drones for targeted killings? There is a lot of sentiment out there that
were making more enemies than were killing.

Erik Lin-Greenberg: That brings up the question of tactical effectiveness versus strategic effectiveness.
In many cases, at the operational level, the military units often look at the tactical effectiveness of a

Audience Member: Like a toy?

Erik Lin-Greenberg: I dont think its ever viewed as a toy when a life is on the line. The folks that I had
the humbling privilege of working with, the airmen that were looking at these feeds every day, took the job
incredibly seriously. That is one of the things that allows military RPAs to be so effective. You say that
were going to drop a Hellfire on someones house. In many cases, we dont need to do that. We can
find a target. We can monitor that that target. This has all been covered pretty extensively in official
media channels, but we can find when that target is going to be out on its own without his family. Were
able to minimize a lot of that collateral damage using RPAs because they can loiter for dozens of hours at
a time and track the individual. We can hand off that particular target to another aircraft. In many cases,
youre able to have much more precise targeting. One of the cases that has gotten lot of media attention
in the past 10 years or so was the targeting of Zarqawi. There were thousands and thousands and
thousands of hours of MQ-1 Predator operations to track this individual down, combined with other
sources of intelligence. They were able to figure out when hed be in a specific location, rather than
having to carpet bomb an entire area to try to get one target.

Audience Member: It sounds like youre saying the military is convinced that drones are wonderful.

Erik Lin-Greenberg: I think everyone recognizes the limitations to any weapons system, but I do think
they offer a very effective tool to carry out certain types of operations. Again, military weapons are
designed to carry out some type of policy objective. You just have to find the best tool for the specific

Audience Question: Going back to the Title 10 and Title 50 covert operations and the stuff that is under
DoD control, and perhaps in terms of privacy. This technology we have that has expanded our control
and reach and there are things we can do in different circumstances. Looking at the NSA situation that
we just had, we didnt have that computer technology 20 years ago. Now that we have it, the public cant
understand how it is being used. We just read something in the news and pass it by and think somebody
in the government is taking care of that. Now we have drone technology. How much of it do you think we
will be able to keep under control and verify how it is being used and how much of it will be transparent
based on the direction were going and the technology it is providing to us?

Lisa Ellman: Taking a step back, I think that any technology and be used for good and be used for bad.
This isnt the first time that weve had new technology where, all of a sudden, were worried about what
some if the ramifications are if theyre used or overused. When Kodak cameras were first invented,

people were really worried about the fact that anyone could have a camera and take a picture of them.
Anyone taking a photo was called a Kodaker. It was a derogatory term. Same thing with cell phones.
When cell phones were first invented, if you look at newspaper clipping from around that time, people
were really worried about the fact that you could carry something around with you that could potentially
even take a photo of someone else. Computers: same thing. People were scared of computers. They
didnt want to be in the same room as a computer. They were worried about what it would do to us.

Audience Member: We are not worried about it. Not in terms of biased or irrational fear, but logically.
How much control do you think well have over this? How much of it do you think will be transparent?

Lisa Ellman: The point is that there are risks with any technology. It think the fear is very rational. I
think that people who were scared of getting their picture taken were irrational. There are different
capabilities with drones. If a terrorist arms a drone and blows up a building with a drone, they could have
done that some other way, but the possibility is out there. Everything can be used for good and bad so
we cant control all of that, but that does not mean that doesnt mean we shouldnt be taking advantage of
the benefits of drones. We just need to do that in a way that protects the publics trust and its interests in
every possible way that we can. We dont know what all the capabilities of drones are. We dont know all
the different harms that they can inflict on us and all of the different benefits that they can provide. We
are still at that learning stage where they are just now getting integrated into society in a way that benefits
the public in certain ways and also provides certain risks. A lot of that fact-finding will have to be
happening over the next several years.

Erik Lin-Greenberg: I think the state use of drones from a warfare standpoint, there is a growing body of
literature that says the U.S. is the primary user of RPAs today and we really need to set the precedent
about how RPAs are used in military environments. This goes back to the question of we shape
international law to shape these precedents about how to use RPAs appropriately. One of the things the
State Department did a few months ago was relax regulations on armed drones and a lot of analysts said
this was a good move because it allowed the U.S. to start exporting RPAs to some of its allies and friends
and partners. If we export, that limits the audience that will potentially buy Chinas drones or Russias
drones. It allows us to have a little bit more influence because, in addition to just selling an aircraft, youre
going to send trainers and pilots from those countries will get the opportunity to come to schools in the
U.S. Youre able to shape the mindset and, hopefully, its a mindset is in accordance with international

Audience Question: Whats the range of the drones that we use in targeted killings and whats holding
back the development of a drone with the carrying capacity of a fighter jet?

Erik Lin-Greenberg: The range is varied. If you go to and look up fact sheets, you can get
a good number that will give you some idea. You can look up the capabilities of all the weapons systems
in the U.S. Air Force. In terms of whats holding us back, theres been a lot of development. There is a
UCAV project that is developing much more advanced RPAs, but right now I think its just a matter of
need. For the past decade and a half, weve been fighting war that has required counter-insurgency
aircraft. We want something that can loiter around for a long time and find individuals. Thats were a lot
of the money has been dedicated right now. As we pivot towards other threats, youll see money being
moved elsewhere and development happens where there is money.

Audience Question: I have a follow-up question. I was about a year ago, maybe, that they were talking
about bringing some of the CIA program under DoD control. Where is that going?

Audience Member: Recent drone strikes have triggered the conversation about that, but its still in

Audience Question: You talked about intent-based regulations. Are there different regulations for
different uses? Whats to stop a military contractor who develops a drone for a military purpose from then
using it in a private capacity for commercial use?

Lisa Ellman: there are a few different categories. There is hobbyist use, commercial use, and public
use. If law enforcement is using a drone, they are broadly authorized to use them in cooperation with the
FAA. The FBI will use a drone, for example, in the context of a specific investigation, whether it is a
particular need for some kind of surveillance or aerial data collection. They dont do general surveillance.
They dont take drone and park it over the city and watch people. States and localities have broader
police powers. The idea is that law enforcement and public agencies will use them in a very particular
circumstances. Public agencies are allowed to use things in a different way. One area where there has
been a lot of confusion is universities. If youre a public university operating a vehicle in support of a core
governmental function than you can apply for a public certificate of authorization. You can get permission
as a public entity. The key there is the core governmental function is been very narrowly defined in the
university context to mean aeronautical research.
A university can be public entity for the purpose of drone use if its studying drones and how they fly and
how a drone can be designed that is great for precision agriculture. That could be an aeronautical
research purpose. Studying precision agriculture with drones is not a core governmental function.
Educating students is not a core governmental function. Research and development that does not relate
specifically to the study of drones and the study of aeronautics is not a core governmental function.
Universities are treated like commercial entities for that purpose. A university would need to get a 333
exemption just like Amazon or any other company, which is interesting because you wouldnt think that.
There have been a lot of public policy efforts on behalf of certain groups of folks. Everyone wants a
carve-out for their own industry. Everyone want to be able to do whatever they want.
The first rule that will come out will broadly give us the ability to fly drones, but there will be certain
restrictions. You cant fly at night. You have to remain within visual line of sight. The operator has to
have the capability of seeing the drone at all times. That will limit, for example, you cant fly in urban
locations. Pipeline inspection or railroad inspection or precision agriculture. Its not an economical use of
a drone if you have to move every mile with the drone. The idea is that you should be able to send it 400
miles and send it back and it will have studied and examined the pipeline or the railroad on the way back.
Some uses are not going to be beneficial just yet. The FAA just announced this pathfinder program
where its working with specific areas and industries. CNN is working with the FAA on how to allow
drones that will operate commercially for news gathering purposes in urban locations. Whether that
means tethering the vehicle, for example. Perhaps connecting it to the ground in some way would make
it not a drone essentially. That could mitigate the safety risks in urban locations. That might be
something that we see in the future. Precision agriculture companies are partnering with the FAA to
study how drones can be used for precision agriculture beyond line of sight. The NSF is partnering with
the FAA to study how drones can be used beyond the line of sight for railroad purposes. There is a lot of
study and research and development that is going on there and there will be approved operations for
those three things. Well just see that expand over time. I think we will see beyond line of sight
operations. We will see nighttime operations. Its just not going to be right away.

Ryan Hagemann: Id like to invoke the moderators privilege to get into the area of commercial drone
operations that we havent touched upon yet, but which I think is going to be pretty important going
forward, especially with the FAA rules and Cory Bookers recent piece of legislation. The FAA seems to
draw a relatively arbitrary distinction between hobbyist and commercial use of drones for whatever
reason. My question for you, Lisa, is what about journalists use of drones? Technically theyre not
hobbyists, but theyre also not technically doing it for commercial purposes. How do we deal with that?

Lisa Ellman: They are considered commercial for the purposes of regulations. I represent CNN. I
represent a lot of broadcasters. I represent news gatherers who fly drones. Right now, according to the
way that the law is written, they are considered commercial entities. There are different First Amendment
concerns. Obviously, they are gathering information for the public and so we want to get them as much
access as possible. Were looking at a bunch of different options for that community, including the CNNFAA agreement, in order to permission to fly in urban locations. Thats what news gatherers really want:
to be able to fly over people. That is why the tethered option is looking good for news gatherers in
particular, and perhaps for others. You can probably see CNNs 333 petition for approval to fly a tethered
vehicle in addition to some other vehicles. I think it would be great if news gatherers were allowed to fly,
like universities, as if they were hobbyists. There is guidance that came out of the FAA recently, probably
within the last two months that stated that if a hobbyist sends a journalist their video or photo, the
journalist can actually use that in certain cases. Normally, even though its kind of a commercial thing,
theyre not purchasing the image from the hobbyist. Theyre giving it over. The hobbyist was still a
hobbyist, essentially. Thats also one workaround. You can still use hobbyists videos or data that was
collected, as long as it wasnt done in a way that was commercial in spirit. Its been a big conversation.
CNN is working with Georgia Tech, a bunch of media associations, the National Organization of
Broadcasters. This year, the National Organization of Broadcasters hosted this big conference. There
was this huge aerial drone pavilion that took up huge space and it was really exciting. News gatherers
and film producers are so excited about the use of drones, particularly because helicopters are so
dangerous. I dont know if you know about the Twilight Zone movie accident a few years ago? It killed
actors on the set because a camera in the helicopter was filming the movie and it crashed, killing people
on the set. A 55 lbs. drone that rashes is not going to kill anyone. It could theoretically, but it will more
likely not have as bad of consequences. Its a lot safer when people are around to operate a drone than
to operate a helicopter. News gathering and film production are perfect examples of that.

Audience Question: Following up on the point you just referenced about the danger of a drone falling
out of the sky, how is liability being treated under the current rules? What if you fly a drone perfectly well,
take a quad-rotor, and one rotor fails, and the drone plummets to the ground and hits someone?

Lisa Ellman: It depends what is proven. If that was a defect, then its the manufacturers liability. There
is a lot of back and forth on this right now. For example, the geo-fencing technology that, if it works
correctly, would prevent me from flying over the White House. For example, if I had geo-fencing
technology on my drone and Im the operator of my drone and Im still able to fly it over the White House,
is that because their geo-fencing technology failed or is it because Im an evil person that tried to fly over
the White House. We havent seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of ligation thats happened. We
havent had incidents like that where there have been fights in court about whos liable, but there will be.
Thats a great question.

Audience Question: There is a theory out there that our foreign policy is determined by the arms
manufacturers. According to this theory, our increasing use of drones would be the result of a lobbying
effort by drone manufacturers. What is the status of the industry with regard to military drones? Is it
dominated by the usual big-boys or is it a bunch of little people from other countries as well?

Erik Lin-Greenberg: The major drones that are in operation, Predator, Reaper, Global Hawk, the
Predator and Reaper is General Atomics, and the Global Hawk is a Northrop Grumman product, I think.
Its the big players, but then again you have smaller companies that are building these things that people
can toss out of their backpacks, that Marine, soldier, or special operator, to see over the next hill. Some
of them are larger defense contractors and some of them are smaller companies, but for your major
weapons systems those are the large firms. Again, theyre amalgamations of lots of different
technologies so the sensor on board might be made by one company and then the airframe itself is built
by someone else. Its a mix.

Ryan Hagemann: This is my last question to the panelists. Given that this entire panel has been about
the future of drones, I would like to hear each of you portend what the future looks like from a military
perspective and a commercialist perspective. Is it a net win? Is it a net loss? If so, why? If not, why?

Erik Lin-Greenberg: From a military perspective, I think youre going to see an increase in the number
of states operating RPA systems. Currently, I think the number right now is something like 72 states
operate some type of RPA. But again, technology takes time to develop. Not all countries have the
economic resources of the U.S. and out closest partners. Were going to see some states having these
hobbyist-type drones that they operate as part of their military fleets. But, I think at the end state, if the
proliferation of RPAs is done well and we have states like the U.S. setting precedent for responsible use
of RPAs, I think its a net win overall. I personally think they put a cap on escalation. The use of drones
and the presence of drones might make a state more likely to initiate a conflict, but if a drone gets shot
down, and weve seen this before, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force came out publicly, I think about a
year ago now, and said the Iranians took pot shots at one of our Predators operating over Arabian Gulf
and our response was fairly minimal. If that had been a manned aircraft, the response would have been
very different. I think it creates this very interesting zone of escalation where you end up potentially
increasing the likelihood of certain degrees of conflict, but at the same time, it puts a cap compared to the
use of manned assets.

Lisa Ellman: I think, on the commercial side, were going to see, over the next 5-10-15 years, drones
increasingly take the place of helicopter, drones increasingly take the place, in some circumstances, of
people. Looking at Japan right now, 85% of crop-dusting is actually done with drones. Were going to
see that here in the U.S. Were going to see a lot of the tasks that are dangerous for humans to do, such
as pipeline inspection. Were going to see drones doing all that. Were going to see every industry really
move towards the use of drones commercially. I do think there will be safety incidents. There is going to
be privacy incidents. There is going to be a lot of things that policymakers have to deal with along the
way. But, I think that will all inform the policy making. Part of the problem, like I said, has been the lack
of data. Once we have an open airspace, this is just the beginning. 20 years down the line, this is just
going to be a way of life and well be talking about flying cars and drones were yesterdays news.

Ryan Hagemann: Fantastic. So, a more peaceful world with less likelihood of escalation in armed

Erik Lin-Greenberg: Well see.

Ryan Hagemann: and flying cars on the horizon. Fantastic. Everyone, a special thank you to Lisa
Ellman and Erik Lin-Greenberg.